The Welsh star tells Harriet Shephard how her set backs were all in her head.
Image: Getty Images
For some reason, it really surprised me when I realised that Amy Boulden’s win at the Ladies Swiss Open was her first title on the Ladies European Tour.
As one of the big British names and the Tour's Rookie of the Year in 2014, I just assumed that she must have lifted at least one trophy (outside of the feeder tour) before now.
But her maiden victory was definitely worth the wait; she carded a brilliant, bogey-free final round of 64, finishing three shots ahead of Australia's Stephanie Kyriacou in spectacular style.
Cool, calm and confident throughout, it was a beautiful thing to watch.
I caught up with her just hours after she landed back in the UK, finally home after a whirlwind few weeks playing in the Czech Republic, Switzerland and France.
“Getting a win did feel like a long time coming,” she admitted.
“I put so much work into it for such a long time. My boyfriend, who is also my coach, just kept saying to me “it’s not far away you’ve just got to trust the process”. Sometimes things can feel so far away and then something like last week happens. I just needed to be patient and not push it too much.”
Getting her first win at 27-years-old and on her 87th start, I couldn’t help but note the similarity between her experience and that of Sophia Popov, who fought for years and at times felt like just giving up.
“Golf can ruin you,” Amy agreed.
“It’s the hardest sport in the world in my opinion. It can really drag you down if you’re not having a good day. You can get in such a rut of feeling like you’re not getting the results you deserve and I was frustrated that the good stuff I was doing in practice wasn’t translating into tournaments.
“But we eventually worked out that I needed to look at my mental approach. It’s easy to blame your swing but I was having very negative thoughts on the golf course and you’re never going to win if you’re in that frame of mind.
"For me it wasn’t about doing more practice, it was more about how I approached the tournaments and how I reacted to things on the course.”
"I knew I could win though. My win on the LET Access in 2014 was in Switzerland as well. I don’t know what it is about the country, I just always have a great time and I have friends there.”
She discovered that the key was not to think about the end result.
“I was one behind going into the final day and I hadn’t been in that position for a while. It was exciting and the spectators added to that and the pressure.
“I just got off to a really good start early on and I was 2 under through 3. I had a score in my head that I wanted to get to, so I wasn’t concentrating on what the leader was doing or the other girls. I wasn’t feeling any pressure, I was just trying to get to that number.”
Watching it on TV it certainly looked like she couldn’t miss a putt, and apparently that’s what it felt like to her too.
“I’ve done a lot of work on my putting over the last few months. I think when I’ve struggled over the last few years it’s been my long game and that then went into my short game. But as my swings got better I’ve also got more confident and aggressive on the greens.
“In the final round I literally felt like I could hole everything. I said to Kelsey in the practice round that I could read the greens so well, I don’t know what it was, I could just see everything going in the hole. It was a really nice feeling and my putting was definitely my biggest strength in those few days.”
The other remarkable thing was that she went totally bogey free over the last 37 holes. And what’s even more remarkable is that Amy didn’t realise this until she was done. But then again she did have bigger things on her mind...
“It didn’t even occur to me,” she said.
“I think if someone had told me I was going however-many bogey free then I would have made one. That’s just the way things work. It’s great that I was able to avoid getting any though especially as that course was quite tight and fiddly.”
The Rose Series also provided the opportunity for her boyfriend/coach to caddy for her, and this was really where they worked out what was holding her back.
“Being able to see what I was like in tournaments was key. He caddied for me in one of our first tournaments back in Prague too and it was the best I’d ever felt tee to green in such a long time. But I dropped about 9 shots in one hole and finished 30th or something. I played so well and I was like “how have I done that?” I It really helped to have him there.”
Her new(ish) man certainly seems to have made her very happy in more ways than one.
“He has been the best and biggest influence on my golf. I’ve known him such a long time but we’ve only been together a year and a half. He really understands how I react and think on the golf course. Which is more important sometimes than someone just looking at my swing. He is able to dig into other areas too. It’s also nice to be with someone who understands what we do as well.”
Going straight from the Swiss Open to the Lacoste Ladies Open meant that when we spoke, she hadn’t yet properly celebrated her victory.
“It hasn’t really sunk in to be honest,” she noted.
“But now I’m home I’m going to have a mini celebration with my parents and sisters and that will be really nice.”
But as we saw on social media, the Conwy golfer had plenty of pals to celebrate with on the 18th green when she bagged her win (there was a lot of champagne involved). I told her that I particularly loved the cute photo of her tearful hug with Kelsey MacDonald.
“I always room with Kelsey, we have done ever since we first came on Tour years ago and she’s one of my best friends,” she said.
“It was really nice to be back with her that week and she was the only person I was allowed to hug as we were in the same bubble.
“We’ve always said that when any of us win we have to cover them in champagne, and when the other girls came running on the green I was so happy. It felt great.”
Her winning trophy is shaped like a large cow (obviously), and it definitely divides opinion. I was a bit confused about how she even fit it in her suitcase...
“It’s definitely unique,” she laughed.
“I wasn’t allowed to take it home but I have a mini replica. It was so heavy actually.”
For now, Amy has about six weeks to breathe, properly celebrate and prepare for the Dubai Omega Moonlight Classic at the start of November.
I can’t wait to see what she does next and she’s certainly inspired me to work on my own my own mental attitude on the course (although I bet she can’t remember what it’s like to need three goes at getting out of a bunker...).
Well done Amy on the most amazing win.