Cleethorpes golfer Holly Clyburn heading for the pro ranks
CLEETHORPES amateur golfer Holly Clyburn feels her sensational British Open debut has added more weapons to her armoury as she prepares to turn professional.
The 21-year-old finished joint 26th in the major at Hoylake, the top-performing English player overall and the second highest-placed amateur.
The Curtis Cup winner, pictured right, impressed the Royal Liverpool Golf Club crowds and television viewers as she carded 11 over par after four rounds.
Despite tough windy conditions throughout the week, which led to play being cancelled on day two, Clyburn achieved the same score as world number one and defending champion Yani Tseng, of Taiwan.
Now her focus is on attempting to qualify for the Ladies European Tour via the Qualifying School in Morocco this December.
"It was a truly amazing and overwhelming experience," said Clyburn, who is poised to officially turn professional in the coming weeks.
"It's been a great year but this has been the top of the top – you can't get much bigger than the British Open.
"I'll take what I learned from the professionals I played with and how they prepare for events. When they got into trouble, they recovered well and they battled to the end.
"I don't think I'm under any more pressure now. I'll be working hard to keep building, trying to improve.
"But I've set a mark now and need to try to keep it up."
Clyburn finished two shots adrift of New Zealand's Lydia Ko, so missed out on the Silver Medal awarded to the highest-placed amateur.
She carded rounds of 72, 73, 74 and 80 – a nine-over-par front nine in her last round was the only blip in an otherwise hugely impressive display.
"I've been playing solid all year and knew I could post solid scores, taking it each round at a time," Clyburn said.
"The front nine was disappointing in the last round but I 'turned and burned' and finished with a bit of pride.
"I showed everyone I wasn't an average amateur but that I'm pretty good and I can come back.
"It got very windy. I took two sevens (triple bogeys) and was very disappointed – without them, I played fantastic.
"But I'm delighted with how I dealt with the conditions over the four rounds.
"We had all four seasons in one day on the last day. It wasn't easy.
"Christine Kerr (US professional and former world number one) gave me some encouragement when I was struggling – that was nice of her.
"We had all had a frustrating front nine, so we all tried to enjoy it more after that and had a bit of a laugh and a joke to help us relax."
Clyburn enjoyed playing the 18th, where she achieved an eagle in the second round – a feat which was screened on the BBC.
"I was five under for the tournament on the 18th," she said. "It wasn't an easy hole but I managed to make it look easy!
"I got quite a bit of coverage with how I was playing. I've been getting a lot of messages and I hope people enjoyed seeing me in action.
"I take my hat off to the spectators and my family watching – they got absolutely drenched."
Clyburn would have pocketed just under £16,000 for her performance had she been professional.
"It's a bit gutting," added Clyburn. "But it was a learning experience and I'll be aiming to go there and win money in the future."