England’s Liz Young will return to action next week at the Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco, five-and-a-half months after giving birth to daughter, Isabelle.
The Hampshire star is returning to Royal Golf Dar Es Salam in Rabat where she tied for ninth place 12 months ago, having played in the last group, with the winner Nuria Iturrios and Florentyna Parker.
It will be her first appearance on the LET since the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Woburn at the end of July.
Speaking before her trip to Rabat, the 34-year-old from Brokenhurst Manor Golf Club said: “It’s a great tournament and I’ve got good memories from last year, so I thought why not make this my start to the season? My swing is good. I’m a bit worried that I may have lost the competitive edge, but you’ve got to start somewhere!”
Baby Isabelle will stay at home with dad Jonathan over the Easter weekend and Liz, who will be starting her ninth season on the LET, added: “I’m looking forward to being back on Tour. I have missed it. Although Isabelle is fantastic and I wouldn’t change that for the world, golf has been my life. It was a shock, not playing. Before this, the longest I’d ever not played was two weeks. We even played on honey moon, so it’s been a shock, but I’m excited, anxious and nervous about next week. Leaving Isabelle for the first time will be tough, but I’m really looking forward to getting back on tour and competing. It will be great to see everybody again.”
Liz was England’s top woman player in her amateur days playing in her maiden name of Liz Bennett: she was the English stroke play champion, the winner of the England women’s order of merit, an England international and a Curtis Cup player.
She has been playing on the LET since 2009, with two fourth place finishes at the 2011 Aberdeen Ladies Scottish Open and 2013 Allianz Ladies Slovak Open being her best results to date.
With three top-15 finishes from eight starts last year – including a season-best tie for eighth in the Pilsen Golf Masters – she was in a rich vein of form before her maternity break halted her progress.
Speaking about the physical changes, she said: “It’s been a bit of a struggle getting my body back and it’s a long process. I was sofa or bed-bound for the last month of pregnancy and then, because I had a caesarean, I was very limited in what I could do for around 12 weeks afterwards. A lot of my muscle has gone and I’ve been working with a physio to rebuild and get my strength back.
“I’m still not hitting it as far as I did before I was pregnant, but I would say I am one club shorter now, which is an improvement from where I started. I didn’t pick up a golf club until the end of January, so for six months I didn’t pick up a golf club.
“I’ve been seeing my coach (Peter Thompson) once a week for the last six weeks and I’m hitting it well, so despite the physical set-backs, I’m still hoping to play well.”