Although she doesn’t play much tournament golf here, Alice Hewson tries to visit the US as much as she can while competing on the Ladies European Tour. She has two cats, Clyde and Figaro, who live stateside, as well as a fiancé, Stephen, whom she hopes to marry sometime next year, the date to be determined based on the 2024 LET schedule. But this trip across the pond is not her typical week-long stopover between tournaments in Europe or an extended vacation to spend quality time with her husband-to-be. This one is all business as Hewson prepares to play it up in her very first US Women’s Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links.
Golf fans may remember Hewson from the Hanwha LIFEPLUS International Crown earlier this season held at TPC Harding Park, site of the 2020 PGA Championship won by Collin Morikawa. She and Liz Young were last-minute additions to the England Team, who flew to San Francisco from the United Kingdom at the shortest notice, and the dynamic duo earned their country’s only point on Saturday when they defeated Ruixin Liu and Yu Liu of the People’s Republic of China, 1 up after Hewson got up and down for birdie on the par-5 18th hole. Hewson’s grin stretched from ear to ear long after she and her partner shook hands and exchanged hugs, and a few months on it’s a moment the 25-year-old will never forget.
“It was an absolute honor to end up going to the International Crown,” said Hewson, who had only represented England as an amateur until that week in May. “It was just an incredible experience to be a part of that team and represent my country as a professional golfer. It was my first opportunity to do that and it was such an amazing experience. We had a great time with the team.”
Now, Hewson is preparing to play in the United States for the second time this season at another iconic venue: Pebble Beach. Historically, the course has hosted numerous USGA Championships and PGA Tour events, as well as two LPGA Tour tournaments in 1950 and 1951 when the association was just a toddler. But this is the first time a women’s event of this magnitude will be held here and being part of that history is not lost on Hewson. And the irony of getting to play two of the country’s best-known courses isn’t it either.
“Playing in my first US Open is really exciting. I’m looking forward to the new opportunity and seeing how everything works and putting myself up against the best golfers in the world,” said Hewson, who is ranked 185th at the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings. “I’ve never even seen Pebble Beach before, so it’s such a big opportunity. It’s amazing to see where women’s wrestling is going. Even like the (AIG Women’s Open), the venues that we go to year after year now are just incredible and it’s so great to be a part of that history.”
But Hewson isn’t just looking for a participation trophy. She is here to compete and plans to take what she learned from her experience at TPC Harding Park and apply it to this major championship. While she will play a wide variety of golf courses at the LET, this type of golf is a different animal, one that Hewson will have to get the hang of in a hurry before she heads out on Thursday at 1 p.m. 13.18 tee with Kana Mikashima and Emilia Migliaccio.
“There’s definitely a little bit of a different way you have to play the game around those golf courses,” Hewson said of the conditions at TPC Harding Park. “The hard is completely different from what we play in Europe, what I played growing up, even what I played when I was over here at Clemson (University). We played a lot of Bermuda over here and it’s very different to what’s on the West Coast.”
Regardless of the result, Hewson will always remember this week as a special one. Stephen and her family will be on site to watch her play, a treat for Hewson, whose parents and sister don’t often come out with her at LET because of work and school. She also has another opportunity to live out her dream of playing on the LPGA Tour, something that only happens a few times a year during the European swing. It also gives her a taste of what she’ll be up against when that dream finally comes true, when she finally captures what she’s been doggedly chasing since turning pro in 2019.
“Both my mum and dad work. My sister is at university so they don’t get to get out and see too often, let alone all three of them,” Hewson said. “So to have all three of them and my fiance there, that having my four best people with me, it’s just going to be so special.
“The only LPGA events I get to play are the majors and like the (Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open) and the ISPS Handa (World Invitational). My goal is to be on the LPGA at some point, so it’s nice to have the opportunity to be around the girls and see where the game is, see what I need to improve on going forward, I feel like the potential is there and I need to keep working hard so that one day I can play on the LPGA at full time.”