Bunkers straddle the fairway on the 321-yard (women’s tee), par-4 18th hole at the TPC River Highlands, placing a premium on accuracy. No problem for Simona de Silvestro, who drives it as straight as her Nuclear Clean Energy car for Lotus HVM Racing.
“Good power on her drives just like her drives,” said playing partner, PGA Tour pro Y.E. Yang, during the pro-am of the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Conn., on June 20.
De Silvestro was particularly pleased as she closed with a birdie for the round.
“I made a really long putt, but I think it was because Y.E. gave me a new putter,” she said of Yang, who has two tour victories. “I can drive the ball, but chipping is pretty terrible. He helped me out and helped me read the putts. He was a really cool person to play with.
“I had an unbelievable time, the first time I ever did a pro-am. It was just a lot of fun, especially with the people from (sponsors) Entergy and Westinghouse. It was cool that they invited me.
“It was fun to play with things like grandstands and having a caddie. Even the driving range was so nice and the course was really beautiful.”
De Silvestro took up the sport when she was 12 or 13 in her native Switzerland, which doesn’t quickly come to mind as a European golf destination (it has about 60 courses).
“That’s when they just opened a course about 5 minutes from our house,” she said. “That’s where I first started, me and my dad. I started watching golf on TV last year and started to get into it. I got new clubs and started playing more often. I’m still not great, but it’s a fun game and it kind of gets your mind off all the craziness we go through (during the IZOD IndyCar Series season).
“I have to practice more if I want to beat Graham (Rahal) because he plays well. We’ll work on it.”