Great is a word that’s bandied about far too much, especially when it comes to sport. Admittedly, performances can be great even when the person or people doing the performing have yet to achieve greatness – or may never achieve it, unless you downgrade the meaning to “very good” or “nearly great” or something similar.

Nelly Korda (pictured above, technical glitches permitting, with her latest trophy, her fourth in a row) is on a great run and may well be on her way to becoming an all-time great but only time will tell. That’s the problem with becoming a true great – short bursts of brilliance aren’t enough, you have to perform at the highest level time and time again, year in, year out. It’s punishing, exhausting and demands levels of skill, determination and concentration that are hard to acquire and even harder to sustain.

Nelly in action [not sure who to credit, probably Getty Images]

Leona Maguire, whom Nelly beat comfortably in the final of the T-Mobile Match Play at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, is already one of Ireland’s best-ever golfers and a Solheim Cup legend in the making  – probably nearer made than not.  She led the qualifiers for the matchplay stages but in the final Nelly, the world No 1, was imperious and won 4 and 3.  “I didn’t feel like I did a lot wrong, “ Leona said.  “Nelly just did a lot more right.”

Leona and caddie Dermot Byrne trying to solve the puzzle  [Getty Images I think]

Another young woman who had a great week was Lottie Woad, an Englishwoman who is a student at Florida State University.  She won the Augusta National Women’s Amateur with a finish for the ages, to snatch the title from Bailey Shoemaker, who had stormed to a final round 66, without a single dropped shot.  The American was the favourite to win when Lottie had a sloppy bogey 6 at the 13th, to fall two shots behind and hit a tree with her drive at the treacherous 14th.  She salvaged her par 4 somehow, then, seemingly nerveless, birdied the 15th, 17th and 18th to win by one.  Wow.

Goodness knows how they reacted down Farnham way, where Lottie learned her golf but at home in Lichfield I jumped in the air with an unedifying screech when the last putt, which reminded me of Sandy Lyle’s winning effort all those years ago, tracked into the hole.

Letting it all sink in: Lottie and her caddie Steve Robinson savour a moment beyond compare [Augusta National]

Lottie’s caddie for the week was Steve Robinson, an England national coach who also works with former US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick on the performance and mental side of the game.  He said that he couldn’t wait to see Billy Foster, that doyen of caddies, who now works with Matt and tell him that the job’s not so hard after all.  “What a proper finish!”

Robinson is a Yorkshireman, so perhaps that explains why a wee girl from Surrey should be a Leeds United supporter.   Ah well, we all have our crosses to bear…

Woad is obviously a player to follow but it’s hard to forget the youngest player in the field, a 15-year old Californian with an eye-catching first name:  Asterisk Talley.  It means little star in Greek apparently and Asterisk, who played in the Junior Solheim Cup in Spain last year, is quite happy to be unique.  “I feel like I want to be the only one that has a name like that,” she said. 

Who knows, if her game continues to flourish, she might inspire a glut of Asterisks on the birth registers of the world in the years to come.  She finished in a share of eighth place this year, coming home in 32, four under par, with birdies at the 11th, 13th, 17th and 18th, indicating a showwoman’s taste for the dramatic.

There’s been plenty of captivating golf in the last couple of weeks including a nailbiting win for Ashkay Bathia, one of my new favourites.  I think he was born in Los Angeles and he’s sporting a bit of a hippy look at the moment (always good in my book), he’s a lefty (or leftie – feel free to choose your preferred spelling) and he’s so skinny that he’s taken the much-coveted, nowadays antediluvian title of  “the walking 1-iron” from the sainted Ken Brown.  Admittedly no one uses a 1-iron these days but some of you out there will remember them; and a very few will have been able to hit them…

One last bit of big-time golf that tickled me:  the news that Rory McIlroy had taken himself off to Las Vegas to consult the oracle that is Butch Harmon in the hope of solving the mystery of the Masters.  Probably not a bad idea but when Rory’s daughter Poppy heard that he was going for a lesson, she was puzzled and said, with the blunt wisdom of a three-year old, “Why Daddy?  You already know how to play golf.”

Let’s hope your daddy keeps that thought in mind this week, Poppy.

Here in the sodden midlands of England we’ve been playing a bit of golf between deluges but we can’t seem to agree on the season and the attire required.  Opinions vary widely- and wildly – as the photo shows.  Guess which one is just back from a tour of South America…

Blue sky (a blessed relief) but very breezy and a bit of a disconnect on the clothing front. Karen and Sue posing before the off.

Our local park is much more sodden than the golf course but the lake pictured below is meant to be there – it’s not an overflow – and it’s a while since I’ve snapped the cathedral with its three spires.  It was the pedalos that caught my attention and reminded me of a school trip to Annecy and its vastly bigger lake many years ago.  That pedalo voyage did not end well but that’s a story for another day – and explains why the photographer is on terra firma and not on the water.

And, finally, let’s have the cake even if we can’t eat it.  This marvel took pride of place at a singing golfer’s 80th birthday do.  Bon appetit.

Golf? Gimme a break. The heads are members of the choir. Cheers.