LET: Julia Engstrom and Alice Hewson on their 2020 success
Last Updated: 31/03/20 6:08am
From Halmstad to Berkhamsted, Europe is gripped by the coronavirus. These are the home towns of the last two female golfers who won professional events before sport hit the pause button.
Get the best prices and book a round at one of 1,700 courses across the UK & Ireland
Of course, the situation is changing all the time but as of writing, there is a marked difference in how the most newly-crowned Ladies European Tour champions are spending their days.
In Hertfordshire, Alice Hewson is in lockdown with her mum and dad and younger sister. Just a week after returning home from the South Africa Open, where she was victorious in her first attempt at playing on the LET, Hewson can no longer practise at Berkhamsted Golf Club, which like all courses in the UK is closed.
How has golf been affected?
A look at the list of tournaments either postponed or cancelled because of the coronavirus.
Things were already different a week before the lockdown, when she took a victorious lap of honour at the clubhouse on her first visit back. She said: "Ladies Day is a Tuesday and so Tuesday morning I went up and saw them all in the clubhouse and they were all nicely sat two metres apart from each other, having a coffee. They all stood up and clapped."
Meanwhile, LET Order of Merit leader Julia Engstrom is back home in southern Sweden, where things are as normal as anywhere in Europe.
"The golf course is open, as are restaurants and everything like that," Engstrom said. "I think we are one of the countries where most things are open.
"It's a bit different in the evenings as there are not that many people out if you go to restaurants but you are allowed to sit and eat if you want to. All the gyms are open. I think it will stay like that for quite a while but you never know. I think it is different for me than lots of other players."
When you are 19, you sometimes have to mix winning events with homework, but while Engstrom is able to complete her high school studies online, Hewson's 16-year-old sister doesn't know when she will be sitting her GCSEs, if at all.
It is hard to see the LET returning any time soon and with her local course out of bounds for now, a golf net for the back of Hewson's garden has been ordered.
"I think getting the net will be helpful," Hewson said. "My dad might not be happy that I am going to be taking chunks out of his lawn though! I am going to use it as an off season where I can progress my game even further and when we get the green light to go ahead, whenever that be, I am as well prepared as I can be."
The memories are all we have to cling on to at the moment and both these talented young ladies have such positive moments to dwell on from early 2020. If you were watching Sky Sports at the end of last year, you may have seen the heart-breaking final round of Engstrom at the Magical Kenya Ladies Open.
The-then 18-year-old held a seven-shot lead going into the final day but, weakened by three days of minimal food and drink and let down by her putting stroke, was overtaken by a charging Esther Henseleit.
"I think I got over it on the flight back home," the Swede explained. "I was just happy that I got to play the round. I woke up on Sunday morning and I literally couldn't walk out of bed. I was just like, what am I going to do?
"It was quite hard but I just think I tried not to think about it too much and I think that might have motivated me a bit more during the offseason to go out there and like, try to bounce back I guess."
That's exactly what she did. A game that has few weaknesses, she put in the work on her putting at the start of the year.
"I started working the last few months with Peter Franzen. He's a teaching professional at my club, as well as my swing coach. He has known me my entire golf life. It has helped for sure."
So, it seems. Two events after Kenya, Engstrom hit a five-iron into par-three last at Dubbo Golf Club from 192 yards to a matter of inches at the Women's NSW Open. That birdie saw her win by one shot, having started the day five back.
She could have made it back to back wins a few weeks later, contending in South Africa and one of those in a share of the lead going down the stretch, but it was Hewson who emerged as the winner.
Like Engstrom, Hewson won some of the game's biggest amateur trophies. Both are modern-day golfers, with a swing speed of 104mph. Compare that to Anne Van Dam, the longest in the women's game who swings it at 109.
Hewson couldn't afford to go to Australia, as she didn't have the funds as she doesn't have any sponsors. Her only other paycheque came when she finished second after turning pro at an Access Series event, so the first prize of 30,000 euros was more than handy,
"It's definitely very important. At least secures some funding to cover half my season now. That's a good start. It's much better than where I was before going to South Africa, so that is a positive. Hopefully, there's still a lot of golf left to play and hopefully I can afford it."
As well as trying to increase her swing speed in her new nets, Hewson will use the time to try and attract new sponsors and consider a management company. Another pressing concern is that she isn't sure when she will see her American boyfriend Stephen next, who is still at Clemson University in South Carolina where she attended until last summer.
We don't know when Hewson will be re-united with her boyfriend and the chances are that her 100 per cent record on the LET won't last, but she is safe in the knowledge that she belongs at this level.
The early season victories mean both Hewson and Engstrom will have the Evian Championship to look forward to, which for now has been rescheduled for August. And with the Olympics put back a year, Engstrom - who is currently third reserve for Team Sweden - has more opportunity to make the points needed to fulfil one of her big ambitions.
"Hopefully I get to play in the Olympics," Engstrom said. "It's one of my biggest dreams to get a medal for Sweden."
The coronavirus might have stopped them but the last two female professional golf champions have time and talent on their side to make this a footnote in their careers.