Lally de Saint Sauveur, one of the greatest golfers France ever counted with more than 40 victories nationally and internationally, sadly died in Paris on Saturday, March 3, at 96.
Lally de Saint Sauveur (1921-2018), did everything very young, better than everyone and with a genuine modesty and elegance that every great golfer envied her. In 2015, she became an honorary member of the Royal and Ancient, in Saint Andrews, one of only seven lady members.
When she talked about her career, she always said how surprised she was to have won anything. In 1937, she went to play the British girl’s championship in North Berwick where she had spent her childhood and she won. She was 16. She claims that it was out of rivalry with her younger sister: “Sonia played much better than I did so I wanted to beat her”. The story is that every time she played in a championship, she was animated by an urge of winning. This was still palpable a few months ago in the retirement home where she lived. She was always first and ahead of the other pensioners!
After winning in Great Britain, she won the French National in 1939 and again just after the war in 1946. In 1949, she won in Switzerland, Luxemburg and Italy as well as in France. By then she had married another golf champion, Jacques de Saint Sauveur, and for many years, they formed a unique couple. In 1950 she won the British Ladies Amateur.
Once I was in the golf museum in St Andrews with her and we saw her Silver Cup in a window. She was amused and proud, but there was no sign of pretentiousness in her. “Le golf est un jeu de hasard” (golf is a game of chance) was one of her favorite mottos. And this coming from one of the most excellent golfers was particularly striking. As is this reaction from Linda Bayman, the great British champion when she heard the news of Lally’s death: “She was the rising star of my life”. She was for all of us…
Words by "Paris Diary by Laure"
Image: Paris Diary by Laure