Teen star Steph Kyriacou has turned professional and joined the Ladies European Tour ahead of this week’s Women’s New South Wales Open at Dubbo Golf Club.
The 19-year-old from Sydney earned a two-year exemption on the LET with her stunning victory in the Geoff King Motors Australian Ladies Classic at Bonville Golf Resort on Sunday, when she blitzed the field to win by eight strokes.
She has since climbed 547 spots on the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, moving up to position 287, which gives her additional confidence heading into this week’s event.
“I’m so happy to announce that I’m turning professional,” said Kyriacou.
“I’ll be playing my first event as a pro this week in Dubbo, so it’s very exciting.
“It’s been very, very crazy. I’ve had so many messages and missed phone calls. I’ve had emails from I don’t even know whom. I’ve had all these big decisions to make and everything has happened so quickly.
“It wasn’t a hard decision to make. I did weigh up all the options but I was hoping to turn pro at the end of the year anyway and this has opened up a few more doors and moved the goal post a bit.”
MEG MACLAREN CHASING RARE TRIPLE
Meghan MacLaren is looking to join some exclusive company in the Women’s NSW Open at Dubbo Golf Club this week.
In her lifetime, only three players have won the same Ladies European Tour event three times in a row. Karrie Webb did it at the ANZ Ladies Masters. Annika Sorenstam did it in the Swedish Open and Shanshan Feng won three in a row at the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters, from 2014-2016.
MacLaren will get the chance this week - and with the distinction of it being on a third different golf course.
She won her first LET title at Coffs Harbour Golf Club in 2018 and defended the title last year at Queanbeyan Golf Club, as the only player to record four sub-par rounds, to win her second title.
She doesn’t expect it to get any easier at Dubbo, but feels that her accuracy off the tee could be an advantage on the tight, tree-lined fairways.
“I think that everyone’s fairway stats might take a dip this week, but from what I’ve seen, it suits the strengths of my game,” said the 25-year-old from Northamptonshire, England, who finished tied for 24th in last week’s Geoff King Motors Australian Ladies Classic Bonville.
“You need to hit it on as many fairways as you can because it’s so narrow. If you can put it in position, then you’ll be ahead of the game, I think.
“I played well last week, apart from in the last round. I saw some signs in the first three rounds that I’ve been looking for since I came out to Australia and I feel in a pretty good place now. I trust in my game and I trust what I’m doing. I feel like my putting has turned a corner and I got a new putter just over a week ago.”
“As a golfer, you have to treat it as just another golf tournament and prepare as well as you can to bring your best golf. There probably won’t be too many times in my career that I’ll have a chance to go for three in a row, so I’m just going to enjoy it and see what happens.”
SUN, SAND AND SMILES AT DUNEDOO
It was sun, sand and plenty of smiles at Dunedoo as several of the Ladies European Tour and ALPG Tour's brightest stars got to sample first-hand the sand greens of Dunedoo.
With a golf career which has seen her get more stamps in her passport than she'd care to count, Amy Boulden thought there was almost nothing new for her to experience in the game – until she reached Dunedoo that is.
It was during today's Pro-Am at Dunedoo Golf Club where Boulden and some of her fellow Ladies European Tour pros encountered sand greens for the first time.
She admitted it's a style of golf different to anything she's encountered around the globe.
"It's really cool to be able to experience this; we don't have anything like this at home," Boulden said.
"I'd heard about sand greens before over here, but I'd never got the opportunity to play on them, so it's a cool experience, but it's difficult."
"There's a real knack to it; you have to hit the putts really hard basically.
"I think what's hardest about it is around the greens like when you're chipping.
"I'm still not quite sure whether they are going to release or they are going to stop dead on the sand."
Boulden, the 2014 LET Rookie of the Year, has returned to the Tour this year after winning the Qualifying School.
When she gets to return home to Wales, the 26-year-old said she'll recommend playing on sand greens at least once to her friends.
"It's so different to grass greens. So I think it's definitely worth a visit if you're over here and try it.
"I mean, why not?"
Before the Pro-Am, 60 students from two local primary schools got some handy hints from some of the professionals including Bonville's hole-in-one prize winner Littau Durr Holmslykke .
Students from both the Dunedoo Central and St. Michael's Catholic schools were taught some of the basics like how to grip a club and hit a putt. It certainly made for an interesting and enjoyable day.
"The students were really nice, and they asked a lot of questions about what we do. Just them trying to figure out how we live our lives," Holmslykke said.
"Seeing them be so competitive during the putting drills was amazing, and best of all, they wanted us to be there."
Sun, sand and plenty of smiles at Dunedoo as several of the Ladies European Tour and ALPG Tour's brightest stars got to sample first-hand the sand greens of Dunedoo.