Australian amateur Stephanie Kyriacou marked herself out as a new star of women’s golf by storming to an emphatic eight-shot victory in the Geoff King Motors Australian Ladies Classic Bonville.
The 19-year-old from Sydney started the final round two shots clear of the chasing pack and quickly took control on the front nine at Bonville Golf Resort.
She made a barrage of birdies through the second, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth holes to make the turn in six-under 29, with a lead of nine strokes.
Another birdie at the 10th took her to 22-under-par and she extended her lead to 11 with an eighth birdie on the 15th, after a heavy rain shower had passed through, followed by a solitary bogey on the 16th.
Following on from rounds of 69, 63, 69 and a seven-under 65 in the final round for a total of 22-under-par, Kyriacou finished eight clear of world number 35 Ayean Cho at 14-under, who took home the first prize cheque for €36,000 due to Kyriacou’s amateur status.
Sweden’s Linnea Strom finished third on 13-under, with Scotland’s Gemma Dryburgh fourth on 11-under and halfway leader Lauren Stephenson from the United States tied for fifth with the Netherlands’ Anne van Dam.
“I’m lost for words and still on cloud nine. I think everything was going my way today. I was pretty confident going into the last round,” said Kyriacou.
“I did get off to a good start. The first hole wasn’t great again, but after that I bounced back and had five birdies in a row. After that, I played a bit more defensive, because I assumed I had a bit of a lead by then.
“On the last hole, I was thinking about what would happen, but I told myself to get a par and then worry about it.”
Kyriacou will now have the opportunity to turn professional and take up a winner’s category of membership on the LET and ALPG Tours, but she said that she would discuss it with her father Nick, who was caddying for her, before making a decision.
Cho stormed into second place with an eagle and two birdies in her last five holes for a final round of 70.
Meanwhile, a shot back in third, Strom took the early lead in the LET’s Race to Costa Del Sol with a six-under-par 66.
Strom said: “I putted well and played very steady. The only bogey I had was a three-putt on number nine.
“It’s very impressive to see such a strong performance from an amateur. After eight holes, I went into the bathroom and saw the leader board and saw that she was at 19-under. I thought it was very impressive to go out as an amateur in the final group and to start off with birdies so early in the round. It is very impressive to be able to control your nerves like that. It looks like she’s enjoying playing and having a good time.”
Dryburgh carded a level par 72 and said: “I’m very happy with that. I couldn’t have asked for much more, except for maybe winning. The last time I played on the LET in Kenya I finished in the top-10, so it’s been a good run of events. It’s a good start to the season, so I’ll see where it takes me.”
The shot of the day belonged to LET rookie Linette Littau Durr Holmslykke of Denmark, who aced the par-3 17th using a 5-iron and with it claimed the major hole-in-one prize on offer from Geoff King Motors, an AUD 30,000 Mitsubishi ASX.
The Tour now moves to Dubbo Golf Club for the Women’s New South Wales Open.