Sydney teen Stephanie Kyriacou has changed the Australian golfing game in four days at Bonville this week after demolishing a world-class field of full-time professionals by eight shots to win the Australian Ladies Classic.
The victory earned her a two-year exemption onto the Ladies European Tour, and a place in one of women’s golf majors, the Evian Championship, in France in July.
With her place on the second biggest women’s tour in the world guaranteed, the 19-year-old has 14 days to decide whether to turn professional. If she decides not to turn pro, she will keep the spot in the Evian Championship.
“I have never even been to Europe to play [golf], so it would be a big change,” Kyriacou said. “I didn’t even know about that [the tour exemption]. It would be awesome. It would be fun. I need to do a bit of research and look into it. I’m going to have to talk to mum and dad and my team and work it out.
“I had a goal to win a professional tournament as an amateur – I thought that would be cool. I just did that.”
Kyriacou could play her first professional tournament as early as Thursday in the NSW Women’s Open, which is also a part of the LET with a prize pool of more than $400,000.
“I was pretty confident going into the final round. I have been playing good and everything had been working for me,” Kyriacou said. “I got off to a slow start again on the first but then it just clicked.
“I had a run of five birdies in a row I think and …. everything was going my way. I pulled the handbrake later in the round because I knew I had a bit of lead.”
In-form Korean Ayean Cho, currently ranked as world No.34, finished second but took the €36,000 ($59,000) cheque for being the leading professional.
Kyriacou’s father Nick, who introduced her to golf at Moore Park as a three-year-old, caddied for her at Bonville and was proud of her achievement. She has played the Bonville tournament for the past couple of years but having finished school she has been able to focus fully on golf.
“She has been practising hard and playing well. It was great to be here with her,” he said. “It is good to be on the golf course with her and not getting beaten by her.”
Sourced by: Sydney Morning Herald