Only the golf gods know what awaits Sydney amateur Steph Kyriacou tomorrow at the Geoff King Motors Australian Ladies Classic, but her 54-hole performance has already anointed her a winner.
The 19-year-old will begin Sunday with a two-shot lead over American Lauren Stephenson, but more important than the shots is the knowledge she has the tools – both physically and mentally – to play ‘under the gun’.
Kyriacou bolted to the finish line Friday to sign for a best of the week 9-under 63 and earn a spot in the final group for round three.
It was an impressive round of golf, no doubt, but at this level of the game, it is not the good golf that separates the best from the rest.
Truth be told almost every player in this field is capable of shooting 63 at their best, but all golfers know ‘best’ is a state both rare and fleeting.
What truly marks a player as next level is the ability to scrap around in decent numbers when their game is not at its best.
For confirmation look no further than Tiger Woods who spent the best part of a decade and a half turning scores that should have been 75 into something closer to 70, and sometimes, 68.
What Kyriacou did Saturday with her 3-under 69 was closer to that sort of golf than what she had on Friday, a double-bogey at the 6th hole a classic example.
After finding the greenside bunker with her approach she failed to extricate herself from the sand with her first swipe, then left a lengthy bogey putt with an only marginally better second attempt.
The resulting six could easily have derailed her day, but instead, it seemed to have the opposite effect and strengthen her resolve.
At the par-5 7th, she regrouped immediately, striping a driver and ripping a 3-wood to the heart of the green to give herself a chance to reclaim both shots.
A two-putt birdie undid half the damage on the scorecard but, more significantly, set things straight in the youngster’s mind as well.
Kyriacou is a proven performer at the elite amateur level with significant victories to her credit.
This week is a step up in class with a deeper field than she will have encountered at the non-professional level.
But based on what she has done so far, she is not out of her depth nor her comfort zone.
Sunday at a golf tournament is always fascinating, and this final round at Bonville Golf Resort will be no different.
The big question is: can Kyriacou stand up to the pressure? We’ll find out the answer tomorrow.
And so will she.