Minjee Lee did it. Aaron Baddeley, too. Now Sydney teenager Steph Kyriacou can add her name to the list of amateurs to win professional events after she blitzed the field at the Geoff King Motors Australian Ladies Classic.
Kyriacou finished a remarkable eight shots clear of second place at 22-under at Bonville Golf resort after taking a two shot lead into the final round.
While many expected her to wilt, she did the exact opposite and in an opening nine which saw her playing partners struggle Kyriacou grabbed the tournament with both hands with a staggering 6-under 29.
That total included a run of five consecutive birdies from the fourth to the eighth without a single dropped shot.
By comparison her playing partners were three and two over respectively, American Lauren Stephenson carding four bogeys and a lone birdie and Korean Ayean Cho three birdies against a dropped shot.
With the chasing pack starting the day well back there was little hope for the challengers as Kyriacou began her inward nine, a seventh birdie of the day at the par-5 10th all but slamming the door shut.
“I got off to a slow start again on the first but then it just clicked,” said a still stunned Kyriacou moments after signing her card.
“I had a run of five birdies in a row I think and just….everything was going my way.
“I honestly don’t know what to think right now. I’m lost for words, it’s just amazing.”
There were some big names lurking as the final round got under way including Anne van Dam and two time NSW Women’s Open champion meg MacLaren.
But Kyriacou got off to the start they needed to while they didn’t and by the time she made the turn the tournament was completely in her hands.
The highest ranked player in the field, Ayean Cho, played in the final group for the third straight week but for the second consecutive day never found her rhythm.
After making the turn in 2-over 37 she improved in the run to the clubhouse three birdies and a spectacular pitch in for eagle at the par-5 14th.
It all added up to a 2-under 70 in the end and second place alone at 14-under, eight shots adrift of the runaway leader.
Sweden’s Linnea Strom finished outright third at 13-under, Scotland’s Gemma Dryburgh two further back and alone in fourth.
Anne Van Dam and the third member of the final group, Lauren Stephenson, shared fifth place at 10-under for the tournament.
KYRIACOU WINS LADIES CLASSIC!
It was a march which became a procession as Steph Kyriacou claimed the biggest prize of her career by winning the Geoff King Motors Australian Ladies Classic.
The margin was eight shots in the end from a fast finishing Ayean Cho at 14 under.
MORE TO COME>>
Anyone for Seconds?
We don’t like to call it, but we think we heard there’s a largish lady beginning to clear her throat here at the Bonville Golf resort clubhouse.
Not content with a lead of nine, Steps has made it Ten for Ten with a walk in birdie form about 25 feet to stretch the lead to double digits.
Anne Van Dam has made it to 12 under and a share of second alongside Gemma Dryburgh with a birdie on, but it all seems academic now.
One small consolation for the distant challengers – with Kyriacou ineligible for the first place purse, the two pair are still fighting for the first place purse of EU 36,000.
It’s Steph by NINE as aces reign at Bonville
There is no stopping Kyriacou on the front nine.
A barrage of birdies through the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th has moved to 21 under par and a lead of nine as the final group moves towards the back nine.
Kyriacou’s closest competitor is Scotland’s Gemma Dryburgh, however, despite a fast start, now finds herself nine shots adrift.
Shot of the day belongs to Linette Littau Durr Holmslykke of Denmark, who has aced the par three 17th, and with it claimed the major hole-in -one prize on offer from Geoff King Motors, a $30,000 Mitsubishi ASX.
It’s Championship Sunday
It’s Championship Sunday and it’s all about Steph Kyriacou.
The teenage tyro from Maroubra has marched out to a four shot lead after three holes with a clutch save for par on the first followed by a handy birdie on the second.
Korean Star Ayean Cho has had a hiccup on the first, missing her par attempt from about four feet to drop another shot back. The third player in the group, Lauren Stephenson has fared worse, dropping shots on the first and third
Scotland’s Gemma Dryburgh grabbed an early birdie on the second to move into second place. while another early mover, the Dutch sensation Anne Van Dam, has also birdied the second and third to vault into a tie for second alongside Dryburgh.
Stay tuned for updates throughout the day.
If Sunday was a should…
If there were ‘shoulds’ in golf, the game would be much less interesting because it would be much more predictable.
Case in point: The Geoff King Motors Australian Ladies Classic at Bonville Golf Resort near Coffs Harbour in NSW.
If there were ‘shoulds’ then Korea’s Ayean Cho ‘should’ win. Of the three players occupying the top three spots on the leaderboard, she is easily the best credentialed.
Twice a winner on the ultra-competitive KLPGA in her homeland, Cho played in the final group Sunday each of the last two weeks.
According to the Rolex Rankings, there are only 33 people in the world better at the game than her. And none of them are here this week.
But golf isn’t a game of ‘shoulds’. If it were, Nick Faldo would have only two Green Jackets, Ben Hogan would have one more US Open and I. K. Kim would be an ANA Inspiration Champion.
19-year-old Sydney amateur Steph Kyriacou leads by two despite being ranked 800 places behind Cho in the rankings.
Her nearest challenger, American Lauren Stephenson, sits 179th on those same rankings but is still one ahead of the more fancied Korean.
None of these three players – nor any in the top 10 – have any illusions about who ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ win.
Golf is not a game of ranking comparisons or resumes; it is a game of shots played in real-time under the intense pressure of trying to win a tournament.
Cho might have a slight advantage in the sense she has won before, but she has also endured two less than stellar final rounds this past fortnight when in position to win.
Golf, even for those who make it look easy, is hard. And ironically, the better you get, the harder it is.
Sundays at golf tournaments are always fascinating no matter whether it be The Masters, US Women’s Open or today’s Australian Ladies Classic.
There will be good shots and bad, birdies and bogies and eventually a winner will be crowned.
And whoever that is will have earned it because no matter what ‘should’ happen, nobody gives anybody anything in professional golf.