It’s one thing for a teenage amateur golfer to beat an international field of professionals, it’s quite another to street them and win by eight strokes.
That’s what 19-year-old Sydneysider Stephanie Kyriacou did when she announced herself as a star of the future by winning the Australian Ladies Classic on Sunday.
Far from daunted at holding a two-shot overnight lead in a field with players from 35 countries, Kyriacou put her foot down early and raced away as she posted a closing seven-under-par 65.
Heavy rain made the closing holes tougher and she picked up a lone bogey on the 16th but, with her father Nick serving as her caddie, she triumphed with an eye- opening 22-under 266 total at the Bonville course near Coffs Harbour. Eleven shots clear at one stage after making seven birdies in her first 10 holes, Kyriacou cruised to victory from South Korean star Ayean Cho (70) with Sweden’s Linnea Strom (66) a further shot back.
“I honestly don’t know what to think right now. I’m lost for words, it’s just amazing,” said Kyriacou.
“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 just….everything was going my way.”
Playing in the final group with cameras following her every move was no problem for Kyriacou, who had admitted the day before: “I kind of like having the cameras on me.” The highest-ranked player in the field, world No.35 Cho was played in the final group for a third straight week on her Australian swing but never found her rhythm.
The tournament was co-sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour and also featured a smattering of Americans.
Kyriacou, the reigning Queensland women’s amateur champion, kickstarted her title bid with a second round of 63 on Friday.