Sydney star Steph Kyriacou, who took the world by storm in 2020 winning the Australian Ladies Classic while still a 19-year-old amateur, has taken the next step in her graduation to top echelon of the women’s game winning as a professional at the “Big Green Egg Open” on the Ladies European Tour.

Steph’s progression in the professional ranks has been extraordinary if you turn the clock back 18 months.

Then, she wasn’t even the best amateur player at her club let alone in her state or her country.

 To put Steph’s win at Bonville last year into perspective, she started the tournament at 806 in the Rolex Rankings – 771 places behind the highest-ranked player in the field that week, Korean Ayean Cho.

The way Steph held her composure over the final 36 holes under the most intense pressure, and to play golf of the quality she did, proved to everyone watching she was ready to take that next step into the pay-for-play ranks.

Any player who has an opportunity to forego attending any Qualifying School should grab it with both hands as these are the most stressful events you will ever find yourself competing in. 

To have ready-made playing opportunities so early on in her professional career really was too good of an opportunity for Steph to turn down. 

The timing of Steph’s win at Bonville was unfortunate in some ways as it happened at a time when Covid-19 emerged and following the Women’s NSW Open the Ladies European Tour (LET) was put on hold for the immediate future.

    Big Green Egg Open winner Steph Kyriacou shows off the spoils of victory.
Photo courtesy: Ladies European Tour.

When the LET resumed competitive play at the Ladies Scottish Open in mid-August, Steph and her father Nick headed to Scotland to embark on their next journey. 

While things didn’t exactly go to plan the first week at the Scottish Open, Steph learned some valuable lessons about playing links golf.

And in her first major championship the following week Steph battled the atrocious Ayrshire weather and managed to lead the Women’s Open Championship for a short time before finishing in a tie for 72nd place.

The back end of the LET season saw a more relaxed and confident Steph find her best form, ensuring she finished the year as the LET Rookie of the Year. 

Steph proved to herself that she has the attitude and mental strength to overcome adversity and face new challenges head-on.

Very few rookies will have faced the challenges which Steph did in 2020 under some of the most stressful and challenging circumstances. 

Early 2021 was a tough time for all of our WPGA Tour members with our major events unfortunately being postponed due to the pandemic. 

We were really grateful to have the two TPS events held jointly with the PGA of Australia and, of course, The Athena which Steph and 11 of our other most promising players competed in.

Steph decided to start her 2021 LET campaign at the end of May at the Italian Women’s Open in Piemonte, which sits at the foot of the Alps in northwest of Italy. 

It would be easy to get lost in the magnificent scenery, but Steph showed she was not there for the sightseeing or shopping and eventually finished in a tie for fourth place. 

Steph’s form the next few weeks remained solid with many golf followers, including myself, starting to sense that her first win as a professional wasn’t far away.

The Netherlands was the next cab off the rank for the LET at the “Big Green Egg Open” played at the magnificent Rosendaelsche Golf Club in the city of Arnhem. Rosendaelsche is the oldest course in the Netherlands and also one of the finest in Europe. 

For those of you wondering what on earth Big Green Egg stands for, well, it is the brand name of a kamado-style ceramic barbecue produced in a distinctive dark green colour.

Steph led the field after a superb opening round of 66 and was never headed even though rising Finnish star, Saana Nutinnen, threw everything she could at Steph over the final two days. 

You could see how relieved Steph was to get that first win as a professional under her belt and that monkey off her back after a few close calls over the past year. 

It’s going to be really exciting to see how the remainder of the LET season plays out for Steph, particularly at the major championships, the Evian Championship, and the IAG Women’s Open.

About Karen Lunn

Karen Lunn is the CEO of the APLG.

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