|Klára Spilková at her home in Prague ahead of this week’s tournament|
Czech number one Klára Spilková tied for ninth place at the inaugural Raiffeisenbank Prague Golf Masters in September and cannot wait to tee up in her home tournament to see what fate has in store for her this week.
The 17 year old is the only full-time player from the Czech Republic on the LET and one of eight Czech players in the field at Albatross Golf Resort, which is located just outside the country’s capital Prague.
In a sign of the growing strength of Czech golf, professionals Spilková, Barbora Barcalova, Daniela Prorokova and Denisa Sobotkova will take part along with leading amateurs Katerina Krasova, Marie Lunackova, Kristyna Pavlickova and Karolina Vlckova, who made the cut a fortnight ago in Slovakia in a strong professional field.
|Klara poses on Čechuv Most (Czech Bridge) with Prague Castle in the background|
Having finished in the top ten twice in her rookie season last year, Spilkova is dreaming of an even better finish and she said: “I want to win, you know. It’s my wish to win, but I want to be top ten. It was really nice last year, so a top ten: why not?”
She feels that her form has been more consistent this year since teaming up with her Slovakian caddie Michal Engler. So far from six appearances on the LET this year, Spilková has finished in the top-30 three times and made four cuts with a season-best tie for 20th at the Allianz Ladies Slovak Open at Gray Bear Golf Course.
“I think it’s better and better and with my new caddie Michal I feel more confident in my game and a little bit more consistent. I think everything in my game, my scores are more consistent,” she said.
|Klára and her boyfriend Maroš Karniš, a scratch handicap amateur|
Spilková is hopeful of becoming the LET’s first Czech winner at her home event, following Jade Schaeffer’s triumph in 2011 and she will have been inspired by watching her Slovakian friend Zuzana Kamasova become the LET’s first winner from Eastern Europe at the Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco last year.
Determined to blaze a trail for Czech golf, she loves being a role model to juniors, despite still being a school girl herself.
“For young kids in Czech Republic, they say, ‘Who is your favourite player?’ and they don’t say Tiger Woods but they say Klara Spilková, so it’s really nice,” she says.
Her love for golf began aged four when she joined her brother, Lukas (an aspiring fashion designer), on the golf course next to their house. However, despite her young age, she has never been pushed by her parents and is only driven by her own determination.
|Klára and her older brother Lukas, who designs some of her clothes|
Her manager, Monika Dvořáková, explained: “Her parents don’t play golf and never forced her to do it. They said, ‘You can do it if you want to’: that’s why she is like this.”
A Junior Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup player, Spilková decided that she wanted to play in more Ladies European Tour events after getting a wild card to the Slovak Open.
She realised that the only way to get more invitations was to attend Qualifying School and so, having received a special dispensation, she finished in the top-ten and earned her full card, before turning professional in January 2011.
“I thought, ‘Why don’t I try Q School and see how I do?’ I got my full card. The tour for me is just fun. It’s not work, it’s fun and I do my best,” she said.
Spilková plans to attend university in Prague to study sports management after finishing high school in two years, but until then she will be joined by her manager, Monika. Players on the LET much be joined by a guardian until aged 18.
In around five years, Spilková may try her luck in America, but she says: “I want to play good on the European Tour and then maybe America, LPGA. I want to win some tournaments and be really good here and then play over there.
“I want to play here. I really enjoy the life on the Ladies European Tour (and China, Australia, but it’s just for a few weeks). I would like to play in The Solheim Cup: It’s my dream.”
This is one player who is not afraid to follow her dreams and don’t be surprised to see her on the leader boards in the coming years, if not this week in Prague.
|Klára and her boyfriend Maroš near her home in Prague|
From left: Maroš, Klára, Monika and Matej Hosek
|All 8 of the Czech participants in the Raiffeisenbank Prague Golf Masters plus the first Czech LET member Zuzana Mašínová. Photo from Junior Pro-Am in Zbraslav.
From left Denisa SOBOTKOVÁ, Barbora BARCALOVÁ, non-playing Zuzana MAŠÍNOVÁ, Marie LUŇÁČKOVÁ. Kristýna PAVLÍČKOVÁ, Klára SPILKOVÁ, Karolína VLČKOVÁ, Kateřina KRÁSOVÁ and Daniela PROROKOVÁ