A year ago Australian Kristie Smith came to prominence at the ANZ Ladies Masters when she shot a second round of ten under par 62, which included 12 birdies, at RACV Royal Pines Resort. This set an all-time LET record for the number of birdies in a round and also equalled another record as she birdied seven holes in a row.
In December, the 21-year-old from Western Australia finished second at the LET’s Final Qualifying tournament and then in January confirmed her status as a rising star when she won the Actew AGL Royal Canberra Ladies Classic on the Australian Ladies Professional Golf (ALPG) Tour.
Smith, the daughter of famed professional Wayne, has grown in confidence over the last year whilst playing on the United States based Duramed Futures Tour and she is now targeting the LET’s Ryder Cup Wales Rookie of the Year Award.
She has already played three LET events this year, finishing tied for 18th, 19th and 21st in New Zealand, at the ANZ Ladies Masters and at the Women’s Australian Open respectively. Her next chance to shine on the LET will be when she tees up in the Turkish Ladies Open at National Golf Club, which takes place from 7-9 May.
1) How confident do you feel for the rest of the season?
The win in Canberra was very exciting and a huge boost in confidence for me heading into a busy year ahead. It was nice to get that first win, that monkey off your back I guess, early on in my career. Now I’m full of confidence heading overseas and can’t wait to get going in Europe.
2) Which events are you most looking forward to on the LET this year?
I guess I don’t really know what to expect tournament wise on the LET this year but I’m really looking forward to going to Paris & Dubai. I know getting my LET card has given my Mum a good excuse to convince Dad to let her go traveling in Europe.
3) What are your ambitions?
To win. My number one goal is to win on the European tour this year. Then my other goal is to win LET Rookie of the Year. I’m a very ambitious person so it’s a constant battle with myself to keep my expectations low.
4) What are you working on in your game?
I always seem to be working on something but I think that’s just a continual daily circle for every golfer. My coach Ian Triggs and I feel like I’m improving at a really good pace and I’m learning so many different things about myself, my swing and just golf in general.
5) What are the best bits about being a professional golfer?
The best things about being a golfer hmm …winning those big “Happy Gilmore” cheques (ha-ha). Meeting so many different people which then leads to some pretty neat networks. Free equipment and apparel :) I think you mature a lot quicker as a touring professional golfer, you learn so many life experiences which I think is a huge bonus.
6) What are your hobbies away from golf?
Hobbies, hahaha what’s that? I tell you what I don’t have a whole lot of hobbies outside of golf. I love to work-out in the gym with my trainer when I’m home in Perth & Florida. I enjoy relaxing at home with friends & family just doing nothing which doesn’t happen often but I make the most of it when I can.
7) If you weren’t a golfer, what would you like to be?
I would be a school sport teacher. I used to love it when we had sport class at school. I would skip school days if we didn’t have sport that day and just go to the golf course haha. I love working with kids too.
8) What car do you drive?
My first car is actually now a year old. Her name is Swoosh and she lives in America. She’s a 2009 Ford Escape and did 25 000 miles in the first 6 months I had her: poor thing!
9) What is your favourite golf course in the world?
Favourite course I have played would have to be Pumpkin Ridge in Portland, Oregon, USA. I played the 2007 US Amateur there.
10) What performance has given you the most satisfaction?
I would have to say Q school at La Manga in December last year. To go there after making a big decision not to go to 2nd stage LPGA q school and then to finish 2nd was very satisfying :) To stick it through the coldest, windiest and craziest conditions I’ve ever seen was a whole new experience in itself too.
11) Which golf rule would you abolish or amend?
There are so many that could be amended and even abolished. I definitely think you should be allowed to tap down spike marks is just one.
12) Which sports teams do you support, if any?
I am a huge Aussie Rules fan & support the Eagles also known sometimes as the Weagles because they’ve been performing so bad lately haha! Im also a big Georgia bulldogs fan as Dad went to college there & Mum is from Georgia :)
13) What was the last sporting event you went to see?
Hahaha I can’t believe I’m saying this (because I can’t stand cricket) but a 20/20 cricket match in NZ with a bunch of golfers. It was the Kiwis vs the Aussies and we lost :(
14) What’s your all-time favourite movie?
All time favourite movies – Twilight and The Blind Side.
15) What would be your ideal menu if you won the Masters?
I would be eating out at really really expensive yummy Japanese restaurants a lot if I won the Masters and playing a very limited schedule but enough to keep my competitive play up ;-)
16) What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
“Everything in life happens for a reason.” I think my Mum says this to me daily when I’m whinging about something. “Stay patient! They say golf is an old people’s game. You know why? Because the young ones don’t have the patience and want everything this second!” Dad tells me that all the time because I want everything now, now, now!
17) What is your first golfing memory
First golfing memory is watching Dad when I was a little girl. I used to have to stay in the onsite crèches where I grew up with all the other player’s kids while Mum walked around and watched Dad play. When I was old enough to not make noise and actually show interest in watching Dad I always remember waiting for him behind the 18th green and getting to go under the ropes and run up and give him a big hug after he finished. Then I would be let in the scoring tent where I was allowed a lolly… haha!
18) If you could play golf with any three other people in the world, who would you choose?
Tiger, Geoff Ogilvy and Bill Murray.