The LET´s current No.6 ranked player is having an outstanding second season on tour having notched eight top tens from 15 tournament appearances this year. As well as finishing second at the ISPS HANDA Ladies European Masters and tied second at the Deloitte Ladies Open, she organised her own wedding on 1st November. Here we get to know the proud Australian a little better.
How and when did you started to play golf? Do you remember your first day?
I remember when I was 7 and my sister was 9, my father cut down some golf clubs, so I got a seven iron and my sister a 9-iron. My father used to go and practice. In Australia you can go to a football field to practice golf, where we could have one club and one ball, and we could hit it around the edge. In the Christmas time we went to the seaside, where there is a nine golf course golf course for families and there was where we used to practice. Every year we went to this golf course and that’s how I learned to play. This was two hours from Canberra, in Moulimuk. When I was 12 years old I joined my first golf club, this one.
My sister did not continue playing but my brothers can play. My mother took it up and my father is the reason why I play. We always play together.
When I was growing up, I was always looking for something to do. My brother was very keen on golf. My sister likes to watch TV but I did not, so I always followed him.
Do you still live where you were born?
No, I was born in Canada and lived there for 5-6 years, and then we moved to Australia, when I was 2. My father was working there at the time. My father is from Australia and got a job in the Australian University in Canberra. My sister and I were born in Canada.
Where did you study?
I studied until I was 18 and then I played amateur golf for four years for Australia and turned professional. I went to the US Tour School and the Japan Tour. But I had the conditional card in America, so I went straight to Japan and played there for ten years.
I know some words in Japanese, not much, as the majority of players speak English. I tried but I just could not pick it up.
How was your experience in Japan? What can you tell us about these 10 years?
Well, the culture is very different and I felt sometimes a little isolated and lonely, but the general experience was a really good experience. I made a lot of friends and found lot of sponsors. I travelled alone, most of the time. There was another Australian player and we normally had dinner together. There were mainly Japanese and Koreans, the top of the top are in the LPGA. Korean players in Japan are really good players but a lot of the Koreans, they just prefer staying there, as it is only two hours away. They prefer the food there, which is similar to what they are used to in their country. And they are just happy there. Some of them are not good enough to play other tours, but others are.
I liked the food there, but after expending six weeks there, I was really looking forward to the Australian food. Japan is nine hours from Australia.
Tell us about the city you live in now.
Canberra is the capital of Australia. It’s a small city, much smaller than Sydney, but it’s a very pretty place. It is a nice place to have a family because it is very safe. But, we do not have the beach.
What’s the best thing about your country, Australia?
The people are very relaxed and friendly.
My city, especially autumn and spring, is beautiful. The colours in autumn. In spring, we have a flower festival, with tulips and different colours and they build a picture, which is very pretty.
There are seven or eight golf courses near my city and I normally play on two of them: the Royal Canberra Golf Club (RCGC) and when I started I used to play in the Federal Golf course, as we used to live on the edge of the golf course until I was 18. The golf course, RCGC, it has a lot of pine trees… very narrow with tall pine trees, but the courses are a similar distance. We have kangaroos in my golf club crossing the fairways.
I love to go for coffee in Australia and there are lots of nice cafes, not commercial, where you can sit in the sun and make new friends. I also love “Vegemite”, it’s a yeast extract, typical from Australia. Every Australian child has it. You spread it over a toast and some butter, like marmalade. I like to put a lot on my toast.
What are the typical drinks from your area?
We have some wineries in the area, but my favourite ones are from Tasmania.
Be our travel guide:
In Canberra, I would recommend you to visit the government buildings. We have a new Parliament House and Government house. There are also some beautiful art galleries and a place for children for Science called “Questacon” which is the National Science and Technology Centre, all Science for children… I will take mine there (laughs)
Australian beaches, probably in the east coast, but also far west, in Perth, are also really nice, so either coasts are good.
I like to spend a lot of time with my family. My brother lives three hours away at the coast, so we normally go and visit him and spend time with his children. We like to eat barbecue, mainly beef and sausages together with salad, and we drink beer and wine. I prefer the white wine. We have also sometimes seafood, when it is fresh.
What’s a typical Australian dessert?
Pavlova: a kind of cake with cream, merengue, fruit and sugar…but I do not like it too much. I prefer chocolate.
What are the top sports in Australia?
Australian football and cricket. At the moment, golf is becoming more popular. When Greg Norman was the best in the world it was really popular, but then it decreased in interest until now, as we have Adam Scott and it is growing again. Karrie Webb is putting a lot of effort into encouraging young people to play, so I think in the next 5-10 years we will see a difference. I am exactly the same age as Adam Scott and we played together in some junior events. He was from a different area, so I do not know him very well.
My favourite golfer is Karrie Webb. When I started playing golf she was very good and popular and then, when I turned professional, she was very nice to me. She said to me: “If you ever need any help or advice, please ask me.” She is very good to the young Australian players.