Former British Open winner and joint leader at six under par. You must be very pleased with the way you played today?
Yeah, I am. I played really well today. Last week in Melbourne was a really disappointment, I went in there thinking I might play well, and ah, just I just made the decision this week to just relax and try and enjoy it a bit more. I think I was just pushing it a bit too hard and trying a little bit too hard. So just trying to relax and enjoy it, and hit the ball really well. Obviously six under after 10, I had some really good chances coming in, didn’t make a lot more. But still I’ll take that as a good sign. Obviously it’s perfect scoring conditions out there, you know the first nine this morning. Generally really pleased.
Guess you could describe yourself as a resurgent Karen Lunn.
I guess so, the last couple of years have been pretty steady. You know obviously last year, I made that break through, and won in Portugal, which was huge for me, but the last couple of years have been pretty consistent. I’ve finished the top Aussie on the European Tour, for two years, so you know I give the young girls a bit of a stick about that. I’ve worked really hard on my game, on my short game, my attitude, so yeah, it’s all coming together, it’s just nice to get off to a good start in this tournament.
You talked there about giving the young girls a bit of stick, you’re someone that has sustained their career really well. You’re the top Aussie in Europe, Karrie is the top Aussie in the States, what would you say to the young Australian girls, in terms of what they need to find in order to step up a level?
There is no doubt that there is talent there. We have some great young players, if you look at the leader board. Kristie Smith and Rebecca Flood. I think they are two people that you’re going to hear a lot more of in the next few years, they’re great young players. I’ve actually been mentoring those two players, we have a mentoring program in the European circuit, and I’ve been a mentor to Kristie and Rebecca this year. The transition from amateur golf to professional is very difficult, and some people make it, some people don’t. It’s a different world. It’s hard work, you have to have that bit of mongrel in you. If you look at Karrie, and the determination that she has and her work ethic over the years, I mean that’s why she’s been at the level for so long. You don’t get anything for nothing in this game, you got to work pretty hard, and that’s the thing I try and tell the kids. You don’t get anything for nothing, talent will get you so far, but it’s the hard work that’s going to get you to the top.
Would you consider this your local home course?
Not so much home course, but definitely local. I’ve been up here for eight years now, so this is definitely easy to jump in the car and drive 25minutes to this tournament. And there is obviously a lot of family and friends here, so it’s nice to play well in front of them for a change.
What would it mean to you to win here?
Oh man, this event to me has always been right up there. I mean I’ve played, I don’t know how many years, I think I missed one year due to injury. But I think I’ve pretty much played every year, so this has always been very, very high on my list to do, so yeah, I would dare to say if I could win this, it would be the highlight of my career. You know Bob puts on a great show, and he supports the ALPG and you know I would love to win this event.
What do you make of Kristie? She has had some good scores here and last week. What do you think of her make-up? Do you see something special in her?
Very, very much so with Kristie. I’ve known her for a few years and there is no doubt, she has as much talent as any other young player I’ve seen in a long time. She hits it miles, perhaps her short game is not as sharp as she would like to have it, that’s probably why she is a little bit inconsistent. I think this year will be her third year on tour, and I would definitely seeing her going from strength to strength, and I would be really surprised if she doesn’t win one or two tournaments on the European tour this year. She’s as I said as far as talent goes, there aren’t many people that have more talented than her.
You mentioned that your expectations of last week were pretty high, coming off such a great year last year, what’s the difference between last week to this week, are you more realistic about things this week?
I wouldn’t say more realistic, I had a good talk to my coach, my physio and my caddie, and we just sat down after last week. I actually played really well last week, I just missed the cut by five shots, so there is just something that’s not working properly when that happens. I think I did try too hard, and I let things get to me on the golf course, like the group in front of me was slow, so perhaps I let that get to me a little bit. But I came out to enjoy myself this week, and not put much pressure on myself, and I got off to a good start, which is obviously easier to make it more enjoyable. But that was the plan this week, to just take the pressure off and to just try and play, add them up at the end of the round, and see what they add up too.
When you’re talking about your coach, are you talking about Diane Barnard, is she here?
No, she’s not here, she’s in England. Which is great when you have a coach based in Europe when you’re playing the European Tour, but for the time here in Australia, it can be a bit tricky and struggling. I send videos to her, and I spoke to her over the weekend, and sent her a video on the swing, but I think it was more up here that needed the work, not the golf swing.
Your mongrel, where does how does that come out?
I don’t know, I think it’s just something in you. You grow up in the country, you grow up playing sport. I grew up in a place called Cowra, in central NSW. Everything was about sport in the town. I think you grow up competing, and I think you have that ingrained in you from an early age. I think it’s something you have or you don’t. Karrie’s got it, Katherine’s got it, in the nicest possible way, but they’ve all got it. The will to win, the desire and determination, and work ethic, as I said you don’t get anything out of this game unless you put the time in. You look at the Korean players that are dominating the game, they’re on the range and on the putting green longer than anyone else. There is obviously huge part of it.
Whereabouts on the Tweed do you live?
I live at North Point, just south of the Coolangatta airport.