Klara Spilkova’s career as a professional golfer has developed alongside the Ladies European Tour’s history in the Czech Republic.
The No.1 Czech player turned professional in 2011, the year the inaugural Prague Golf Masters was contested at Albatross Golf Resort. Playing in front of the home gallery as a rookie, Klara posted an excellent tie for ninth place.
Although she missed the cut in the 2012 tournament at Albatross with rounds of 75 and 72, the 18-year-old from Prague feels that this could be her year!
Klara will tee up in the Honma Pilsen Golf Masters at Golf Park Pilsen – Dýšina amongst the favourites on the back of a strong run which included a career best tie for sixth at the ISPS HANDA Ladies European Masters a fortnight ago, where she qualified for last week’s Ricoh Women’s British Open.
Here she gives her thoughts on playing in Pilsen and her hopes for earning her maiden professional win on home soil.
|Klara (right) and her regular caddie/manager, Monica|
Klara: how does it feel to be playing at home in the Czech Republic?
It’s very nice and exciting. I really like the people around and it’s strange because I can speak Czech. I really want to speak English because I always say ‘thank you!’ but here I can say ‘Děkuju!’ It’s a big tournament for me on the Ladies European Tour.
How many times have you played at Golf Park Pilsen – Dýšina?
I’ve played in many small tournaments here and in kids’ tournament. The last three years I played the sponsors’ tournaments here. Two months ago I came to practice.
Are you feeling confident?
Yes, really. I think it’s a great course for making birdies so I feel good. It’s not that long, like last week at St Andrews for the British Open, it was pretty long. Now this feels pretty short and you can hit an eagle, so it’s pretty good. There are some good scores here and it’s very narrow. You have to hit good shots and think about the shots. It’s a nice golf course and different to Albatross, narrower. I like it, but it’s different. It’s good to change golf course sometimes. We normally play on the same golf courses so it’s good to change golf course for everybody to know something more about the country and see different places. Everybody says that Pilsen is nice and they enjoyed the welcome reception.
How often will you use your driver on this course?
I think a lot of times: a few times driver and a few times three-wood. I think if you hit the fairway with your first shot you can get on the green very easily and go for birdies.
How do you describe yourself as a player?
I always hit 12 or 13 fairways. I’m not that long, like Laura Davies or the other girls. I’m not a strong person; I’m small, so I did a lot of work in the winter on fitness. I think I’m longer than last year, so that’s good because I think it’s good to be long on the tour. The Czech girls are very straight so I think they will play much better than at Albatross.
Do you think this could be your year?
Third year is a nice number, I like three! I feel happy with my game.
Do you feel any pressure here at home?
No, I feel very nice. There are a lot of things going on like interviews and photographs and everybody wants time but it’s nice. It’s not negative, it’s positive. I need to rest a little bit and practice and be focused for tomorrow.
Are you still at school?
Yes, one more year, but going easily, no more stress. I used to be stressed with school but I want to be there to do exams and I think it’s very important. It’s not a rush. I like going to school and it’s a different focus. It’s very hard sometimes. I also like to be with my brother, who’s a fashion designer and designs my clothes off the course and to be with my boyfriend. It’s nice to go to the cinema or bowling, squash or tennis, something different. I like to do everything but golf is the most important thing.
You are doing well this year, ranked 33rd on the ISPS HANDA Order of Merit after three top ten finishes. What was the reaction when you earned a career best tie for sixth at the recent ISPS HANDA Ladies European Masters a fortnight ago?
It was like, ‘Boom!’ because everyone sent me a message, calling me and everybody! I was like, ‘What happened?’ It was because in Czech there was live TV on the Sunday so everybody saw on television. Everybody said, ‘Wow, she’s in the first flight and finished sixth!’ It was very good because everybody saw the TV and said congratulations. I finished seventh in Slovakia and nothing, but now I finished sixth, it was a bigger tournament because of the TV and it really helped, I think. I think live TV is really good for the Ladies European Tour because they can see girls can hit it like the men, half a metre from the flag. It’s good for people to see that the women can do it so I think it’s good for the tour.