17 Mar 2022 | Professional golf |
Aussies on Tour: Kyriacou kicks off balancing act
by Dane Heverin
Following a much-needed break, Stephanie Kyriacou is refreshed, relaxed and ready to get stuck into 2022 at the Ladies European Tour’s Aramco Saudi Ladies International this week.
After playing 22 professional tournaments in 2021 before her successful two-week long LPGA Q-Series campaign last December, Kyriacou needed to recharge her batteries at home but things did not go according to plan.
A bout of Covid that ruled her out of the Australian WPGA Championship on the eve of the tournament was an unwelcome interruption, while a pair of underwhelming results upon her recovery from the virus – a missed cut at TPS Victoria and 22nd place finish at the Vic Open – were also a disappointment.
However, the 21-year-old is focusing on the positives that did come out of her summer and she now feels primed to hit the ground running in her first overseas tournament of the year.
“I managed to go home for three months which was great after spending seven months away,” Kyriacou told LET media.
“I took a little break to just relax and then slowly got back into it. I’ve made a couple changes in my game which have been hard to transition into, but I’m pretty confident with how I’m playing now.
“I didn’t play great in the events at home, but it was nice to play in front of an Aussie crowd and get back into competition golf again.”
Kyriacou’s schedule for the year will see her compete across both the LPGA and the LET, and the next two weeks are the start of that balancing act.
After her final round at Royal Greens, she will jump straight on a plane to the United States for her first LPGA event of the year next week.
“I’m pretty excited to play this year, I have more opportunities that I’m looking forward to this year being able to play on both Tours,” Kyriacou said. “I’m not 100% on my schedule yet so I’ll be deciding along the way.”
This week she is simply thrilled to return to a course that holds many fond memories for her including a course record nine-under round of 63 two years ago and back-to-back top-ten finishes in the past two years.
“I’m very excited to be at Royal Greens, I love the course. I think this course is a good challenge and it suits my eye,” she said.
“I’ve played here a lot, so I’m not scared to hit the golf shots I need. When I first played at Royal Greens, I was scared to hit a few shots, but now I’ve lost that fear.”
Another Australian who will be in the spotlight this week is former world number one Jason Day.
Day will lead the Australian charge at the PGA Tour’s Valspar Championship in Florida and he will play the opening two rounds in a marquee group alongside Masters champions Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson.
The DP World Tour continues its South African swing this week at the inaugural Steyn City Championship with Scott Hend, Maverick Antcliff and Jason Scrivener all in action.
Round 1 tee times AEDT
Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club (Copperhead Course), Palm Harbor, Florida
11:13pm* Jason Day, Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson
12:19am* Danny Lee (NZ), Aaron Wise, J. J. Spaun
3:41am Cameron Percy, Kyle Stanley, Omar Uresti
3:52am* Mark Hensby, James Hahn, John Huh
Defending champion: Sam Burns
Past Aussie winners: John Senden (2014)
Top Aussie prediction: Jason Day
TV times: Live 5am-9am Friday, Saturday; Live 4am-9am Sunday, Monday on Fox Sports 503
Ladies European Tour
Aramco Saudi Ladies International
Royal Greens Golf & Country Club, Saudi Arabia
7:52pm Stephanie Kyriacou, Emily Kristine Pedersen, Olivia Cowan
8:03pm* Whitney Hillier, Sofie Bringner, Sarah Schober
Defending champion: Lydia Ko
Past Aussie winners: Nil
Top Aussie prediction: Stephanie Kyriacou
TV times: Live 9pm-1am Thursday; Live 9pm-12:30am Friday, Live 9pm-1am Saturday, Sunday on Fox Sports 505
DP World Tour
Steyn City Championship
Steyn City, Johannesburg, South Africa
4:35pm Scott Hend, Tristen Strydom, Matthew Pavon
9:05pm* Jason Scrivener, Maximilian Kieffer,
10:15pm Maverick Antcliff, Frederic Lacroix, Nikhil Rama
Defending champion: Inaugural event
Top Aussie prediction: Jason Scrivener
TV times: Live 9:30pm-2:30am Thursday, Friday; Live 10pm-2:30am Saturday, Live 9:30pm-2am Sunday on Fox Sports 503
Carlisle Arizona Women’s Golf Classic
Longbow Golf Club, Mesa, Arizona
2:50am Gabriela Ruffels, Agathe Laisne, Teresa Toscano
6:02am Julienne Soo, Milagros Chaves, Kennedy Swann
6:02am* Amelia Garvey (NZ), Alena Sharp, Klara Spilkova
7:30am Hira Naveed, Nannette Hill, Ho-Yu An
Defending champion: Ruixin Liu
Past Aussie winners: Nil
Top Aussie prediction: Gabriela Ruffels
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