22 Jun 2022 | Professional golf |

Kyriacou's unique Karrie-inspired method

by Dane Heverin

Stephanie Kyriacou with caddie, and Golf Australia's Sport Medicine & Performance Manager, Athlete Wellbeing & Engagement Manager Luke Mackey, at the ShopRite LPGA Classic earlier this month.
Stephanie Kyriacou with caddie, and Golf Australia's Sport Medicine & Performance Manager, Athlete Wellbeing & Engagement Manager Luke Mackey, at the ShopRite LPGA Classic earlier this month.

When seven-time major champion Karrie Webb gives you advice, you take it on board no matter how unusual it might sound.

Sydney’s Stephanie Kyriacou learned that lesson earlier this month at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

“Before that event I missed a couple of cuts in a row and I was getting kind of anxious over those short putts that you’re expected to make. Karrie just told me the stats and that what I was doing was not bad and she just told me to be realistic,” Kyriacou recalled on the Australian Golf Show podcast.

“Then she gave me a tip that if I do get anxious during putts just to close my eyes and listen for birds. It sounds ridiculous. When she told me I was like ‘are you serious?’”

That little tip clearly worked however, as the 21-year-old fired a bogey free six-under opening round of 65 to post a career best round on the LPGA and lead the tournament.

“It’s actually brilliant, it’s genius. Straight after I had that round and I went up to her (Karrie) and said ‘you do know what you’re talking about, don’t you?’,” Kyriacou said with a laugh.

The two-time Ladies European Tour winner fell away from there to finish in a tie for 25th, but she is optimistic that the lessons from that experience can hold her in good stead this week at the KPMG Women’s Championship - her first start in a major since coming in a tie for 13th at the AIG Women’s Open last year and her first major on American soil.

“That first round I kind of did everything right. It was my first time being in contention on the LPGA so I got nervous again. Which is silly now that I think of it,” Kyriacou said.

“You just kind of learn to take each shot as it goes and that’s something you definitely need to do out here. You need to be patient and you need to be very accepting that you’re going to make some mistakes. 

“The greens are ridiculous. They’re quick. You need to be in the right spot this week and you might not always be in the right spot, so it’s just going to be about patience and acceptance.”

Those words relate not just to her on course play this week, but her challenging year so far.

The first setback Kyriacou faced in 2022 was having to withdraw from the inaugural Australian WPGA Championship due to Covid-19 in January, while in more recent times she has missed the cut in four of her last five starts on the LPGA.

The tide is beginning to turn for her following that round of 65 in New Jersey however, courtesy of Webb’s words of wisdom and a taste of home in the lead up to this week.

“Karrie’s got the scholarship girls (Kirsten Rudgeley and Caitlin Peirce) and she organised dinner with all the Aussie girls: Minjee, Greeny, Kempy, Sarah Jane. There was a big group of us and it was nice,” Kyriacou said.

“Kempy’s actually got her coach Johnny here and he brought us some Tim-Tams so that was a good little treat at the end.

“There’s not many Australians out here so even to have dinner like that once a month is so nice. I haven’t been home for like three months so something as small as that changes your mood.”

Don’t miss any of the action from the KPMG Women’s PGA thanks to our definitive guide to the third women’s major of the year.

Podcast | Australian Golf Show

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