It was a bit of a nervous wait, but St. Michael’s gun Steph Kyriacou is now a member of the LPGA.
Kyriacou held her nerve in the final round of the mammoth LPGA Q Series, carding a 71 on the Highlands Oaks Course in Dothan, Alabama, to go with her opening seven rounds of 69,72,69,63,74,73 and 72.
Her 11 under par total was good enough to secure a 16th place finish – well inside the top 45 mark.
It’s been a whirlwind ride for Kyriacou since her breakout performance as an amateur at the co-sanctioned WPGA/ Ladies European Tour (LET) Australian Ladies Classic in February 2020.
Her dominant eight-stroke win at Bonville and subsequent decision to turn professional was easily one of the most critical sliding-door moments of her young life.
With all of her playing cohort in lockdown and stuck on the sidelines for much of this year and last, unable to do more than play a few holes at St. Michael’s herself, Steph admitted the chance to compete on the LET over the past 18 months was fortuitous.
“I’ve been very lucky in a sense. I’m always grateful, but, it’s still been a rollercoaster.”
Kyriacou, who turned 21 last month, claimed LET Rookie of the Year honours in 2020, added a second LET win to her resume at the 2021 Big Green Egg Open earlier this year. She made the cut in her first two Major appearances and added 12 top 10 finishes for the year to her resume.
With her Rolex Women’s world ranking now at an all-time high of 75, she is the third-highest Australian after major champions Minjee Lee and Hannah Green, who she will now compete against in 2022.
Two other Aussies were involved in the LPGA Q Series finals. Sarah Jane Smith carded rounds of 70, 73, 67, 70, 73, 71, 70 and 76 to hang on to her playing rights for 2022 by a thread.
Smith was joined late by Fellow Queenslander, Karis Davidson, who began the day well inside the mark, however a final round 77 almost destroyed her week.
France’s Pauline Roussin-Bouchard and Korea’s Na Rin An staged a battle royal for Q-School winner’s honours late in the piece, with the Korean grabbing the Frenchwoman in the dying stages to claim Medallist honours.
Na Rin An finished at 33-under after the eight rounds, a shot ahead of the Frenchwoman. Thailand’s Atthaya Thittikul was another six shots back in third.