Classy Woods' Royal Pines breakthrough
BY Bruce Young | ALPG Tour | 2014 Volvik RACV Ladies Masters | Wrap | 09 Feb 2014
23 year old Cheyenne Woods, an invitee to the Volvik RACV Ladies Masters by tournament promoter Bob Tuohy, has fulfilled her side of the bargain by winning the 25th staging of the event by two shots over a game 17 year old Australian Amateur Champion Minjee Lee.
For Woods, who boasts her famous namesake as her uncle, it was her first win on a recognised tour, this event of course co sanctioned between the ALPG and Ladies European Tours.
Woods led from the halfway mark after a second round of 67 had given her a share of the lead along with South African Stacy Lee Bregman at 10 under par. She lost the lead early in round three but her powerful finish on Saturday afternoon allowed her to take a one shot lead over Bregman into day four with Lee one shot further back.
Again it took her a while to get warmed up today as, although she birdied the first, she bogeyed the par four 4th but fortunately for her none of her closest rivals were able to build early pressure although when Lee birdied the 6th, 7th and 8th the pair were tied before Woods established a winning break with a birdie at the 9th.
Both birdied the 12th but when Woods hit a delightful pitch to three feet at the 15th she extended the lead to two. The potential of a two shot swing faced both players at the 17th when Woods hit a poor second from the left hand rough into the front left bunker while Lee’s approach finished eight feet from the hole.
Woods was more than up to the task however and hit her bunker shot to three feet. Lee missed and the American was able to walk up the last not exactly smelling the roses but enjoying the moment.
Her drive was outstanding, perhaps benefitting from the adrenalin the potential of her first win was giving her and when she found the middle of the green with her second to the par five it was all but over.
Both Woods and Lee birdied the 72nd hole and the margin was two with Bregman recovering from a slow start to the day with three late birdies to finish in a share of 3rd position with Sweden’s Camilla Lennarth who, after two bogeys early, finished with 70 to be at 12 under.
Lennarth’s fellow Swede, Caroline Hedwall, threw out signals for her chances next week at the Victoria Golf Club at the Australian Women’s Open when she stormed home with a round of 66 to finish tied for 5th with Koreans Minsun Kim and So Young Lee.
The best round of the day (65) came from Spain’s Belen Mozo who tied for 8th with Jessica Korda while the lady who became the world number one at this event three years ago, Yani Tseng, finished in a share of 10th with Gwladys Nocera and Charley Hull.
Tseng was round in seven under par 66 to indicate that the game that made her the dominant player in the game for two years is on the way back.
For Woods however this is a huge breakthrough as she aims to establish herself as a bona-fide golfer in her own right and away from the shadow cast by her uncle. By winning this week’s event she has gone a long way to achieving just that.
“This is a huge accomplishment for me,” said the winner.
“The Ladies European Tour has been great to be able to play this last year, I’ve been able to see all of these great players, play with Solheim Cup members, so I’ve learned so much from all of these girls and to be able to come out here and actually compete with them and come out on top was huge for me.
“All off season I was just getting ready with my coach back home and he told me he thinks that this is my year, my time to finally get a win and to have it this early in the season is exciting, especially with European Tour and then here in Australia. I’m just really proud with how I played this week and followed through all four days and finished strong.”
The win didn’t come as a huge shock even though she missed the cut last week, “Not necessarily a shock but I missed the cut last week by two shots in New Zealand, 77, 71 so I didn’t play well last week but I came into this week with a new mindset, I worked on a few things and everything just kind of clicked. It worked out really well, after the first round I knew I could win, so from then on that was the goal.”
Not only is she now a class act on the golf course but she proved through her media savvy ways that she could also win over crowds away from the course.
As the full impact of Karrie Webb’s early exit sunk in the on Friday evening it soon became evident that the Gold Coast public were taking Woods to their heart and the support she received assisted her in achieving perhaps her greatest golfing goal to date.
Uncle Tiger might not be everyone’s cup of tea but there was never a bad word for his niece who has given the world another member of the remarkable family to watch over the next few years.