Underrated Kemp shows winning form at Open
BY David Collinge | ALPG Tour | 2007 Women's Australian Open | Round One | 01 Feb 2007
With a blinding 6 under par 66 at Royal Sydney today, Sarah Kemp is perfectly positioned to take out her maiden LET tournament victory in the Australian Women’s Open. Shooting an exemplary round, Kemp recorded six birdies and didn’t drop a shot.
Although she nearly did. For the first five holes today, Kemp was even with par – but that was only because of her skill at playing catch up; at least twice she had to scramble – successfully – to save par. This is something Australian galleries have seen before: who could forget Kemp’s astonishing come back to level with Joanne Mills after her wayward drive on the first play off hole at last years NSW Women’s Open?
In many ways, Kemp is one of the unsung heroes of the current crop of Australian women’s golf success. In her rookie year on the LET in 2006 she finished 28th in the overall money list – and 3rd in the Rookie of the Year contest (behind Nikki Garrett at number one). On the way to that result, Kemp recorded a 2nd and a 3rd in headline events in Portugal and Spain. She qualified for and played in the British Open.
Strangely, her success and potential have been somewhat overlooked by the local press in the lead up to this event. Strange, because as well as her success in Europe, Kemp is currently at the top of the ALPG Order of Merit. Strange, because Kemp has one of the nicest swings you’ll see in ladies golf: flat, even and powerful.
Perhaps this has done Kemp some good. She is a hunter, with the rest of the field her prey. Stealth and an innocent facade are part of her weaponry. Today she started out slow, and then overtook the field quietly and steadily. By no means has she staked a claim on this tournament that she couldn’t deliver on. Two weeks ago she said:
“I’m very excited. If I can just go out there and have fun and play my game I’ll be happy. The first goal I guess is to make the cut. I’d love to do well in front of the home crowd.”
Kemp has certainly done that. What’s more, her style of play over the last twelve months has been to finish with a sizzling final round. Today – barring a meltdown or two – she’s put herself in the place she likes to be: the last couple of groups on Sunday.
At only 21 years of age, Kemp has the international golfing world at her feet. Even if she doesn’t win here at Royal Sydney, she soon will.
Photo – Anthony Powter