It says everything about their growing status in the game that Steph Kyriacou and Sarah Wilson are more expectant than nervous before the Isuzu Queensland Open.
The rising stars, the first women confirmed into the March 11-14 championship at Pelican Waters on the Sunshine Coast, have both taken huge steps in their golfing careers in the past year.
And while neither has any expectation of mixing it in the distance stakes with the men, the calm confidence they each exude speaks volumes of their mindset.
Sydneysider Kyriacou, who won the Australian Ladies Classic at Bonville in February last year as an amateur, took the professional plunge soon afterwards and had a sensational year on the Ladies European Tour to win rookie of the year honours despite only playing a limited schedule.
“A lot has changed. I’ve learnt a lot and I think that I know my game a lot better than I used to,” Kyriacou said.
“It’s a great opportunity to play against the men and I’m just going to have to figure out ways of scoring as I get closer to the green because obviously we can’t drive it like they do.
“But I’m really keen to compare myself against some of the boys that I know and do my best to be competitive all week.”
Sunshine Coast-based Wilson, still an amateur, qualified to play the Isuzu Queensland Open last year on her own merit and missed the halfway cut by just one stroke after rounds of 74-72.
"I’m really keen to compare myself against some of the boys that I know and do my best to be competitive all week." – Steph Kyriacou
This time around, having won the SA Stroke Play crown during the year, she returns knowing playing her own game is critical.
“I learnt from last year that you can’t really put too much focus on the men playing around you. They obviously have strength as an advantage off the tee, but I now know to just work on what I’m doing and see where I end up each day,” Wilson said.
“It’s a huge opportunity, not just be a woman in the field, but to gain tournament experience in such an important event.”
Therese Magdulski, GA’s general manager of events and operations said: “We are really excited to see more women contesting the event this year.
“With a huge priority for Golf Australia being to increase opportunities for women and girls, this is a taster for our plans for a women’s Queensland Open into the future.”
Already this week, defending champion Anthony Quayle and fellow Queenslander and European Tour player Jake McLeod have confirmed as starters on the Sunshine Coast.
The Isuzu Queensland Open is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and features on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar.
The 2021 Isuzu Queensland Open will be held at Pelican Waters Golf Club from March 11-14. It is a key part of the 2020-21 ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia calendar and the second last event on its Order of Merit this season.