Kyriacou ready to be Open golf 'princess'

·3-min read

Her father has taken time off from caddying for her and - no offence, dad - but Steph Kyriacou couldn't be happier.

Australia's fine young golfing prospect has forged a successful partnership with dad Nick, who's been on the bag for her the past year as she's made a big impact on the Ladies European Tour.

He arrived in Europe to look after Steph during her successful rookie year and because of the complicated COVID-19 restrictions ended up doubling as her caddie.

Now, though, while keen amateur golfer Nick remains on tour with his daughter, he's got a break to allow him more time to spend remotely on his building business in Sydney and he'll watch a professional caddie now partner Kyriacou at this week's AIG Women's British Open at Carnoustie.

And the 20-year-old can't hide what a treat it is to be helped at just her third major championship by experienced bagman Joe Heraty.

"It's great - I feel like a princess!" she tells AAP with a big laugh.

"Everything's done for me. I'm so used to getting all the numbers myself, stepping it out, raking bunkers, doing pretty much everything except pushing my bag.

"Dad tries to help, but he's no professional.

"Like, he's not out there walking the courses - and he's pushing a buggy! I mean, no other caddies do that!

"Now everything's just done for me.

"Joe is giving me all the numbers, telling me, 'it's this far to carry that bunker' and all that - and I'm just like ... ''oh my God!'"

It's a year since the then teenager Kyriacou and Nick first came to Britain for her debut international event - and for a giddy day-and-a-half at last year's Troon Open, she was riding high.

"After 30 holes, I saw my name like in the top 10 and I s*** my pants!" she said.

"Then I had a major stumble, shot five bogeys on the trot and just about made the cut."

Kyriacou's a different player now.

"I don't look at scoreboards for a start," she said.

"Now I feel more prepared."

Because last year was such a strange, truncated, year, the LET decided Kyriacou could defend the rookie of the year title she won in 2020 - and she's now on course for the uniquely weird feat of winning that newcomer award two years running.

"But I don't consider myself a rookie anymore. I just feel like a veteran now," she says.

Rather, Kyriacou is after the tour's main prize, its order of merit title by winning the Race to Costa del Sol.

Currently, she's second after winning the Big Green Egg Open in the Netherlands last month.

That was a big win for Kyriacou, the first since her extraordinary breakthrough triumph of February 2020 when, as an amateur, she hammered a field of top pros in the Australian Classic - turning professional herself the next day.

"I didn't want to be a one-hit wonder who just fluked a win and never did anything after that," she said.

"After the first couple of events this year, I was stressing because I hadn't won.

"Then I saw Nelly Korda talking about how she'd watched an interview with Bubba Watson, who was saying, 'it's just a round of golf - don't beat yourself up, just stay patient'.

"And that week, I just put that into practice and everything just clicked."

There are bigger hopes than Kyriacou among the Aussie contingent at Carnoustie, in major champions Minjee Lee and Hannah Green.

But if her "A game" clicks, Kyriacou believes she could contend to be her country's first Open winner since Karrie Webb in 2002.

But wouldn't dad be annoyed if he wasn't on the bag for her big moment?

"He could be jealous," pondered Kyriacou with a smile.

"But I don't think so."

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