Irish-born Emily Byrne has recovered from a disastrous start to be crowned 2020 Ladies’ Champion of The Brisbane Golf Club.
The 22-year-old eventually won by four shots from teenager Aspen Sugars, but not before staring down an 11-shot deficit following a 13-over 86 in the first round. She jumped to three-shot lead with a par 73 in the second round and was never headed in her four-round 86, 73, 78, 80 victory.
“I’m not sure why, but I was extremely nervous during the first round,” explained the five-year BGC member.
“Also, the course was set-up very tough, but that was the case for all the players and was also the same for each of the four days of the Championship.”
After the shock of her first-round form – which had her back in fourth place – Emily took advantage of some ‘outside assistance’ in the form of her workmates at Carbrook Golf Club, where she hopes to start her PGA Traineeship in 2021.
“I played nine holes with some of my co-workers and suddenly things just clicked. They also gave me some valuable advice, which helped me to relax,” she said.
Emily, who recently returned from two years studying at Keiser University College in Florida, is the fourth different BGC Ladies’ Champion in the past four years. She follows last year’s winner Dee Dee Russell, Lisa Edgar (2018) and Issy Simpson in 2017. And each was aged under 23.
Although she was first introduced to golf by her dad Laurence when the family lived in Dublin, Emily’s fascination with the game did not kick in until they moved to Brisbane 15 years ago. She cut her golfing teeth through junior clinics and won her first Championship at Pacific Golf Club when she was 16.
And while dad Laurence was a deft hand at the game, his career has been put on hold to assist his talented daughter.
“Dad was a good golfer, and loved the game. But he gave it up to support me and my dreams,” Emily confessed.
Hopefully, that gesture has been worth the sacrifice because Emily has a golfing career firmly in her sights. She eventually wants to play the game professionally but – if accepted – will start as a trainee at Carbrook at the start of next year.
Currently playing off 3.1, she has also set the goal of a scratch handicap by then and is confident her golf is going in the right direction. And reaching that goal will entail many more rounds at the course where she is now the undisputed Champion.
“I really love the challenge of playing Brisbane,” she said.
“The course is brilliant, the competition is tough and the members are really supportive. Even if, and when I turn professional, I will always be keen to continue playing here and feel proud of what I have just achieved.” – TONY DURKIN