Cheyenne Woods claims second pro title
Tiger's niece holds off closest rival by two strokes to clinch Australian Ladies Masters
Associated Press on the Gold Coast
Cheyenne Woods won the Australian Ladies Masters on Sunday for her first major professional tour victory, holding off 17-year-old Australian amateur Minjee Lee by two strokes.
The 23-year-old Woods, the niece of Tiger Woods, closed with a four-under 69 at Royal Pines to finish at 16-under for a total of 276. Lee also shot 69 in the event sanctioned by the European and Australian tours.
Woods birdied the par-5 15th to open a two-stroke lead, hitting a wedge from about 120 yards to 4 feet. On the par-5 18th, she matched Lee with a birdie, holing out from 11/2 feet.
From Phoenix, Woods is the daughter of Earl Dennison Woods Jnr, the half brother of Tiger Woods.
Cheyenne Woods turned professional in 2012 after an All-America career at Wake Forest and her only previous pro victory came in 2012 in a SunCoast mini-tour event. In December, she missed the cut in the LPGA Tour's qualifying tournament in a failed bid to earn a spot on the circuit.
She choked back tears yesterday as she spoke of the significance of winning a Ladies European Tour event.
"This is a huge accomplishment for me," she said. "The European Tour has been great to be able to play this past year.
"I've been able to see all of these great players, play with Solheim Cup members … to be able to come out here and compete with them, and come out on top was huge for me."
Woods said she had learned to live with the pressure of expectation that came with bearing a famous golfing name.
"I've been pro for two years and, for the majority of it, people just think of me as Tiger Woods' niece, so now I have a game of my own and I have a title now, a win, which is exciting," she said. "It's nice now to say to people that I can play and I'm not just a name.
"Growing up with the last name of Woods, there are a lot of expectations and pressures, and the spotlight is on you, but I knew that I was able to win.
"I always knew I'd be able to compete with these ladies, so now it's kind of a weight off my shoulders because everybody knows not just me."
Woods' win earned her A$57,000 (HK$396,000) in prize money and a two-year exemption on the Ladies European Tour events.
She plays this week in the LPGA Tour-sanctioned Women's Australian Open in Victoria.