Tiger’s niece claims maiden LET win

Cheyenne Woods of the United States won the Volvik RACV Ladies Masters in Australia on Sunday for her first Ladies European Tour victory.

The 23-year-old from Phoenix, Arizona, closed with a four-under 69 at RACV Royal Pines Resort in Queensland’s Gold Coast to finish at 16-under 276.

Australian amateur Minjee Lee, 17, also shot 69 to end two strokes back in solo second place on 14-under-par, with Sweden’s Camilla Lennarth and South African Stacy Lee Bregman two shots further back in a share of third.

Another Swede Caroline Hedwall (66) soared up the leadboard to finish in a share of fifth position with South Korean amateur So Young Lee and fellow compatriot Minsun Kim.

It’s the best result in Woods’ two-year professional career, with the interest in the niece of superstar Tiger Woods resulting in the American Golf Channel taking the final two hours of the broadcast live into the United States.

Woods was absolutely elated with her win, saying: “This is a huge accomplishment for me.

“The Ladies European Tour has been great to be able to play this last year, I’ve been able to see all of these great players, play with Solheim Cup members, so I’ve learned so much from all of these girls and to be able to come out here and actually compete with them and come out on top was huge for me.”

Encouraging words from her coach before she left for Australia boosted her confidence.

“All off season I was just getting ready with my coach back home and he told me he thinks that this is my year, my time to finally get a win and to have it this early in the season is exciting, especially with European Tour and then here in Australia,” Wood said. “I’m just really proud with how I played this week and followed through all four days and finished strong.”

The win didn’t come as a huge shock even though she missed the cut last week.

“Not necessarily a shock but I missed the cut last week by two shots in New Zealand, 77, 71 so I didn’t play well last week but I came into this week with a new mindset, I worked on a few things and everything just kind of clicked,” the American said. “It worked out really well, after the first round I knew I could win, so from then on that was the goal.”

Woods started the final round with a one shot lead, she immediately picked up a shot with a birdie on the par-4 1st.

A bogey on the par-4 4th and a hat-trick of birdies on the par-4 6th, 7th and 8th by the reigning Australian amateur champion brought the pair together. However, Woods took the outright lead again with a birdie on the par 5 9th.

The world No.363 didn’t relinquish that advantage, adding birdies on the par-5 12th and 15th before a triumphant birdie on the par-5 18th completed a five-birdie, one-bogey final round.

For Lee, she was thrill with her efforts, saying: “Yeah, I haven’t really been in this situation before so I am happy with how I played today and hopefully there are many more to come.”