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Aussie trio secure their LPGA Tour cards

If she hadn’t already done so, young gun Steph Kyriacou has officially announced her arrival as a world golfing force after securing a LPGA Tour card for 2022.

The Sydney sensation joined fellow Australians Sarah Jane Smith and Karis Davidson in successfully earning full rights to the prestigious and lucrative tour through the gruelling eight-round LPGA Q-Series.

Kyriacou held her nerve with a final-round 71 on the Highlands Oaks Course in Alabama to finish tied for 16th at 11 under and well inside the top 45 to qualify.

Kyriacou’s graduation added the exclamation mark to another incredible season barely a year after turning professional.

The just-turned-21-year-old has risen from world No.806 to 75th in the rankings in a whirlwind 22 months that began with her spectacular eight-stroke victory as a teenage amateur at the 2020 LET Australian Ladies Classic in Bonville.

Opting to turn professional after the life-changing win, Kyriacou defied all odds during the global pandemic to lead the Women’s British Open early in her major championship debut at Royal Troon last year.

With her father carrying her bag, Kyriacou was crowned the 2020 European rookie of the year before adding a second LET title to her CV at the Dutch Ladies Open in July.

Kyriacou recorded 12 top-10 finishes for the year in all to contend for the full-blown European player of the year gong all the way until this season’s final event in the Middle East.

Now Kyriacou finds herself Australia’s No.3-ranked female star behind only major winners Minjee Lee and Hannah Green, who’ll she join on next year’s LPGA Tour.

For all her successes, though, Kyriacou credits her fortuitous victory at Bonville last February as the turning point in her career.

It was only a month later that the sporting world shut down for several months because of COVID-19.

“I was kind of lucky that I won this tournament as an amateur. I played well, but the timing was good because one of my best mates, Grace Kim, she’s obviously a top amateur, but she didn’t win, had to come to Q-School this year. She hardly played last year,” Kyriacou said.

“So I think I’ve been very lucky in a sense. It’s always grateful, but it’s still been a roller coaster.”

As it has been for Smith, too.

The tour veteran but young mother clinched her card by a thread after a final-round 76 left the 37-year-old tied for 41st, in a group that included Davidson, at four under.

Smith has been a mainstay of the LPGA Tour for a decade but had to qualify again after taking a year’s maternity leave.

Davidson also qualified by a solitary shot after a horror final-round 77 that almost shattered her big American dream.

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