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Super Steph – Australian Golf Digest

Steph Kyriacou sits down to chat about life on the LPGA Tour, and away from the links.

If the City of Sydney Council and New South Wales State Government’s Labor Party want any evidence to keep Moore Park Golf Club as an 18-hole course, they should look no further than rising LPGA Tour star Steph Kyriacou.

“My sister got me into golf when we were young; we used to play tennis at Moore Park and the golf course was right there,” Kyriacou tells Australian Golf Digest Women. “One day, we tried golf and it quickly became our passion. I started out playing golf at Moore Park and as I got better and more into it – and eventually a decent junior player – I became a member at St Michael’s and The Lakes. Now, here I am playing professionally.”

Indeed, Kyriacou, born and raised in the suburb of Botany, may not have pursued golf as a career had it not been for a publicly accessible and affordable 18-hole course in the centre of Sydney. 

Eighteen years on, Kyriacou is now an LPGA Tour card-holder, a two-time winner on the Ladies’ European Tour and an owner of two top-10s in women’s majors (the 2022 Women’s PGA and British Open). The 23-year-old joined us to chat about the moment she knew golf could be a career (hint, it was her eight-shot victory at an LET event, the Australian Ladies’ Bonville Classic, while still an amateur), her favourite food and the women’s major she wants to win more than any other.

Transitioning to the LPGA Tour, Kyriacou has continued to impress. With multiple top-five finishes last season, including a fourth-place finish at the Pelican event, she secured her spot in the prestigious CME Tour Championship. While she remains humble about result-based goals, Kyriacou’s love for the majors is evident – particularly the Open. Good thing it’s going to St Andrews this year.

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Australian Golf Digest Women: You had a couple of top-five finishes on the LPGA Tour last year. What was the highlight of the season and what did you aim to build on for this year?

Steph Kyriacou: The highlight for me was definitely the last event at Pelican. I came fourth and secured my spot in the CME Tour Championship. It was a real nail-biter, but I managed to pull through. As for this year, I’m focusing more on consistency rather than specific result-based goals. I want to control what I can and trust it will lead to good outcomes.

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You finished in T-14 at the Saudi Ladies International, and T-41 in both the Honda LPGA Thailand and the HSBC Women’s World Championship. Your season-best result so far has been at the Match Play, where you were T-18, and you finished T-40 in the year’s first major, the Chevron. Any particular results-based goals for this season, especially in relation to the majors?

I try not to get too caught up in specific results, but I do love the majors. I seem to perform well in them, so hopefully I can keep that trend going this year. Winning the Open would definitely be a dream come true for me.

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Speaking of the Open, you mentioned feeling comfortable in windy conditions. With the Women’s British Open at St Andrews this year, how excited are you? Have you ever played the Old Course?

I’ve never physically played golf at St Andrews, but I love playing in the wind. It’s something I’m used to from playing back home at St Michael’s, which is right on the coast of Sydney, and The Lakes which gets windy around that Sydney airport area. Winning a major at St Andrews would seriously be a dream come true. I’ll have to raid the merchandise shops as well.

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Do you have favourite venues on the LPGA Tour?

I really enjoy playing on the east coast courses, like [Founders Cup venue] Upper Montclair Country Club in New Jersey and the courses in New York. The grasses in New Jersey and New York are similar to what I grew up with, so I feel quite at home there. I struggle on the west coast, where I feel the grasses are similar to Queensland. Even in Queensland as a junior and amateur I never seemed to play well.

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You learned to play at Moore Park as a child, but when did you realise you could make a living out of professional golf?

Probably around 17 or 18 years old. Winning junior events was fun, but it was when I started winning amateur events that I began to think, Oh, I’m decent at golf. Winning the LET event at Bonville really was a no-brainer to immediately turn pro and take the LET card. It all happened so fast. I had so much to think about in such a short space of time.

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What’s your favourite thing to do in Sydney during the offseason and what are your favourite foods to be found there?

I’m pretty simple – I love going to the beach at Coogee, reading a book and enjoying a nice walk somewhere in Sydney. And food-wise, I’ve been exploring some restaurants lately. Mimi’s in Coogee is a favourite – they serve amazing seafood and they do a caviar vodka shot.

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With a packed schedule including 10 countries this year, how do you mentally prepare for the travel?

It’s all about those little one-percenters, like staying hydrated and adjusting to different time zones by eating meals at the mealtimes of the destination in the days leading up to leaving Australia. I’m quite used to travelling, so I actually enjoy it.

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How do you plan to structure your season? Will you divide it into blocks of time spent overseas and at home in Sydney?

I usually take it into chunks depending on how I’m playing and whether I need to keep playing. It’s flexible, but generally I spend some time in Sydney and some on tour. 

GETTING DIALLED IN WITH RAPSODO 

Days before Kyriacou began her 2024 season in February, she was announced as the first women’s golf ambassador for launch monitor giant Rapsodo. Kyriacou was dialling in her irons and wedges on the range at The Lakes, having changed her grip and swing slightly during the offseason under coach Grant Waite, meaning her MLM2Pro arrived with perfect timing.

“The Rapsodo is going really well – it’s easy to set up and it’s nice to dial in the wedges,” she said. “The first few events for me are going to be a few short courses, so I’m just trying to dial in that before I go.”

Kyriacou uses the ‘carry distance’, ‘launch angle’ and ‘total distance’ settings when she’s grinding away on her irons on the range.

“Carry numbers are especially important with a new swing, which I tweaked in the offseason,” she said. “It’s good to get those distances with the wedges, because there is no room for error in that part of the game. Launch angle is important to me, also, because my mis-hits are the high, spinny shot and not the strong flight. With the launch angle, I try to keep the trajectory down a bit, so it comes out stronger.”

Kyriacou will be taking the MML2Pro around the world with her this year. “I think it’s going to go pretty well – it’s very light, it’s very small and it’s very easy to set up.”

Getty images: Warren Little, Sarah Stier