European-based Kiwi professional Lynnette Brooky, a major proponent of nurturing a national open, can’t wait to tee off in her first ISPS Handa New Zealand Open hosted by Christchurch.
Now a 40-something, the former Wellington player, in her 18th year on the Ladies European Tour, has not returned home just to make up the numbers. Brooky believes she has the game and the motivation to win in this week’s 54-hole championship at Pegasus, a co-sanctioned event with the Australian Ladies Professional Golf (ALPG) and Ladies European Tour (LET).
“I’d love to win, I really would. And I would love to play in the last group coming in. I want to play well. I’ve sort of saved myself for this tournament so I will see how it goes,” said Brooky.
The four-time LET winner was a significant advocate for a New Zealand Open but a burgeoning business with her partner and coach Ian Godleman has kept her in Europe over the last three years.
“I am in a business with my partner in running golf schools. He has taught 61 playing professionals on tour including Seve Ballesteros for five years.
“We have worked hard over the last four years on how we want to move the business forward. And how we can have fun out of it.
“Now that has settled down I am going to play more until I can’t play and do these golf schools.
“It’s my first time here to play in the New Zealand Open. The course is in excellent condition and the weather is not too bad. Hopefully it will improve because I know the crowds will be here as well.”
Brooky said it was particularly poignant time for her to return after the earthquakes that have rocked the city over the last 18 months.
“It got touch-and-go about this event at the start of the year and it was pleasing that they got a naming sponsor. I was going to support it anyway. Because of the incidents here over the last year [earthquakes] some of the girls did not want to come but I wanted to come back to support it and help make sure it stays strong.”
Brooky has fashioned a strong career with two wins in the French Open, as well as the Austrian Open and Spanish Open in her career.
“It’s my 18th year on the tour and it’s been fantastic. I have won some tournaments out there against the best like Laura Davies when we went head to head and I walked off with the trophy. It was nice to know I have been able to do this a few times.”
The proud Kiwi is believes she is in the right space to perform well this week.
“I have a new set of golf clubs in my bag this year and I know that’s been helping me and I have a good caddy on the bag. If we just concentrate and not get too tired out there I think we will do really well.”
A standard-bearer for the women’s game in this country for many years, Brooky is thrilled with the emergence of New Zealand Golf’s young talent led by World No.1 amateur Lydia Ko.
“I have watched Lydia’s progress closely. I love the way she plays and I wish her all the best. If I don’t win it I hope she does.”
The Pro-Am is scheduled for Thursday with the tournament proper starting on Friday with a cut for the top 70 professionals and ties after two rounds.