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After an outstanding amateur career, Ashleigh Simon turned professional in May 2007 and won the Catalonia Ladies Masters in Spain on the Ladies European Tour two months later, aged 18 years and 37 days. Now at the grand old age of 21, she has found her feet again with a string of strong performances, including three top-five finishes on the LET this season. Here we chat with the rising South African star.

 
 
The Full Swing with Ashleigh Simon
 
Illustration by: Brian Wasson
 

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
My idea of happiness is to be healthy and to be able to have a successful, stable life, in a loving relationship and to have a loving family.

2. What is your greatest fear?
Failing at my golf career. Not achieving goals that I have set or to be able to play at the standard I want to play at. Eventually one day I would like to be top ten in the world and I would like to have a successful, long career.

3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
I can be lazy! I’ve become better but I need to get better.

4. What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Negativity.

5. Which living person do you most admire?
Probably my dad, because he has taught me that you have to go out and work for what you want, never give up, and he has provided me with the opportunities I have to get to where I am.  

6. What is your greatest extravagance?
Watches are my weakness. I have four, two Tags, a Cartier and a Jacques Lemans. I wear them all and they are different colours to match different outfits.

7. What is your current state of mind?
I’d say happy.

8. On what occasion do you lie?
When you maybe want to get out of something, like you have to go to a function or have been asked to do something and you have made other arrangements. You can make a little white lie.

9. What do you most dislike about your appearance?
I always disliked having curly hair but it has got a bit straighter as I’ve got older.

10. Which living person do you most despise?
Probably Hitler! I don’t really despise anyone, only really bad people.

11. What is the quality you most like in a man?
A sense of humour.

12. What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Probably kindness and loyalty in a best friend.

13. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
As a South African, we always put ‘hey’ on the end of everything, like ‘How’s it, hey?’

14. What or who is the greatest love of your life?
Golf is a cliché as it’s my job, but my family and South Africa.

15. When and where were you happiest?
In terms of overall life, I’d say right now I’m probably the happiest I’ve ever been.

16. Which talent would you most like to have?
I’d like to be able to sing and play the guitar. I can play a tiny bit of guitar and everyone thinks they can sing, but I sing in the shower!

 

17. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I probably would have worked a little harder in the past.

18. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I still always think when I won my first South African Amateur when I was 14, I won the stroke play and match play and I was the youngest person to ever do it. I then won the South African Open a week later.  

19. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be??
I would like to be a rock star.

20. Where would you most like to live?
Other than South Africa, I’d probably live on Laguna Beach, Orange County, California.

21. What is your most treasured possession?
I’ve got a nomination bracelet which I’ve had since I was 13, since the first time I went overseas to the United States for the Junior World Championships. I’ve built it up over the years with symbols. That and a ring I got on my 21st from David Buhai (my boyfriend).

22. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Losing a loved one.

23. What is your favourite occupation?
Golf: I’ve never known anything else! I just enjoy relaxing, watching TV with my dog when I’m home: I have a miniature Maltese poodle.  

24. What is your most marked characteristic?
I’d say my sense of humour.

25. What do you most value in your friend?
Loyalty, because just being overseas and still being close to your friends: loyalty sums it all up.

26. Who are your favourite writers?
I don’t read!

27. Who is your hero of fiction?
I’d probably say Superman because I had Superman pyjamas when I was a kid and I loved them.   

28. Who are your heroes in real life?
Ernie Els, Roger Federer and Annika.

29. What are your favourite names?
My nicknames are Smashley and Ainsley (as in the chef, Ainsley Harriot). I played in Belgium when I was 13 and my host family started calling me Ainsley and it stuck. .

30. What is it that you most dislike?
Fish and Chinese food!  

31. What is your greatest regret?
I didn’t have a normal childhood because I was forced to grow up fast and travel by myself from the age of 14 but I wouldn’t do anything differently. Apart from not being able to go to a few parties, I don’t have any regrets.  

32. How would you like to die?
In my sleep.

33. What is your motto?
Enjoy the journey! (I got the saying from Zinzan Brooke, who captained the All Blacks in rugby).

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