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Kiwi golfing prodigy joins Lydia Ko in professional ranks

Rising New Zealand golfing prodigy Amelia Garvey has announced her transition into the professional game in time for the US Women’s Open held at The Olympic Club next week.

Amelia Garvey during last year's US Women's Open. She will make her professional debut at the same tournament next week. Source: Getty

Having finished her college career at the University of Southern California just a few days ago, the communications student has decided to play in her second major championship as a professional golfer from June 4 – 7, a day after her 21st birthday.

The Cantabrian had plans of turning professional at LPGA Qualifying School in August, but a phone call with her coach Ryan Lumsden following her three-person playoff win at a US Women’s Open Qualifier changed her mind.

She said it was a surreal feeling calling herself a professional golfer.

“It doesn’t feel real to be honest. To be able to call myself a professional is weird as it’s something I’ve been working towards for so long and now the day has finally come. I don’t think you could write the script any better.

“I actually didn’t think about turning professional until I qualified for the US Women’s Open a few weeks ago. I spoke to my coach that night and he asked if that was something I had thought about.

"I think it’s too good of an opportunity to pass up and everything has fallen into place really nicely since I made the decision,” she explained.

Garvey now has ambitions of winning majors and medals throughout her professional golfing career.

“Fittingly I want to win a major. I was born in England and I’ve always wanted to win the British Open and now that golf is in the Olympics, I wouldn’t mind being an Olympian and win a gold medal as well. That’s what gets me out of bed in the morning.

“Those are my two ambitions, majors and medals.”

Having played in the US Women’s Open last year, Garvey already has some experience in the bank she can apply to the tournament next week in her quest in becoming the second Kiwi woman to win a major championship.

She stresses that although she is now a professional, her preparation won’t change as she heads into next week.

“I played in the tournament last year as an amateur which was nice, and I learned a lot from that.

“I’m still going out to play the game that I love and I’m going to continue to do that into my professional career. I play my best when I’m having fun. I was preparing to win the US Open as an amateur, and now I’m preparing to win it as a professional."

Reconnecting with fellow Kiwi Lydia Ko as well as major champions Hannah Green and Patty Tavatanakit is next on the agenda as she hopes of playing a practice round with them.

Garvey was a recipient of the Lydia Ko scholarship in 2018 and spent a week with Ko at Scottsdale National Golf Club.

The purpose of the scholarship is to inspire and assist New Zealand’s promising female amateur golfers to achieve their dream of reaching the LPGA Tour.

Garvey will also turn to her college teammate Gabriella Ruffels who transitioned to the professional game earlier this year for some words of wisdom.

“It’s nice to have some friends who have been through what I’m about to go through that I can reach out to. I want to get some knowledge on how they were feeling at the time and how they dealt with it,” she said.