Playing with the pros

2014-10-18 00:00

A YOUNG local amateur golfer from Port Shepstone is up against top professionals at the Cell C South African Women’s Open at San Lameer Country Club that ends tomorrow.

Lizzie Currie (20) has only been playing golf for three years.

Her original sport of choice was cricket and she played for her school, Creston College at Oslo Beach, for the KZN women’s cricket team and for the KZN women’s under-21 cricket team when she was only 13. Currie stopped playing cricket because of ankle problems. “When you run it’s not a marathon, but you make jerky movements and awkward turns.”

After a break from sport of six months, Currie moved on to golf in 2011. “I took it up because it’s a walking sport.”

When she was told South African professional golfer Nicola Eaton was coming back from the United States to her home in Port Shepstone and giving lessons, she went along. “I did a lesson and then and there I knew this was for me and I wanted to be a professional like she was.”

Currie matriculated from Ramsgate’s South City Christian College in 2012 and since then has been working at her mother’s factory and playing golf.

Next year she’s planning to start a business management course via correspondence. Her two “gap” years have seen Currie playing golf several times alongside professionals “It’s really good exposure and it’s good to see how they play. Scary but cool.”

Earlier this year she played at the Zambia Ladies Open. “I didn’t do very well, but thanks to that experience I know what to expect with this tournament.”

Currie was asked to play at the South African Women’s Open out of the blue last week after another golfer dropped out. “I have a five handicap — nothing special — but I grabbed the opportunity to play with both hands.”

Currie said she is looking forward to playing on a course she is familiar with. She had previously volunteered to be a caddie or a marshall for the tournament “just so I could watch how these professionals go about things — how they set up at a hole and how they prepare for tournaments”.

But now instead of caddying, Currie is taking to the course playing against a strong field that includes South Africa’s Lee-Anne Pace and American Cheyenne Woods. Carrying her clubs is her brother Donovan (33).

Like the rest of her family, her brother is white. “They are my own family,” said Currie, who was adopted. “I have never noticed the difference. Everything is normal. We are just an average family.”

Though Currie has her eye on playing in the next Investec Cup, she is not in a rush to go professional. “Maybe in the next three to four years. I’ll take it slowly; all in good time.”

Meanwhile, she intends playing as much golf as possible. “I want to make myself tournament fit and be able to play 72 holes over four days.”

Currie said she likes to keep things simple when she plays. “But when I’m on the mat I think how honoured and privileged and blessed I am to play golf every day.”


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