The New Woods
The hottest player in the world with a last name of Woods is not one whose first name has stripes. She does however stripe fairways and is becoming a very fine player.
23 year old Cheyenne Woods won her first significant professional title today at the Australian Ladies Masters at the Royal Pines Resort in Queensland. The Australian Ladies Masters is co-sanctioned by both the LET (Ladies European Tour) and the Australian Ladies Professional Golf. Woods is in her second year on the LET after failing to qualify for the LPGA Tour last November.
Woods is the daughter of Earl Dennison Woods Jr., Tiger Woods’ half-brother and, just like her uncle her first coach was her grandfather, Earl (the first person to teach Tiger the game). Cheyenne however has always attempted to be her own person.
The weight of her last name has not always been an easy burden to carry, which she addressed in her post tournament press conference saying; “I’ve been pro for two years and, for the majority of it, people just think of me as Tiger Woods’ niece so now I have a game of my own and I have a title now, a win, which is exciting. It’s nice now to say to people that I can play and I’m not just a name. Growing up with the last name of Woods, there’s a lot of expectations and pressure and spotlight on you but I always knew that I was able to win. I always knew I’d be able to compete with these ladies so now it’s kind of a weight off my shoulders because now everybody knows not just me.”
Woods, 23, who led since the second round, played superb golf throughout the four day event. In Sunday’s final round she withstood a charge from 17-year-old Australian amateur sensation, Minjee Lee, who birdied the sixth, seventh and eighth holes to tie Woods for the lead. Woods would reclaim the lead with a birdie on the ninth hole and go on to record a two shot victory over Lee.
Also in the quality field were Australian legend Karrie Webb (who has won the Masters a record 8 times), Jessica Korda, (who won the LPGA season opener in the Bahamas two weeks ago), Caroline Hedwall, (the Solheim Cup star who helped the Europeans beat the Americans in Colorado last year) and former Rolex world No. 1 Yani Tseng.
Woods had a distinguished college career at Wake Forest University, where she was a two-time all American. She set numerous records in her four years at Wake Forest including having the lowest single-season scoring average (73.47) and the lowest career scoring average (74.31) in school-history. Woods completed more tournaments under-par than any other player in school-history and was also a three-time All-ACC honoree. Tiger’s niece turned pro in 2012 and won a SunCoast mini Tour event in that same year before playing the LET in 2013 where she would finish 78th on the money list.
Woods’ final round 4-under par 69 gave her a four day total of 16-under par and $51,000 in prize money. “I played really steady and I didn’t panic. I’m just really excited for whatever this leads me to.” said Woods. So too, should the world of golf.