Courtesy of NZ Golf
Amelia Garvey is finally teeing it up in her first major championship as she joins Lydia Ko in the US Women’s Open field.
Like Ko, Garvey aspires of winning “majors and medals” and has already had numerous close calls with playing in major championships in her young amateur career, particularly with the US Women’s Open.
She’s now received an exemption into the final major of the year which will be played at Champions Golf Club from December 11 – 14.
The 20-year-old originally missed out on an invite by a single spot in the World Amateur Golf Rankings. As the US Women’s Open qualifiers were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the top-20 amateurs in the world received a special invitation into the field. She was ranked 21st at the cut-off date but would have still been invited to play if anyone ahead of her was already exempt.
The cut-off date to confirm an entry was last week.
Garvey has spent the better part of eight months waiting for the phone call to say she had made the field from her home in Christchurch. She came back to New Zealand from America where she attends college due to the Covid-19 back in March.
She says it was an exciting phone call to get. “It feels unreal. “The last couple of months have been really nerve racking as I’ve been on the bubble to sneak into the field on an exemption. It’s been a nervous wait but I’m so glad that I’ve been able to sneak my way in,” she says.
Garvey who attends the University of Southern California has been on the cusp of playing in a major championship for some time, and each time she’s pulled up just short.
Last year, she was six-under par after 36-holes of qualifying for the US Women’s Open and missed her spot in the field by a single stroke.
She also came runner-up at the 2019 Women’s Amateur Championship where a victory would have earned her a spot in the AIG Women’s Open, The US Women’s Open, and The Evian Championship.
Garvey says it’s a special feeling having one on her tournament schedule at last. “I basically finished in 21st when they had made the cut off date which was gut-wrenching. To miss out on a place in a major by a spot again would not have been fun. “This has been a goal of mine for a little while. I’ve had a few close calls where I’ve missed out on invites to a few majors so it’s really nice to finally have one on the schedule and I’m looking forward to it for sure,” Garvey says.
Although she’s light on tournament golf, Garvey expects her game will sharp and ready to go by the time she’s called to the first tee.
The Cantabrian has been honing her game at home in preparation for December since she arrived back in New Zealand in March.
She says despite having limited tournament golf this year, there are still plenty of ways she can prepare. “I sat down with my whole team and looked at the time I had in New Zealand and we said that even though we don’t have competitions I can still use this time to prepare for my future ahead and making the most of what we have in New Zealand. “I’m excited that my first major is going to be my first tournament back as we get back into the swing of things. “I want to play in these events, but I also want to be winning them as well. I’m not just after invites or be a field-filler, I want to make a statement and really compete with these girls,” Garvey says.
Until then, she needs to navigate her way through her final exams next week and complete her communications major.
In preparation she’ll fly across the ditch to spend some time with 3D bio mechanist Ryan Lumsden in Adelaide before heading back over the The States.
After the US Open, she will graduate in May and golf will once again be her main focus as she looks to turn professional at the end of 2021.
The last New Zealander to play in a major championship alongside Ko was Liv Cheng in 2016.
Amelia was down to play for Canterbury at the upcoming NZ Women's Interprovincial and would've have played a strong hand in Canterbury's chances of winning the title.