Courtesy of Golf NZ:
Garvey transitions to professional game for US Women’s Open
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.
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 says it’s 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.
“It worked out perfectly with my last college tournament being the NCAA Championship this week and not really having too much planned until LPGA Q-School.
“Yes, it is a fairly quick transition, but 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 explains.
Although the 20-year-old’s amateur career is now in her rear vision mirror, she still looks back at it with a warm heart.
She highlights little things such as playing at Kaiapoi Golf Club on a Saturday where she learnt the game as a six-year-old, as well as being able to travel the world and forming lifelong bonds with her college teammates.
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.
“My goals are around my processes and how I stick to them,” Garvey says.
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.vThe 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 says.
Until then, Garvey will tidy up her game before she leaves for San Francisco on Saturday morning.
After the US Women’s Open, the new professional will continue to work on her game. Following her week at The Olympic Club, Garvey will play four women’s All Pro Tour events and one Cactus Tour event in preparation for the LPGA Qualifying School stages that begin in August and culminate in December.