Tiger's niece looking to add to Woods legacy

FRED WOODCOCK
Last updated 14:15 07/02/2013
Cheyenne Woods
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KEEN INTEREST: Cheyenne Woods – the niece of Tiger – will be a drawcard at next month's women’s New Zealand Open in Christchurch.

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Cheyenne Woods has the name and Christchurch golf fans have a chance to see whether she also has the game at the New Zealand Women's Open, starting tomorrow.

The niece of Tiger Woods, Cheyenne is approaching the end of her first year as a professional golfer and conditional status on the European Tour has brought the 22-year-old Wake Forest University graduate Down Under for the first time.

She was tied for 33rd at last week's Australian Ladies Masters, and tees it up in the first round of the New Zealand Open at Clearwater early tomorrow morning, alongside former champions Kristie Smith and Gwladys Nocera in the 54-hole event.

"I played (Clearwater) play first time yesterday and I love the layout. It's a really fun course, it's going to be challenging and it really makes you think about each shot."

Woods, who is travelling alone, has had some travel issues in her rookie season. She lost her passport so arrived in Australia two days late, and she missed her original flight from the Gold Coast to Christchurch.

But now that she is here, she's enjoying New Zealand.

"I knew about the rugby and the dance that they do before they play, but that's really all I knew about New Zealand," she said.

"But I love it. The weather is awesome, though it's a little bit chilly for me. It's very laid back, I thought it would be more like a city, but I really like it."

Woods has had a few starts on the LPGA Tour since turning pro in May last year, but she missed out at the first stage qualifying school late last year, attempting to earn fulltime status.

"It was a huge disappointment not making through first stage," she said.

"I didn't even think that would be a problem. It took a while for me to get back into it, but I did realise there are a lot of other opportunities so I did reach out and go to European Tour.

"Now I'm out here travelling the world for the first time in my life, and it's been really fun. It's overwhelming."

Woods has conditional status on the European Tour. Her ultimate aim is to play fulltime on the LPGA Tour and tournaments such as the New Zealand Open will help prepare her.

"I've been able to play a few LPGA Tour events so far and the competition out here this week is just as good," the native of Phoenix, Arizona, said.

"There are a lot of girls from Europe and the local New Zealand and Australians. It's great competition.

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"I'll be playing the majority on the European Tour this year. When home, try and get a few exemptions and Monday qualify for a few events."

She admits being Tiger's niece adds "a little bit" of pressure each time she plays, but she embraces that.

"Of course having the last name Woods, people are always going to be looking for me on the leaderboard.

"Having Tiger be one of the most well-known sportspeople in the world is something I've grown up with so it's not new to me."

- © Fairfax NZ News

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