Sylvie keeps game on right side of ledger

16:00, Jan 22 2013

When Canterbury No 1 Sylvie Williams left school two years ago, she didn't think her golf was up to the rigours of the United States collegiate scene.

She went to Lincoln University, started a bachelor of commerce and kept working on her golf. Two years on and the now 20-year-old is playing fantastic golf.

She flicked her CV to a number of US colleges and was snapped up immediately.

From August this year, Williams (Waimairi Beach) will be part of the Eastern Michigan University women's golf squad.

"I got an email back from Eastern Michigan coach Sandra Wagner straight away saying she'd love to have me," Williams said.

"She'd had another Kiwi, Robyn Scott from Auckland, there a couple of years ago and said she loved the New Zealand work ethic."


Williams will be one of nine players on the EMich squad and with just five golfers representing the school at each tournament, expects competition for places to be fierce.

Another benefit of playing in the United States' northeast is the travel.

With plenty of snow around Williams' new school, her golf team spend plenty of time on the road. Last year they went to Hawaii, Arkansas and Texas on various golfing trips.

Williams will continue her major in accounting, but could add another degree too, she said.

Having already studied in New Zealand for two years, and not heading Stateside until August, she will only be allowed to play college golf for another 2 years because of strict eligibility rules.

That will still be plenty of time to work on her golf, however, and all things going to plan, she will have a shot at making the women's Futures Tour, the second-tier to the LPGA, following in Scott's footsteps.

Williams said her goal was to be an accountant who played golf.

"But who knows, I don't know how much better my golf might get and if an opportunity comes up then we'll see what happens," she said.

Next up for Williams is this weekend's Canterbury strokeplay event at Clearwater.

She should be one of the favourites, but was quick to point out she hasn't played since the women's interprovincials in the middle of December.

Otago No 1 Laura Hoskin is in the field and will push the top Canterbury players, as will Aorangi-South Canterbury's 1 and 2 Catherine Bell and Catherine Knight in the 54-hole tournament.

- Russley's Owen Burgess will defend his title at the Canterbury men's 72-hole strokeplay tournament this weekend, also at Clearwater.

Burgess won the event at Harewood's Woodlands course last year, but will have plenty of tough competition in the men's field. Canterbury No 1 Jordan Bakermans will one of the favourites, Nic Kay and Jason Yoo are likely to feature and Oscar Cadenhead and Connell Kilpatrick are both young players in form. Cadenhead beat Kilpatrick on the first playoff hole to win the Canterbury under-19 strokeplay title at Harewood on Sunday.

- Another Canterbury golfer who plies his trade on the collegiate scene made a successful and spectacular return over summer. Former Canterbury No 1 Keelan Kilpatrick, who plays in the US for Berkeley University, played four rounds on his recent return including the Waitikiri Open.

But his most successful was a course record 60 at Hanmer Springs on December 27. Kilpatrick's 31-29, eight-under round, which included eight birdies and 10 pars, broke the previous mark of six-under 62 held jointly by John Fitzgerald (Kaiapoi), Paul Bailey (Coringa), Stephen Chambers (Hanmer Springs) and Richard Anderson (Waimairi Beach/Hanmer Springs).

- Jason Yoo returned home from the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney with a bronze medals for his trouble. The Waitikiri teenager and the New Zealand team started the final round in fourth place, but finished strongly to make the podium.

- A wise golfer once said: "Everyone replaces his divot after a perfect approach shot." And "You can put "draw" on the ball, you can put "fade" on the ball, but no golfer can put "straight" on the ball."

The Press