In-form Steph Kyriacou is feeling right at home as she bids to parlay her promising progress into a maiden major championship at the prestigious Women’s British Open in Surrey.
Kyriacou is among six Australians teeing up at the final women’s golf major of the year at the famed Walton Heath club that once boasted Winston Churchill amongst its members.
More significantly to Kyriacou, the challenging bunker-filled layout reminds the gifted 22-year-old of growing up tackling windswept St Michael’s in Sydney.
“I do like the links style. This is kind of parkland but it reminds me of home and I’m prepared for the wind and stuff,” Kyriacou told AAP ahead of Thursday’s opening round.
“I always look forward to the events in the UK and I’m definitely in a better place this year than where I was last year.
“I’m just going to try to do the things I’ve been doing. Hopefully it all comes together this week.”
Kyriacou’s Open credentials are unquestionable.
She led during the first round on debut at Royal Troon in 2020, shared 13th at Carnoustie in 2021 and earned her fourth start this week with a tie for seventh last year at Muirfield.
And with four top-15 finishes from her past seven starts plus a tie for 16th at last month’s Evian Championship, the season’s fourth major, Kyriacou continues to knock on the door of a breakthrough LPGA Tour victory.
She featured in the final group of last month’s Dana Open in Ohio before finishing fourth, and flashed home with a final-round six-under-par 66 to share 13th at the Scottish Open on Sunday.
No wonder the former junior prodigy feels ready to contend for one of the biggest prizes in women’s golf.
“I definitely feel good about my game and I’m doing a lot of good things,” Kyriacou said.
“There’s still a lot I can get better at but something could click this week or next week or whenever. I believe I have the skill to win on this tour.
“It’s just a matter of time.”
Recognising Walton Health as particularly penal, Kyriacou is predicting tough going this week.
But for a player who makes more birdies than most, she doesn’t mind that.
“Here, off the tee is very important because if you miss it left or right, it’s just bush. It’s pretty much a penalty shot. You just have to whack it out,” Kyriacou said.
“Same with the bunkers, they’re like penalties.
“Even par or one under is definitely not a bad score this week.
“I’m pretty good at being patient and you need that out here because if you stress out about not making birdies it’s just going to make it turn to s**t.”
With five top 10s at the Open, including a third, fifth and fourth in her past three starts, world No.10 Minjee Lee is again spearheading the Australian assault.
Lee arrived in Surrey on the back of a joint-13th with Kyriacou at the Scottish Open, where Sarah Kemp finished ninth in a timely pre-Open confidence booster.
Hannah Green and Grace Kim, both winners already this year on the LPGA Tour, and successful qualifier Kelsey Bennett are the other Australians in the field.