Date: January 31, 2007
Author: Luke Buttigieg

Garrett ready for Open test

By Luke Buttigieg Local Nikki Garrett believes she is as prepared as she can be for this week&aposs MFS Women&aposs Australian Open at Royal Sydney, having played the course in very different conditions on Tuesday and Wednesday. The 23-year-old, who was last year honoured with the Rookie of the Year crown on the Ladies European Tour, played in benign weather on Tuesday before being confronted by much tougher conditions when she returned early on Wednesday. And she says she is looking forward to the challenge of playing the &aposbeautiful but tough&apos course. “It&aposs tough, you&aposve got to really concentrate out there and think your way around as well,” she said on Wednesday. “You can&apost just get up there and say &aposI&aposll hit it down there&apos because it&aposs not going to happen. It&aposs a really challenging course.” “I haven&apost even thought about numbers, I think it all depends on the weather as well. If we get a strong wind I played at 7:00 this morning and it was blowing a gale.” “I think on the third hole yesterday for instance I hit a six-iron through the green, today I hit a five-wood short so I think it&aposs going to depend on the weather for how good the numbers get.” “It&aposs different today to what it was yesterday, the wind changed around so today we got the back nine down wind whereas yesterday it was into the wind so at least we&aposve seen the course both ways so it&aposs going to be a good challenge.” Having exceeded her own expectations with her European debut, with a couple of third placings at the SAS Masters and the Wales Ladies Championship as she finished 12th on the Order of Merit, Garrett says it was &apospretty much business&apos during the season. Garrett didn&apost get too many chances to see Europe other than where she played, with a spell as a tourist in Rome one of her rare trips away from the course, but she also enjoyed spending time with her fellow players, both Australian and European. “In Europe a lot of the Australians catch up for a dinner now and again and we have a couple of drinks or whatever,” she said. “And even just not Australians, it&aposs very easy to get along with European girls so there&aposs a lot of friendships made very easily.” “They&aposre lovely, I&aposve always heard that Europe&aposs actually the friendly Tour and going over this year I could probably agree with that. They&aposre very welcoming and they just make you feel welcome.” With thoughts about possibly heading to the LPGA Tour School later this year, because her &aposultimate&apos goal has always been to play in the United States, Garrett is nonetheless in no hurry to leave Europe behind any time soon. “I&aposm just going to see how I go in Europe, I like it over there, it&aposs nice, it&aposs very difficult conditions week in, week out,” Garrett said. “I love playing in the wind as well, being from the coast where I am, and I just always wanted to go through Europe first and play there.” “I&aposve just always believed that if you can play good golf in Europe then you can play good golf anywhere and that&aposs just the way I&aposve always thought so I wanted to definitely give Europe a go first and see how my game went over there.” Fresh from playing in the Women&aposs World Cup of Golf in South Africa a fortnight ago with compatriot Lindsey Wright, and having been mentored during trips to the USA as a junior by Jan Stephenson, Garrett is still looking for her first win as a professional. In 2006 she finished second at the Bing Lee LG Oatlands Trophy, losing in a playoff to Western Australian Jane Leary, so the native of Shelly Beach in New South Wales would dearly love for her maiden pro win to be at Royal Sydney this week.