Sue Wooster will defend her title at the Australian Women’s Senior Amateur Championship at Nelson Bay Golf Club at Port Stephens in northern New South Wales this week with no major expectations.
Wooster, 57, from The National, has had a superb last two years in which she has twice reached the final of the US Senior Amateur only to fall just short.
But Wooster, who won her first Australian title at Sandy Creek in South Australia last year, said she had been taking a break since returning from North America, and anticipating another grandchild (due soon), her seventh. “I’m off to Sydney tomorrow,” she said. “So I’ll probably have another one when I get back.”
She will go to Port Stephens fresh and hungry for more success.
“I haven’t been thinking about golf too much,” she said today. “Since we got back from the States at the end of last month we’ve been building a house, flat out getting that organised, so I haven’t had much golf. It’ll be nice to get away and get my head back into golf again.
“It doesn’t hurt to have a break sometimes. You can overdo it. You only need to do what you need to do. If you feel like practising, you can keep doing it for hours and you can be a bit brain-dead sometimes.”
Wooster was runner-up at the US senior am in 2018 and then lost the final to Lara Tennant 3 and 2 this year at Cedar Rapids in Iowa. While it was a devastating result for her, it continues to drive her forward.
“When I went over there in my early 50s I wasn’t good enough to win it,” she said. “It was a big goal of mine to try to win that. It gave me something to work towards, improving my game in different areas. I feel like I’m winning now. I got there. Sometimes it’s hard to pull it off when your opponent’s playing well and you make a couple of errors on one of those courses that’s set up difficult. That’s all you need to do; a couple of errors, a couple of missed putts, fairways missed and you lose the match.”
For Wooster, it is all about the quest for self-improvement. “My game gets better all the time, because I want to keep learning,” she said. “It’s more stimulating that way. I feel like when I think ‘I can’t get any better’ I lose a bit of interest, then I get a tip from someone and I think ‘yeah, I might try that’. I like to be always working towards something. It sounds a bit weird.”
A field of 125 players – including a big contingent of 39 flying in from Perth – will contest this year’s titles at Port Stephens, with the 36 holes of stroke play beginning on Monday. The top 16 will graduate to the matchplay phase, with the final on Friday.
One player chasing her first title in the senior ranks is Louise Mullard from New South Wales, winner of both the Australian and New Zealand Mid-Amateur titles in the past two years. The Kiwis have a strong challenge including Robyn Boniface, Robyn Pullar and Brigit Holford.
Two-time national champion Jacqui Morgan from NSW is sure to be in contention also.
This championship is the final event on the senior women’s order of merit for 2019, with the most points up for grabs. Helen Pascoe leads the OOM from Morgan and Sharon Dawson.
As for Wooster, it's about the process. "I try not to go in with expectations. Golf's too unpredictable for that," she said.
Tee times, starting list here