Golf Australia is pleased to confirm that National Squad/AIS team member and current Women’s Australian Amateur champion Kristie Smith is nominating to turn professional. The news comes after Smith was crowned women’s champion at the 106th North & South Amateur championship at Pinehurst, North Carolina, USA on Sunday. Smith s decision to turn professional has been helped by an invitation from former world number one Annika Sorenstam to compete in the Scandanavian TPC tournament, part of the Ladies European Tour on 7-10 August. Kristie Smith said, It is a very exciting step and I m looking forward to the new challenges that professional status will bring. I would like to thank Golf Australia and all my friends on the national squad, the coaching staff and Women’s Golf WA who have invested their time in me. It would not have happened without their support. Smith s first round as a professional at the Scandanavian TPC will also be her 20th birthday. Golf Australia Director- National Elite Development Peter Knight said, Kristie has had an outstanding year in 2008. Her performances both individually and as a member of our Australian teams over the past two years point to a very promising professional career. Knight continued, I wish her well and acknowledge the gratitude she has shown to the support we have been able to provide through the AIS and Golf Australia. Kristie s father and former professional Wayne Smith said he is confident his daughter is ready for the demands of a professional golfing life. Mr Smith said, She’s ready for this now. Her Australian performances have been very good, she is the amateur champion in Australia and she’s had a really solid year so far. She ll be playing a lot more golf – perhaps double her amateur schedule – so it will just be a matter of ensuring she doesn’t exhaust herself physically and mentally. 2008 has been a stellar year for Smith, being the leading amateur at the Women’s NSW Open, Women’s Australian Open and the ANZ Ladies Masters. She was also a member of the Australia s winning Ashes team and a member of the Australian Queen Sirikit Cup team.