Date: January 31, 2007
Author: Luke Buttigieg

Wright expects big things

By Luke Buttigieg Lindsey Wright has predicted that Australia&aposs female golfers will enjoy similar success to their male counterparts in the United States within the next five to 10 years. Speaking ahead of this week&aposs MFS Women&aposs Australian Open at Royal Sydney, the 27-year-old from Albury presented a strong case for why she believes Australian ladies golf is on the cusp on a sustained period of achievement. “It&aposs just a different stage in golf and I think it&aposs really exciting,” Wright said of the improvement in the women&aposs game in recent years. “I definitely think we&aposll see a lot more winners.” “Men&aposs golf is so much deeper, so it&aposs hard to compare I think. Women&aposs golf is a younger sport compared to the men. In 10 years&apos time, I think we&aposll be where the men are now, or even shorter time, five to 10 years&apos time, definitely.” Wright finished 45th on the money list during her maiden LPGA Tour season in the United States in 2006, with her best result a tie for sixth at the Canadian Women&aposs Open, having graduated from three seasons on the secondary Futures Tour that produced four victories. And having grown up with the Jack Newton Golf Junior Foundation and then also spent time at the Australian Institute of Sport, Wright says the game has come on in great leaps and bounds in recent years. “We all grew up in the Jack Newton Junior Golf Foundation, which for me was one of the reasons I&aposm a pro now, like the opportunity to compete, and I think that&aposs why Australian golf is so great,” Wright said. “I think the tournaments have gotten better and they&aposve allowed us to prepare better. The course yardages, it&aposs so much more advanced and the way we&aposre treated, we&aposre treated like professionals.” “It&aposs kind of gone out of that amateur golf mentality, it&aposs sport, this is what we do for a profession. I think that&aposs been a big impact on how we are getting better. The courses are set up a lot better and the players are really stepping up to the plate.” Pleased with her 2006 season, having learned to deal with opponents who try to intimidate the younger players and also the lack of social events that were a feature of the Futures Tour, Wright is looking forward to a return to the USA this year. She also says her back-nine stumble at the British Open – when she went from being inside the top 10 to dropping right out of contention coming home – will benefit her in the long run. “The wheels fell off, everything happened, it was really bad,” she added. “I think I had seven or eight-over. It wasn&apost very good.” “But it was a good experience because in the practice rounds I didn&apost really play the back nine as much as I should and I didn&apost really plan how I was going to play and under pressure the wheels fell off and it showed definitely.” Unfazed by the focus on the glamour side of the game leading up to the tournament at Royal Sydney, because as her mum has always told her &aposIf you&aposve got it, flaunt it&apos, Wright was also delighted by world No.3 Karrie Webb&aposs return to form last year. “Karrie&aposs always been kind of winning the race and everyone&aposs kind of been chasing behind,” she said. “I think it&aposs great for Australian golf what she achieved last year, having had a few, in her books, not great years.” “It was just fantastic when she won Nabisco and obviously done well at winning Evian I think and a few other events, so she&aposs put Australia back on the map.” After three top-five finishes on the 2006 ALPG Tour in her homeland, which left her sixth overall on the money list, the well-spoken Wright will be looking to make her mark on the game in Australia this week at Royal Sydney.