Australian amateur Kirsten Rudgeley is delighted to be back travelling this summer to progress her golf career, but she had no idea her journey would reach the AIG Women’s Open.
With Covid-19 restrictions easing, the Perth golfer flew across to the UK to tee up in a run of events as well as catching up with her grandfather in England, now aged 102.
The 20-year-old has certainly enjoyed a successful trip over the past six weeks, claiming the English Women’s Amateur title at Moortown and the Helen Holm Scottish Women’s Open at Royal Troon.
Given her form, Rudgeley took the chance to head to Panmure for AIG Women’s Open Final Qualifying, where she comfortably finished in the top 15 to join this week’s star-studded field.
Now Carnoustie awaits, starting in the second group at 6:41am on Thursday, and Rudgeley said: “It will be an awesome experience to play at Carnoustie. I was pretty nervous for the qualifying at Panmure, knowing there were 15 spots available.
“The way I’ve been playing I felt confident and it was good to do it. I know Hannah Green and Minjee Lee playing in the Championship this week as well.
“I’ve walked a few holes at Carnoustie before, as when I was at a previous amateur event in Scotland we had a stroll over the links.”
With seven other Australian players in the field, Rudgeley is hoping her experience of links golf at Royal Troon could benefit her. With her World Amateur Golf Ranking improving by over 100 spots this summer to 79th, she is keen to enjoy her UK trip yet further.
Rudgeley said: “I had my Royal Troon jumper on at Panmure, my mum bought it for me after my win there in the Helen Holm. I always try and get something from where I’ve been.
“I’ve done pretty well in the events and it’s been nice to travel from Australia and be competitive again.”
On seeing family, she added: “My granddad, Alf, is 102 and he lives in Southend. It was nice to see him and come over and play a bunch of tournaments.
“I was born in London, but we left when I was about four. I don’t really sound English at all! I’ve lived my life over there, growing up in Perth.”