Cheyenne Woods seized the lead in the second round of the 2014 Australian Volvik RACV Ladies Masters and never relinquished it, capping the tournament Sunday with a four-under 69 to earn her first professional victory on a major tour.
The 23-year-old niece of Tiger Woods outlasted another young and emerging talent in 17-year-old amateur Minjee Lee at Queensland's Royal Pines Resort, birdieing two of the final four holes to win by two strokes.
Being clutch down the stretch is something that must run in the family, along with dominance on par fives. According to an Associated Press report (via ABC News), Woods stiffed a wedge to four feet on the par-five 15th and made birdie, then matched Lee's birdie on the par-five 18th.
Woods expressed gratitude in the aftermath of her achievement:
Golf Channel's Kelly Tilghman reported some of what Woods had to say after her maiden win and how being related to arguably the best golfer of all time has served as somewhat of a chip on her shoulder:
"It's nice now to say to people that I can play and I'm not just a name" -Cheyenne Woods on her win at Australian Ladies Masters— Kelly Tilghman (@KellyTilghmanGC) February 9, 2014
Tiger expressed his appreciation for his niece's accomplishment on Twitter:
Way to go @Cheyenne_Woods ! A great win and accomplishment. I'm so proud of you.— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) February 9, 2014
Nike Golf was also proud of Woods for her breakthrough:
Her uncle is legendary for his competitiveness, so it makes sense that Woods uses at least some of that in her game to drive her to success. The former Wake Forest two-time All-American had 30 amateur victories and won a SunCoast Ladies Series mini-tour event at LPGA International in August 2012.
However, Woods did miss the final cut in LPGA qualifying school over the past two years, so this is a big win to bolster her status and give her some momentum at the beginning of 2014. Shane Bacon of Yahoo! Sports believes Woods has the potential to make a big splash on the LPGA someday and become a legitimate star:
Cheyenne Woods is going to be an absolute superstar. Might be the one to take LPGA to next level. Big win for her.— Shane Bacon (@shanebacon) February 9, 2014
Will Cheyenne Woods be an LPGA Tour star?
This is Woods' second season on the Ladies European Tour, which co-sanctioned the Australian Ladies Masters along with Australian Ladies Professional Golf, according to Golf Channel's Randall Mell.
Woods still has room to improve and figures to be a more prominent fixture on the other side of the pond. As intense as the scrutiny that comes with her family history already is, though, it will be interesting to see how she handles the increased spotlight moving forward.
Now that she has won a major tour event, Woods will have higher expectations from golf spectators and for herself as well. How Woods manages those will go a long way in determining just how much of her potential she can ultimately realize.