Tiger Woods’ niece stepped out of her superstar uncle’s shadow on Sunday by winning the biggest tournament of her career at the Australian Ladies Masters.
Cheyenne Woods, who is the daughter of Tiger’s half-brother Earl Dennison Woods, held off a strong challenge by Australian amateur Minjee Lee (278) to card a final-round four-under-par 69 and complete a 16-under 276 total for victory.
While Woods, 23, won a minor event early in her professional career in the United States, Sunday’s victory on the Ladies European Tour at Royal Pines on the Gold Coast was easily her most significant so far.
The American, whose grandfather Earl Woods — Tiger’s father — was her first coach, was rock-solid throughout her final round, firing five birdies and just one bogey, and she choked back tears during her victory speech.
“This is a huge accomplishment for me,” said the world number 363, adding that she hopes her breakthrough will move the conversation beyond merely her surname.
“I’ve been pro for two years and, for the majority of it, people just think of me as Tiger Woods’ niece so now I have a game of my own and I have a title now, a win, which is exciting,” she said.
“It’s nice now to say to people that I can play and I’m not just a name. Growing up with the last name of Woods, there’s a lot of expectations and pressure and spotlight on you but I always knew that I was able to win.
“I always knew I’d be able to compete with these ladies so now it’s kind of a weight off my shoulders because now everybody knows not just me.”
The win earned her a two-year exemption into Ladies European Tour events.
A victory in next week’s US LPGA-sanctioned Australian Open would also earn her exemption into that tour.
Copyright (2014) AFP. All rights reserved.
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