Covid-19 may have cruelled her French Open hopes but it has done wonders for Ashleigh Barty’s golf game. Not content with being queen of the tennis court and a former cricket pro, Barty is now also officially the Brookwater Golf Club women’s champion.
With a swing that has even had Tiger Woods gushing, the sporting super talent claimed the trophy with a commanding seven and five triumph in the match play final. She qualified as top seed for the last-eight of the match-play component with rounds of 77 and 80 on the par-72 course, and also won her semi-final with five holes to play.
Barty’s latest success story – she also played for the Brisbane Heat in the WBBL before her return to tennis in 2016 – comes a week before the 24-year-old was due to defend her grand slam crown in Paris. But the Queenslander opted out of Roland Garros, as well as this month’s US Open, citing ongoing coronavirus concerns.
The world No 1 cannot be accused for laying idle during the pandemic, having slashed her handicap from 10 to four while enjoying rounds with two-time men’s champion Pat Rafter and her boyfriend Garry Kissick. Kissick is a PGA trainee professional at Brookwater and first met Barty when she popped into the pro shop before a round four years ago.
Golf is in Barty’s blood, with her father Robert once representing Australia as an amateur. Her form even captured Woods’ attention before last year’s Presidents Cup in Melbourne.
“She’s got a great swing, are you kidding me?” the 15-times major winner said after watching Barty show off her skills on the banks of the Yarra River by striking a wedge to a small makeshift green on the water.