MEETING A GOLFING SUPERSTAR PURELY BY CHANCE

A few weeks go I was visiting Bunbury in Western Australia to catch up with family and volunteered to umpire alongside my grandson Tyne, a senior women’s club cricket match which also featured my daughter Rochelle in the Leschenault team playing against Colts.

Afterwards I enjoyed a beer with the players and was chatting to the Colts captain. One of the Lescenault ladies pointed out to me that I was talking to a legend. Of course I asked the lady I was talking to how come she was a legend. She said very humbly, “I played a bit of golf.”

Played a bit of golf. Seventeen years on the world’s toughest professional circuits, that’s way more than a bit of golf and as well as her seven tournament victories she finished third in the US Open. Turned out I was talking to one of Australia’s top women golfers during her playing career, Shani Waugh.

So of course I organised an interview and below is an introduction with our video interview following with this awesome lady who is loving her new sporting endeavour of cricket.

SHANI WAUGH - FROM CHAMPION GOLFER TO CLUB CRICKETER

Bunbury golfing superstar Shani Waugh was once in contention to win one of the world’s most prestigious golf titles, the US Open.

She turned professional in 1991 and in 2002 went toe to toe with eventual tournament winner and friend Julie Inkster from the USA and the world number one at the time Annika Sorenstam. Shani played well and was in title winning contention throughout the tournament but Inkster held her nerve to win with Sorenstam close behind and Shani third and $200,000 richer.

“Shani is one of my favourite golf professionals. One who has a genuine passion for junior golf and as a tour player enjoyed the opportunity to play this incredible game at the highest level."

VICTORY-Shani  Waugh shows off the trophy she won taking out the WPGA championship of Wales in 2003

Recalling that outstanding performance, Shani said the biggest shock was looking up at the leaderboard at the finish and seeing that she had won $200,000. “I thought oh my god, what am I going to do with all that money.”

While money was necessary to survive in the tough and demanding professional golf world, Shani said it was never a motivating factor when she was out playing the golf course, although of course when it came to balancing the books it certainly was important.

Shani played very much in the shadows of two other great Aussie golfers, Karrie Webb and Rachel Hetherington but was a fine player in her own right good enough to play on the toughest women’s tour in the world and represent Australia.

As well as playing the US tour, the Bunbury ace played extensively the European tour and the Australian LPGA. She scored three of her victories in Europe including the Welsh Open, sinking a magnificent 74ft putt on the last green to take out the title from home town star Becky Brewerton.

She won the Thailand ladies open in a play-off and in 1997 represented the ladies European tour and at the Women’s World Cup of golf in South Africa representing Australia alongside team-mate Rachel Hetherington.

MINI ME-Shani and daughter Alex

Coaching is also a passion of Shani’s and she has her own coaching business developing young golfers and teaching them how to deal with the pressures she faced.

However as well as golf coaching, another sport has now become her sporting passion. Shani, mother of 12 year-old daughter Alex, now plays cricket for the Colts club, captaining the women’s team and playing as a batter who also loves fielding. 

In fact Shani reckons she’s fallen in love with cricket more than she did with golf, possibly she said because there isn’t any pressure on her to perform in cricket.

No pressure maybe, but you can see the competitiveness is still there and she’s already one of teams top batters.

Story by John Alexander | Supporting Images sourced by Absolutely Famous.

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