The extraordinary exemption: Kay makes PGA Tour history
COOLANGATTA and Tweed Heads Golf Club member Becky Kay will be the first woman to ever play in a professional male tournament in Queensland after winning a starting spot at next week's Queensland Open.
Kay, Australia's 19-year-old number-one ranked amateur from Palm Beach, shot a clutch 2-under off the back tees at Brisbane Golf Club to claim her spot in the Australasian PGA Tour event.
GOLF PRODIGY: Becky Kay is swinging for the fences
The 2-under round, which won her a tournament exemption alongside Sanctuary Cove's Mitchell Varley, was a play-off between the very best amateur golfers in the state, both male and female.
The achievement caps off a remarkable year for Kay, who finished sixth at the Amateur Golf World Cup and reeled off three straight amateur wins at the Riversdale Cup and the Queensland and Western Australian state championships.
It's a form-line that has her ready for the hype she will undoubtedly face heading into the tournament teeing-off at Brisbane Golf Club next Friday.
"It hasn't sunk in yet,” Kay said.
"I'm super nervous, but equally excited to see what I can do.”
Kay says her tournament goal is to make the cut. It might sound like a simple mentality, but if she is to succeed, the ex-Palm Beach/Currumbin High School student will be first female to ever make the cut in an Australasian PGA tour event.
"Making the cut would be huge,” said Kay, who has only ever played off the back (men's tees) on the course once.
"I'm keen to tee-off with the men who hit it 80 metres passed me...it'll be interesting to see how I go. I don't really know how I'm going to measure up.”
Although she'll be handicapped off the tee, Kay will rely on her precision at short range to gain strokes on the 132-player field and do what no woman has ever done before.
"I will be playing more conservative for sure.”
"I'll be further back than all the guys so it will be tough, so my short game better be firing.”
Whether or not she can get rolling, we'll have to wait and see. But what we know for sure is the teenager is not shy of the big stage.
At just the age of 16, Kay flagged her future stardom at the 2015 Australian Ladies Masters, where she chipped in for eagle on 18 to finish the low amateur.
Kay says, despite all the pomp and ceremony the next week is sure to bring and that her historic achievement deserves, the tournament will be another chance to learn about her own game.
"Being able to challenge myself to a higher level is the main thing,” she said.
"This will be an experience of its own. No matter what happens I think I'm going have so much fun with it.”