As Bryson DeChambeau claimed the mantle of U.S. Open champion for the first time on Sunday, another golfer might be on the rise in her own way.
Ashleigh Barty, at just 24 years of age, is the top-ranked women’s tennis player in the world in singles and is a former professional cricketer. She is also the women’s champion at Australia’s Brookwater Golf Club.
Barty clinched the title with a dominant 7-and-5 victory in the match-play final. The world no. 1 tennis star was in command throughout the tournament, qualifying as the top seed for the match play portion of the championship. She also won her semifinal match on the par-72 course with five holes to spare.
“It’s not a big deal,” Barty said humbly in an interview with the Australian Associated Press.
Big deal or not, Tiger Woods is impressed.
“She’s got a great swing, are you kidding me?” said the future Hall of Famer, who has 110 professional wins to his name. Barty’s skills first captured Woods’ attention in Melbourne before last year’s Presidents Cup.
Although most know her for her tennis achievements, golf has always been part of Barty’s life. Her father, Robert, once played for Australia at the amateur level. Her boyfriend, Garry Kissick, is a PGA trainee professional. Kissick, along with former Australian tennis star Pat Rafter, helped Barty cut her handicap down from 10 to four during the last few months.
Tennis will no doubt remain the focus of Barty’s athletic life going forward, although the Aussie phenom will not be defending her French Open title this year. Men’s club champion Louis Dobblelaar, however, is confident that Barty could make waves as a professional golfer as well.
“She’s got all the tools if she wants to pursue it. If she put her mind to it, I’m sure she could,” Dobblelaar, a two-time Queensland amateur champion, told the AAP. “I’ve seen quite a lot of golfers come from different sports and she’s the one that stands out the most – by far actually.
“Her ball-striking’s really good. She just gets that naturally from tennis, the hand-eye stuff.”