Big pay-day for rookie pro Karis Davidson in Australia

Melrose-born Karis Davidson. Picture: Getty
Melrose-born Karis Davidson. Picture: Getty
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Melrose-born Karis Davidson picked up more than £30,000 in her first Tour start as a professional after the 19-year-old finished second in the Oates Vic Open in Australia.

Davidson, who has lived in Queensland since her family emigrated from Innerleithen 10 years ago, looks to be a star in the making on the strength of her eye-catching performance in an event co-sanctioned by the LET and ALPG Tours.

She carded a best-of-the-day 67 in the third round at 13th Beach Golf Links near Melbourne and, despite facing the biggest test of career, backed that up with a closing 71.

Davidson finished with an eight-under-par 284 total, ending up as the closest challenger to Minjee Lee as the world No 20 claimed victory in the event for a second time, having previously won in 2014 as a a 17-year-old amateur.

It was a brilliant effort from Davidson, who only turned professional in December after earning fully playing rights for the Japan LPGA Tour.

“A bit crazy,” she replied to being told that she’d won around £32,000. “I played in a pro-am last week and won 300 AUD - it’s a big jump up to 58,000 AUD!”

Asked how she planned to spend the money, she added: “Keep it!” A true Scot then? “Well, It’s in my blood,” she continued.

Playing with home favourite Lee and another popular Australian, Hannah Green, in the final group, Davidson birdied the seventh and 15th in a bogey-free closing round.

She finished five shots behind Lee but Davidson pipped Georgia Hall, last year’s European No 1, for second spot and also finished ahead of the likes of Cheyenne Woods, Beth Allen and Mel Reid.

“I’m really happy,” she admitted. “It’s my first tournament so it’s a good start, I guess.

“I just tried to prepare myself as I knew there would be a lot of people watching obviously Minjee and Hannah is also popular out here.

“On a lot of shots I felt my heart going fast and it was a really good feeling.

“This is where I want to be. I did quite well in a couple of amateur competions and I guess that helped me keep calm today.

“It’s a great start but I’ve got to keep my feet on the ground. I’ve got a big year ahead. Next up for me is the Australian Open and I then head off to Japan just after that.”