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Nikki Garrett named Rookie of the Year

Nikki Garrett has been named Ryder Cup Wales Rookie of the Year for 2006 after a superb debut season on the Ladies European Tour.
The 22-year-old Australian from Shelly Beach in New South Wales was the leading first season player on the final 2006 New Star Money List, in 12th position with €99,445.05 in earnings.

Garrett became the fourth Australian to win the LET’s rookie honours following Webb (1995), Anne-Marie Knight (1996) and Rebecca Stevenson (2003).

She follows in the footsteps of current World number one Annika Sorenstam, (1993), the current European number one (Laura Davies) and The 2007 Solheim Cup Captain Helen Alfredsson (1989).

Garrett qualified for the Ladies European Tour at last year’s Tour School and had two tied third place finishes in her first year, in Wales and Norway. She had four top tens, including a tie for tenth in the Dubai Ladies Masters where she shot 66 in the final round.

“If I’d only two putted I would have shot 65 – my best ever round – but I was so nervous on the final green,” Garrett said.

“This season has been great, very exciting and a good learning experience for me. Now I’ve got to look at my putting and chipping; that part of the game that everyone has to work on.”
Garrett’s main rivals for the award were Spain’s Tania Elosegui, who finished joint 19th in Dubai after a disappointing final round of 76, and Sarah Kemp of Australia, who shot 74 and finished in a four-way tie for tenth place.

Elosegui, whose best result of the year was second in the Tenerife Ladies Open, finished 23rd on the New Star Money List with €74,893.15. Kemp, whose best finish of the season was second in the Catalonia Ladies Masters, finished 28th on the New Star Money List with €65,567.96.

“The standard is getting higher and higher each year and it shows. Rookies this year earned more than rookies last year, which is going to encourage more girls to turn professional,” reflected Garrett.

“Next year I want to win a tournament and get more top tens too. I didn’t come out here to be the rookie of the year; I came out here to test my game against the golf courses. I’ve proved to myself that I can play well and it’s an added bonus. It has capped off a great year.”

Garrett, who enjoys boxing and playing squash in her spare time, already has plans for her money. She is buying a house at Bateau Beach, near Shelly Beach, with her boyfriend Brian Rees. She also has goals for 2007, when she will be back on the Ladies European Tour.
She will tee off in the MFS Women’s Australian Open and the ANZ Ladies Masters in February, and said: “I would love to win in Australia in my home country and in front of the home crowds. That would be unreal.”

In the meantime, she will enjoy an Australian summer and is scheduled to play in some of the Australian Professional Golf Tour’s Club Car Series of events, prior to Christmas.

November 1, 2006


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