Introducing GolfRSA Elite Squad player Kaiyuree Moodley
In early April, Kaiyuree Moodley threw her name in the hat of prime contenders for this year’s Sanlam South African Women’s Stroke Play Championship when she scored a come-from-behind victory in the prestigious Nomads SA Girls Rose Bowl Championship.
Moodley has been on the women’s amateur golf radar ever since she won the US Kids European Championship Age 12 division, but the breakthrough performance at Royal Durban Golf Club put the GolfRSA Elite Squad player squarely in the spotlight.
We chatted to Kaiyuree before she teed it up in Sanlam’s first premier championship of the season to find out more about the girl behind the powerful swing.
27 April 2001 in Durban
Bryanston Country Club
2017 SA Girls Rose Bowl Champion
2015 US Kids World Teen Championships, Pinehurst, USA (6th)
2014 B Division SA Girls Rose Bowl Champion
2014 B Division SA u18 Champion – Orkney
2013 Girls (12 years) US Kids European Champion
2010 to 2015 – Top 5 finishes US Kids European Champs (Scotland)
Represented Gauteng at IPT 2015 and 2016
Represented Gauteng at 72-Hole Team Tournament 2016
TELL US FIVE THINGS ABOUT YOURSELF THAT MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW
I play Rock and Pop drums and I’m gearing up for my Grade 3 Trinity exams in May! Yikes!
I used to play the piano until my mum got tired of begging me to practice
I listen to music ALL THE TIME, even when I’m in the shower
When I was five, I won a Spiderman look-a-like competition
I have my half colours for Public Speaking and I am working on becoming a mean debater
STILL ON MY BUCKET LIST
Play Carnoustie Golf Course
Learn how to do a backflip
Be invited to the Masters
TELL US ABOUT THE START OF YOUR GOLFING CAREER
I was three when I started golf with a set of one of those plastic Pick ‘n Pay bargain bin golf clubs. I was so attached to those clubs, I even slept with them!
A year later we relocated from Durban to Johannesburg and my parents took me to the World of Golf in Woodmead to see if I really did have any talent. That was the last free weekend of my life! I played my first official nine holes tournament when I was five at Eagle Canyon. I shot 59 and won.
DO YOU SET YOURSELF GOALS AND WHAT DID YOU HOPE FOR IN 2017?
Absolutely! Goals keep me focussed!
My goals for 2017 include achieving the top 5 in the Junior Rankings, the top 15 in the Senior Rankings and finishing in the top five in every tournament I play. I’m also aiming for at least four academic awards. Lots of work, but I’m ready for the challenge.
WHO ARE YOUR ROLE MODELS AND WHY?
My role model is Papwa Sewgolum. He started off as a caddy who later turned professional during the apartheid era. Papwa won the Dutch Open and a string of other titles including beating Gary Player in the Natal Open. Because of the laws at the time, he received his award in the rain outside the club. I was born on Freedom Day, the 27th of April, and Papwa has taught me that any opportunity is a gift.
STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESS OF YOUR GAME?
Strengths – my driving accuracy and short game. I’m working on tighter grouping of my approach shots.
WHAT ARE YOUR BEST AND WORST TRAVEL EXPERIENCES?
The best was when my entire family travelled to the US to support me at the World Teen Championships 2015.
Worst? When I was initiated TWICE at my first 72-hole team tournament. My team-mates thought it was great fun to make me eat with a wooden fork, drink out of a shot glass and crawl out of the restaurant AND airport roaring like a Gauteng Lion! They called it “making memories.” I called it “lunacy.”
TOURNAMENT OR MAJOR YOU WOULD MOST LIKE TO WIN?
SA Women’s Open and a LPGA Major
WHAT SONG WOULD THEY PLAY FOR YOU AT THE FIRST TEE?
“City can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. Whenever I listen to it, it makes me feel as if nothing is impossible
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE HOME-COOKED MEAL?
Hands down my mom’s Zulu Chicken Curry (showing my KZN roots)
THREE MUST-HAVE ITEMS IF YOU WERE STRANDED ON AN ISLAND?
A golf bag, a box of Ramen noodles and Oyster mushrooms
DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN ONE WORD
WHAT’S THE WEIRDEST THING YOU’VE EVER EATEN?
Curried sheep’s tongue and brain – actually very nice if you don’t think about what it really is that you’re eating
WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE GROWING UP?
WHAT WOULD YOU ASK FOR IF YOU WERE GRANTED THREE WISHES?
Long, happy and healthy lives for those I love
An unlimited supply of white chocolate.
Strategically – more wishes!
TWO THINGS YOU’RE REALLY GOOD AT?
Tapping a golf ball with a club and whistling, but not at the same time though!
WHO WOULD BE IN YOUR DREAM PAIRING?
AND IN YOUR FANTASY FOURBALL?
Rory Mcilroy, Dustin Johnson and Ernie Els.
WHICH ACTRESS WOULD YOU PICK TO PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE ABOUT YOUR LIFE?
Jennifer Lawrence. She is as dynamic and resilient as the characters she plays.
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST FEAR?
Snakes and spiders….anything else I can fight off.
WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO CLUB?
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUNGSTERS JUST STARTING THE GAME?
ENJOY the game. It’s not about whether you won, it all about having fun. If it isn’t fun, then it is time to ask a few tough questions.