Gary Shean, super-brother of South African golfing sensation Kelli Shean, has just returned after a few weeks in the States with Kelli, and wrote to gsport to update us on his little sister’s progress:
I am glad to report that two weeks down the line, she is settling in very nicely. Kelli now calls Fayetteville, North West, Arkansas "home".
She is a member of the Lady Razorbacks ladies golf squad, consisting of ten members (including SA’s Tanica van As), and is coached by head coach Shauna Estes and assistant coach, Mike Adams.
Fayetteville is situated two hours west of Little Rock and in the Ozark Mountain and is one of the fastest growing town in the South.
Kelli and her fellow Razorbacks play out of The Blessings, a course which is ranked as one of the top ten most difficult courses in the States: It comes in at number 7.
The exclusive club boasts a select 105 members who each paid a joining fee of US$150 000, and owner John Tyson, the biggest chicken producer in the States, recently spent US$32 million on the facilities, including indoor air-conditioned hitting bays, a laser-target driving range, and a players lounge.
Kelli has chosen Business as her major and is doing well, having sailed through her first two exams with over 85% in each. She lives in the North West dorm, and shares with two golfing team-mates and an All American volley ball player.
She has just the past week purchased her vehicle, a Ford Escort Coupe – just enough space for her and the clubs! She has also received her first traffic ticket, which she received for parking in the incorrect allocated parking bays.
She has attended her first football match, and was part of the 72 000 people who turned out to watch Arkansas win the first game of the season.
As for her golf, the most important thing, she struggled with her first two rounds; shooting low 80’s but came back with a bang this week by winning the Match Play event.
All 10 golfers started on the first tee, with the highest scoring player being eliminated after each hole. At the end of it all, it was down to Kelli and Stacey Lewis (the number one ranked US amateur, just off a North West Arkansas LPGA event win).
Kelli came out on top, and is very happy with the way she is playing right now. This is a major confidence booster with three rounds of qualifying coming up in the next week.
Kelli also celebrated her 20th birthday on the 10th, and will be having a BBQ with her team mates and coaches this Friday evening to do it in style.