Interview with Julia Engström
The 19-year-old from Halmstad, southern Sweden, discusses her heartache at losing a seven-stroke lead to finish third at the inaugural Magical Kenya Ladies Open in December and then her elation at coming from five strokes behind to seal her first LET trophy in the 2020 Women’s New South Wales Open at Dubbo Golf Club, only two tournaments later.
Julia, you led for three rounds at Vipingo Ridge in Kenya and took a seven stroke lead into the final round, but it was a tough final day and you weren’t feeling well and shot two-over. It must have been so disappointing to lose out to Esther Henseleit after the start you had.
It was quite devastating and it was a tough week in Kenya. After that, many people at home were asking me about it, but I just wanted to put it behind me, so it’s great to get a win and prove everyone wrong.
To have a good start to 2020 at the Geoff King Motors Australian Ladies Classic Bonville was so great. I could forget about Kenya and the past season and just focus on the present season. To go out and win the Women’s New South Wales Open was the icing on the cake.
Was it special to have your friend and fellow LET golf professional Madelene Stavnar acting as your caddie on Sunday in Dubbo?
It was so nice to have a friend on the bag. She asked me on Saturday and I said, let’s go for it! We had so much fun out on the course and to have her there on the 18th green with me was fantastic. I played in a great group with Camilla Lennarth and Manon De Roey so I enjoyed it out there.
You hit the perfect 5-iron into the par-3 18th green and set up a two-foot birdie putt to seal the victory. Was that your best ever shot?
It was the shot of the day. I had bogeyed the 18th in all of the first three rounds and I said, ‘I’m not going to bogey it today.’ I hit it straight where I wanted and I didn’t know how close it was, but I could see by the reaction that it was quite close to going in.
You’ve been on tour for two years now. How do you assess your time on the LET?
This is my third year, so I’ve been on tour for two years. It feels so new but also like I’ve been here forever and I’ve really made some good friends here as well. I really feel like this is home.
What part of your game has improved the most?
I’ve always been a long hitter and I was second in driving distance behind Anne van Dam last year, but I’ve been working out over the winter and have gained an extra club of distance with my woods.
Are you still studying alongside playing golf?
I’m still in high school and I have two more classes left to complete, in Sociology and Swedish. I have a 40-page study which I’ve been writing. It feels like a lot less work this year as I was taking nine classes before and now it’s down to three.
Is there anything else you’d like to achieve this season?
I’d like to finish in the top five on the order of merit, which is now the Race to Costa Del Sol. I just want to develop and be as good as I can. It would be great to be able to play in the Olympic Games next year.October 5, 2020 4:15 pm