Just thirteen weeks out from the tee-off of Golf Ontario’s 2021 Championship season, we return for the final round of our highlight feature, Women in Sport Wednesday’s! This campaign brings our female 2020 Ontario Champions to the forefront, displaying their passion for the game, their accomplishments in the sport, and interesting facts about each champion.
Growing up in Thailand on the Burapha Golf Club, Sydney Naro spent quite a bit of time on the course but didn’t pick up a golf club until around the age of 10. As her skills for the game grew, so did her passion and she began competing in tournaments at 13 years old. Since then, having signed a full-ride scholarship to Michigan State University, Naro has had the privilege to play some of the nicest private courses in Naples during spring break training. Looking to defend her crown in 2021, Naro also plans to compete in the 2021 Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship.
Read below the full interview with the 2020 Ontario Women’s Amateur Champion, Sydney Naro…
How did you get into Golf?
I actually grew up in Thailand on a golf course, and my Dad and my brother played golf. At first, I didn’t really like golf but as I started practicing more and was able to hit the ball better, my passion for the game grew. I started to play competitive golf when I came back home to Canada.
I was around 10 years old when I first picked up a golf club and 13 years old when I started competing in tournaments.
Why are you passionate about golf?
I’ve always loved the challenge as golf has never come easy for me. I know a lot of kids say they’re born with natural talent and for me, it has always been a challenge, whether it’s mental or physical. But I think that has always excited me because I like a sport that’s constantly challenging you, no matter how many hours of work you put in, there’s always some sort of challenge around the corner.
What other sports were you involved in growing up?
Growing up I was a swimmer, I played soccer and a little bit of volleyball and basketball – pretty much everything up until high school. In grade 9 I became more serious and focused only on golf.
Top 3 favorite golf courses?
- Burapah Golf & Resort, Thailand – Course I grew up on
- Calusa Pines Golf Club, Naples, FL
- Whistle Bear Golf Club, Cambridge, ON
Favorite club in your bag?
My 60-degree wedge. I think chipping is probably my favorite part of the game, just because there are so many different shots you can play.
How do you mark your ball?
Any colour sharpie, with a line through the logo and my initials “SN”
Biggest accomplishments to date?
- Winning the 2020 Ontario Women’s Amateur Championship was a big one
- I’ve been playing in the Women’s Am since Brooke Henderson won and I remember practicing next to her on the range, and thinking I just wanted to play in the same group as her. I’ve been trying to win the Women’s Am since that year, so winning this summer was a pretty big accomplishment.
- Full ride scholarship to Michigan State University
- My journey with MSU started around 2017/2018 when I was playing in a U.S. Junior Girls tournament. The assistant coach was watching me at the time and after she saw me play there, she reached during signing time. I was never really thinking about going to Michigan State because I always felt like I wanted to go down south. I went to visit the campus and loved the facilities, the coaches, and what they had to offer me, so I committed to MSU.
- I would definitely recommend becoming a varsity/collegiate athlete when going to school. You get to meet so many different people, from so many different backgrounds and places, and you can grow your connections within golf and academics. You can meet so many influential people and they treat you well. It has been a great experience.
- We get to travel to some pretty cool places too. Every spring break we travel down to Naples and play some of the nicest private golf courses there. We have some great donors that love golf and the opportunity to play with the Men’s and Women’s golf teams. We usually play there for the whole week when they take us down, so that’s been pretty awesome.
What’s your pre-tournament routine? How do you get into the right headspace?
One thing that I try to do before I go out on the golf course is, I try to play a few holes on the driving range. I’ll just pretend that I’m playing the first few holes and that helps to calm my nerves down. I’ll hit a few different shots in a row and just kind of visualize myself out there. It’s just a good way to prepare myself to go out there and play.
Favorite golfer to watch?
- Brooke Henderson of course, I think every Canadian girl kind of looks up to her
- The Korda sisters are players that I follow – Jessica and Nelly Korda
If you could play a round of golf with anyone, who would be in your foursome?
- My brother – he’s the one that got me into golf and we always have a lot of fun on the course
- Tiger Woods – PGA
- Annika Sorenstam – retired LPGA
Goals for 2021?
- I’d like to defend my title at the Ontario Women’s Amateur Championship
- I’ll be playing in the Canadian Women’s Amateur (pending COVID)
I’m not one to set too many goals in terms of placement in tournaments, rather it’s making sure I’m going through the right processes, in the right headspace, and just doing the best I can each time I’m out there. I think when doing that as opposed to setting goals in terms of which place I finish, that helps me perform a lot better.
About the Ontario Women’s Am & Mid Am Championship
First played in 1904, the Ontario Women’s Amateur Championship is Ontario’s oldest provincial championship and is the pinnacle of women’s golf in the province. The event features the best female golfers from across Ontario in a 72-hole stroke play format.
The Women’s Amateur has produced a rich history of champions throughout the tournament’s long and cherished existence. Past winners include 1968 LPGA Tour players Sandra Post (1964), Alena Sharp (1989), Jennifer Kirby (2009, 2010), Augusta James (2011), Brittany Marchand (2012), Brooke Henderson (2014), Maddie Szeryk and Team Canada standout Brigitte Thibault (2019). World, Canadian and Ontario Golf Hall of Fame member, Marlene Stewart Streit, holds the record for the most titles with 11 (’51, ’56, ’57, ’58, ’68, ’69, ’70, ’72, ’74, ’76, and ’77).
About Golf Ontario
Golf Ontario is Ontario’s Provincial Sport Organization focused on enhancing participation, elevating performance, and supporting the passion of golfers in Ontario. With over 100,000 individual members and 450-member clubs, Golf Ontario is one of the largest golf associations in the world. From rating courses and keeping the integral rules of the game intact, to growing the game at the grassroots level and hosting the best amateur tournaments in Canada, Golf Ontario is a passionate group dedicated to shaping lives through Golf.
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For more information please contact:
Brianna Christopher, Assistant, Marketing Communications.
Peter MacKellar, Manager, Marketing and Communications.