Panos jets home for Australian Amateur

14th Jan 2014

The Australian Amateur will have a distinct international feel, with more than 50 overseas players making the trip to the Grange Golf Club in Adelaide to compete against Australia’s best Amateur golfers.

One player who doesn’t quite fit in either camp is Perth born Jayde Panos, a member of Golf Australia’s national squad who trains and competes for Oklahoma State University in the United States.

Prior to leaving for college, Panos set the Australian junior golfing scene alight by winning the 2010 WA State Junior Championship and famously setting the course record of 66 at the Mount Lawley Junior Open. Her score of 8-under par still stands to this day.

Four years on and Panos is yet to have another opportunity to compete on Australian soil. While it’s not uncommon to see Panos make appearances for Lake Karrinyup’s pennants team during breaks from college, she has had to turn down many opportunities to play for and to compete in Australia, especially since earning National Squad selection in 2013.

“The Australian Amateur will be really good. I haven’t played an Australian event since 2010 so it will be really nice for me to be able to play at home.”

“I just really want to play over here again, and the Australian Amateur is the biggest one and at the start of the year so it’s perfect timing.”

The Australian Amateur will also give Panos the chance to gauge where she is at compared to her Australian counter parts and she is looking forward to having the chance to make a name for herself back at home.

“It’s so nice to be able to compete against the best players in Australia. It’s not so much about the Aussie girls as I know a lot of them really well, but I’m sure there are a few people out there who are wondering ‘who’s Jayde Panos’ since I’m never over here and I made the national team while I was at college.”

As her American college counterparts are left to suffer what has been a record-breaking cold winter, Panos is enjoying the Perth summer and making the most of the chance to be back in Australia to see family and to continue to work on her game.

“It’s so nice to be back home, when I left Oklahoma it was -20 degrees. It was so cold, I think there were a couple of inches of snow on the ground too. I love the summer, I would have it all year round if I could.”

Upon arrival in Australia, Panos joined fellow Western Australian college golfer Oliver Goss (University of Tennessee) for a training session with Golf Australia, who flew 3D biomechanics expert Ryan Lundsman to Perth to work with the pair.

“I was working on my technique, how I move up I guess. It’s hard to explain, but I’m working on my takeaway a bit and how I position at the top and making sure that I’m turning on to my right side and being activated in my right glutes.”

“I get instant feedback, so we get the data and we start working on it instantly.”

In her fourth year at Oklahoma state, Panos and her team-mates tasted success at the Big 12 Championship, where Panos steered her team to victory finishing seventh overall. When it comes to training and preparation, Panos describes Oklahoma State’s policy of allowing their golfers independence in their training regimes as the perfect fit for her game.

“I’m a bit different in the way that I learn. I prefer to be on course instead of the driving range so how I work on my game is a bit different for me. I don’t stand and beat balls because my attention span is just not long enough! I prefer to go on the course and be isolated and hit shots.”

“I do lots of little drills on the course. I might hit three balls and put a number on all of them and one will be a draw ball, a fade ball and the other I will hit straight. It’s just little games to keep my mind occupied so I’m also learning and having fun.”

Fun is the name of the game for Panos, who will have a big task ahead of her with the week-long Australian Amateur that commences Tuesday. With fellow national squad members in defending champion Minjee Lee and World Number 2 Su Hyun-Oh the hot favourites to take the title, Panos will be gunning to cause an upset and make a name for herself at home along the way.