Kylie Henry, née Walker, is one of seven Scottish players competing at next week’s Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open and the 30-year-old from Glasgow is keen to improve on her two previous outings at the tournament played over the Dundonald Links, a course for which she has the utmost respect.
Henry certainly knows how to win, having bagged two LET titles in 2014 including the Deloitte Ladies Open in the Netherlands and the German Open. When she is on form, it’s her ability to shoot consistently low that is impressive, like the trio of 64s she accumulated on her way to winning in Germany. Earlier this year at the Australian Oates Vic Open, Henry thought she’d be on an early flight back to Scotland, but she rocketed up the leaderboard after equalling the course record with an 8-under-par 65.
At last week’s Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open pro-am, which was also played at Dundonald Links, Women & Golf caught up with the easy-going Scot and her mother Elizabeth. A few weeks previous, Elizabeth, a 19 handicapper and member at Glasgow’s Buchanan Castle, celebrated her 60th birthday and Kylie’s present to her golf-mad mum was a spot in the pro-am with Kylie by her side acting as caddie.
Are you happy with your form going into the Ladies Scottish Open?
I got off to a fairly decent start to the season and I feel I’ve been playing pretty solid. There have been some gaps in the Ladies European Tour schedule recently, but I have been making the most of the time off by working on my game, in particular with Andy Paisley at Hexham Golf Club, so it’s worked well for me.
What have you been working on?
I do have the ability to shoot low, but obviously you’re not going to shoot 64 every day! I need to manage myself better when it’s not a day with my ‘A’ game, therefore managing my ‘B’ and ‘C’ game. I’m pretty powerful so I can hit a good distance, but I’ve been working on consistency with my iron shots.
What are your thoughts of Dundonald Links?
The golf course is amazing, it’s a really tough challenge, especially the week before a major, but that’s what you want. Of course, it’s very weather dependent as to how it plays on the day. The closing holes are a strong test - the long par-3 15th with the railway line running behind it usually plays into the wind, and the 18th is a good par-5 risk and reward finish. My favourite hole is the par-4 16th, deemed to be the hardest on the course due to its length and narrow fairway.
You have caddied before for your husband, European Tour player Scott Henry. Is this a role you enjoy?
This was definitely a one-off! It doesn’t really work for us. We’re very supportive of each other’s golf careers, but it’s best that he does his thing and I do mine. I think it might be a swift divorce if I caddied for Scott on a regular basis.
What relationship do you have with your mum as far as golf is concerned?
It’s a special relationship as we began to learn to play golf together, I was 14-years-old at the time. Dad used to take my older brother and sisters to play golf and this was the fourball on a Sunday. Mum and I decided that we would like to join them. Until now, I’ve never caddied for mum but I quite often play with her and offer advice, so my role as caddie won’t be too different.
How is married life?
It’s great, six and a half months now. We’re both from big families, so when we’re not on a golf course, we look forward to spending time with them. We both enjoy watching movies and food, although I wouldn’t say that either of us are good cooks – yet!
You made the switch to the professional ranks after one year of studying Sport and Psychology at Stirling University. Would you consider finishing your university education at some stage?
Not now, as I’m so far removed from that way of life. I’m not sure university was really for me anyway. At the time it was the right path and a golf scholarship provided a good opportunity. If I had gone back I would have strongly considered going to the USA. A lot of girls that have taken that route seem to be able to progress more easily onto the LPGA, for example, like England’s Bronte Law.
The final question to Elizabeth after the round...
How did Kylie shape up as a caddie?
Not bad! Seriously, I could not have done it without her, as I’ve never experienced anything like it. She really helped me, especially on the greens. I was very nervous at the beginning, but then I relaxed and was able to enjoy it and would do it all over again in a heartbeat. It was a perfect birthday present.
Elizabeth admits that it’s not always easy being a mother spectating, but it’s equally exciting and the proud Walker family will be following Kylie every step of the way at Dundonald Links and the following week at Kingsbarns for the Ricoh Women’s British Open.
The Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open takes place from 27-30 July. For further information visit: www.ladiesscottishopen.com
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