A true friend is priceless

  • Golf
  • Sunday, 24 Jul 2022

Kelly with her good friend Matilda Casdren en route to finishing second on the LPGA Tour last weekend. — AFP

Looking forward to the next three weeks of tournament play

IT often seems glamorous and fun to watch people win golf tournaments on television, but there are lots of stories behind the scenes that are created in order to capture the winner’s trophy.

This past week was an unbelievable experience for me to say the least. It was intense, full of pressure, fun and many memories made with my best friend Matilda Castren at the Dow Great Lakes Invitational held at Midland Country Club in Michigan.

Although we didn’t finish with the win, we both left the tournament feeling we won in our friendship.

We played so great all week and most importantly just had so much chemistry between us, and the belief we had in each other was so cool.

Matilda and I named our team – Finnaysia, as she is from Finland.

We met on the Symetra Tour (now the Epson Tour) a few years back, and we were both struggling with our game and really didn’t know what was going to happen.

Lots of deep conversations, lots of tears and sleepless nights were shared then.

But we encouraged each other daily and knew we had the game to compete at the highest level and we both just needed to persevere together to get through it.

We were supposed to team up last year at this event but she had to go back to her home country and win the Ladies European Tour event in Finland, which she did.

I knew that was her priority at that time so she could be eligible for Solheim Cup team – representing your country is awesome.

Witnessing her win last year at the LPGA Mediheal Championship was the coolest feeling.

I got to be the first to run onto the green and celebrate with her.

That really inspired me, knowing that she did it also as the first Finnish player to ever win on the LPGA Tour.

It has always been a dream of mine to be the first Malaysian to win on the LPGA as well, and I know I am closer than ever today.

It is so important to have a true friend like Mati out on Tour competing with me the past few years, as many of the players have their own compatriots to learn from and spend time with.

We have both enjoyed spending time trying new restaurants and just learning more about each other, on and off the course.

Over the years, being the only Malaysian out on Tour I realised just how important it is to have this friendship.

This week I really felt so close to winning though we didn’t, this is another milestone I have set in my career.

It has been so exciting all year as I have played great golf and have been putting myself in contention on the weekends.

I want to add that I know there were live broadcasts for this event, but if you didn’t end up watching it, it is a team event and the format is alternate shot on the first day and the best ball on the second day, and it continues into the weekend like that.

We both complimented each other’s game really well all week and she always had my back when I was in trouble, and I did the same for her.

The winning team (Lizette Salas and Jennifer Kupco) played unbelievable on Sunday and we knew it was going to be a stretch to catch them.

There were lots of highlights and laughter on the golf course for us and I truly had a blast.

It is something I will never forget and am so looking forward to next year already.

To Mati, thank you for being so awesome to me over the years.

It has been an incredible journey with you and I’m so proud of how far we have come since the day we first met.

She will also be my maid of honour at my wedding in December and what better way to make more stories together than a solo second-place finish.

I have lots of tasks for her coming up. But for now, we’re in Europe for the next three weeks, playing the Evian Championship, Scottish Open and British Open in Muirfeild.

I feel game is good at the moment and it is exciting that I can bring this momentum across the pond with me.

I hope that everyone has experienced what a true friend really is. Thank you all for cheering us on.

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