• ‘Local’ Lau eager to avoid Olympic radar

Ashley Lau is loving her time in Australia. It is an emotion that is easy to understand when you consider the Malaysian national claimed the Vic Open last week.

Prior to saluting on the Bellarine Peninsula, Lau was second and eighth at the two preceding Webex Players Series events and will try to add more silverware this week at the Webex Players Series Sydney.

Familiar with Australia from her time at the Hills International School in Queensland – the same alma mater of major champion Jason Day – Lau believes the country is part of the equation that has produced some of her best golf as a pro.

“I used to call it my second home,” Lau said at Castle Hill Country Club on Wednesday.

“It’s just been great to be back and see old friends. It’s just something about Australia that I really, really like.

“I don’t get as emotional as I do playing golf. Whenever I make mistakes on the course I just let it go and tell myself there’s a lot of holes left.

“There is just something about the environment. Also, the people are super friendly.”

Along with her fellow Vic Open champion Brett Coletta, Lau has been on the receiving end of plenty of congratulations this week, while talk of representing Malaysia at the Olympics has also become a hot topic.

A regular Malaysian team member as an amateur, Lau speaks glowingly of wearing national colours, however the prospect of playing in Paris in August is something the 23-year-old is a discussion she is keen to avoid.

“It (the Olympics) was definitely not on my radar,” Lau admitted.

“After the win last week, a lot of people have been mentioning that to me. I told them not to tell me anything after that because I am the kind of person who doesn’t like to focus on rankings and stats.”

Although Lau may not wish to engage in the discussions around a potential place in Paris, her Vic Open trophy elevated her 115 places on the Rolex Women’s World Golf Ranking and into second spot amongst her fellow Malaysians.

Currently, Lau would more than likely earn her place as an Olympian if the cut-off date was to fall now rather than June 24. Yet Lau will be taking things “one shot at a time”, particularly this week with her Epson Tour campaign the primary focus of her working holiday in Australia.

It has become a lucrative trip that came about through word of mouth of what Karen Lunn and her team have built within the WPGA Tour of Australasia.

“On Epson last year, I met up with Sarah (Yamaki Branch) who I’ve actually known for a long time,” Lau revealed.

“She was the one who mentioned about this Tour.

“I was mostly just focusing on Epson, and she said, ‘Come down, it’s before Epson anyway’. So ever since she mentioned that it has been on my radar, but I think I just came down here to relax a little bit.

“I haven’t been back since high school and I’ve always wondered when I will be back.”

It likely won’t be as long before her next trip, with tournaments in late 2024 already on Lau’s mind.

There’s the possibility that the University of Michigan graduate may return to these shores as an Olympian… just don’t tell her that. – Jimmy Emanuel

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