Cheyenne Woods made her Uncle Tiger proud on Sunday when she captured the first victory of her brief professional career with a two-shot win at the Australian Ladies Masters.
Woods, who turned pro in 2012 after a stellar four years as an All-American at Wake Forest, posted a 4-under 69 in the finale, thanks to five birdies, including one on the par-5 18th, edging Australian amateur Minjee Lee with a 16-under total for the week.
The 23-year-old niece of the the best player in the game won a SunCoast Ladies Series event in 2012 but Sunday marked her first big triumph as a pro.
"This is a huge accomplishment for me," Woods told Reuters after her win.
Woods, who joined her uncle’s management firm after shedding her amateur status, learned long ago to live with her famous last name.
"I've been pro for two years and, for the majority of it, people just think of me as Tiger Woods' niece so now I have a game of my own and I have a title now, a win, which is exciting," she said. "It's nice now to say to people that I can play and I'm not just a name."
Woods, the daughter of Tiger’s half brother, Earl Dennison Woods Jr., has been in the public eye since she was a kid, cruising to victory at the Southwest PGA’s Junior State Championship and the girls’ 9- and 10-year-old division of the inaugural U.S. Kids Golf World Championship, among other accomplishments.
Ranked No. 363 in the world, the younger Woods has, not surprisingly, played in the considerable shadow of her superstar uncle. Sunday’s win may provide the impetus she needs to shine on her own.
"Growing up with the last name of Woods, there's a lot of expectations and pressure and spotlight on you but I always knew that I was able to win," she said. "I always knew I'd be able to compete with these ladies so now it's kind of a weight off my shoulders because now everybody knows not just me."
Woods pocketed the $57,000 winner’s prize and a two-year exemption on the Ladies European Tour. She’ll tee it up in next week’s LPGA-sanctioned Australian Open, where a victory would secure the same exemption on the U.S.-based tour, according to the AAP.
"That'd be huge but I'm just taking it each day as it comes," she said about the prospect of back-to-back Ws. "I definitely feel good about where my game is so I'm looking forward to playing next week."
And Uncle Tiger has chimed in, tweeting his congratulations after undoubtedly waking up to the good news from Australia:
Way to go @Cheyenne_Woods ! A great win and accomplishment. I'm so proud of you.— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) February 9, 2014