• The Athena - Winners blog by Kristalle Blum

The Athena winner Kristalle Blum shares the first of her monthly blogs below after making the trek to Europe to compete in her first event on the 2021 LET Access Tour.

The Athena was such an incredible format to not only promote and show off the talent of the Aussie girls but to have the exposure of what it is like playing Live in front of the entire nation. The win opened up so many doors, from signing an incredible apparel contract with Adidas (the clothing and footwear is amazing, Code Chaos is my go-to!), to providing me the financial backing I needed to give myself the opportunity to play overseas again this year. It has always been so hard to find sponsors and even more so now with COVID and had I not won The Athena I may have spent another year at home not playing competitive golf and chasing my dream. 

Following The Athena and the TPS Sydney event I had to take some time off to allow my back to fully recover as I strained it two weeks before. The fact I managed to get my maiden professional win following this injury made it even more special. By early May I was back into almost full practice although my gym and running really took a hit as my back just wasn’t coping with the extra strain. A lot of Physio appointments and monitoring took place before finally working out what I was and wasn’t capable of. 

I was fortunate enough to play a few of the PGA MPP Tournaments with the guys in SA, giving me some tournament preparation for my European season ahead. You sometimes forget what it is like having a scorecard in hand, so this was a big help.. I put a lot of technical work in with Mum (coach), especially on my short game and we spoke a lot about the mental side of things, going through scenarios that I may encounter and need to deal with when away. Making sure I have mechanisms and triggers to go back to if things go wrong or take me off course. 

As travel day got closer and closer, many emotions were felt. It was such a different feeling to when I went over in 2019, and although I was excited to be able to go and play again, I felt nervous, scared and anxious for what was ahead, the unknown. 

After a few flight changes (as can only be expected with COVID) it took me a long 36 hours to get to Brussels. This is where I would tee it up in my first LETAS event of the season. The course was very challenging as it was a real positional golf course. Took me a few days to get used to the pace of the greens as they were a bit slower than home but managed to finish T21 for the week on +6 with an average first round. 

All in all it has been a busy few months following The Athena, but it has now all been worth it. I love being back where I belong, on Tour. I can’t wait for what the rest of the season has in store for me, but I do know it will be a long 5 and a half months away from home. 

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