By 2021 Athena Champion Kristalle Blum
2021 started with more unknowns and doubts about tournaments and opportunities due to the lack of sponsorship and money that I could put behind me. Luckily for me that all changed very quickly after my win at The Athena in late February. I went from having no idea what my year would look like to being able to get back out and compete in Europe.
It was a very scary solo endeavour that I went on in mid-June, as I left Australia on a one-way ticket to Europe with no idea when I may be able to return to the country. I had no idea what it would be like on tour again. This time around we had to so much more to deal with than just playing golf and being away from home. Higher expenses due to the travel bubble, interacting with only one other person each week or being on your own entirely, COVID tests pre-event, during and before travelling to the next week. It was a lot more to take in and deal with compared to what I had previously known.
Thankfully things slowly started to return to a bit of normality after my first 4 events and restrictions eased. I was grateful to have been fully vaccinated as this ended up making my life a lot easier as I got further into the season. It gave me less to worry about and I started to see some better results.
Although this year was a lot of fun and I found myself again it was a difficult year mentally. There were a lot of ups and downs and mainly for me that was caused by the unknown of being able to get home as we got further into the season. As soon as I found a flight home the weight that was lifted from my shoulders was incredible. I had a date; it was confirmed and then I had my best result for the year with a T14 at the Terre Blanche Ladies Open.
This year taught me to never give up, remain hopeful and that there is always something worse happening in the world than what you are going through. I would never have imagined I would win The Athena going in with a major back injury and 2 weeks of very little golf and practice. I guess it taught me that you can achieve anything you set your mind to and when you play with no pressure on yourself you achieve your best.
I will be forever grateful for the opportunities I had from winning The Athena. Being able to work with Adidas Golf and winning the prize money that I did meant I was able to chase my dreams again instead of putting them on hold for another year. This year was incredible and showed just how much I missed travelling the world and playing tournament golf. I am so excited for what the Aussie summer has on offer with so many events already on the schedule for both men and women. I cannot wait to be back competing on home soil again after a long two-year wait and hope to be a part of The Athena again in 2022 for more life-changing opportunities!