Gómez, at the Andalucía Costa del Sol Open de España at Los Naranjos. / JOSELE

Laura Gómez, on her way to the elite

The 25-year-old from San Pedro, ranked third in Spain, has been professional since 2019 but it was in 2021 that she completed her first year in the Ladies European Golf Tour

MARINA RIVAS

Golf is in her genes, although at the age of 25 she is now the best player in her family. Her uncles, grandparents, parents and brother know at first-hand how demanding this sport is, but Laura has been the first to tackle the European circuit, whose 2022 season started yesterday at the Kenya Ladies Open andshe shot a nine over par 81.

"I started playing because of my father, Castor, who is a professional and competes nationally nowadays. My brother Casto (he lives in California and competes on the Mexican circuit) also started playing because of my father. We both went to America to study and he stayed there. I came back because I wanted to be a professional in my home country, with my family nearby and my father as my coach," she says. And she wasn't mistaken, because Laura Gómez is progressing in leaps and bounds.

Laura, who is from San Pedro Alcántara, has had her fellow 'malagueña', Azahara Muñoz, the best player ever from the province, as her role model. One day she hopes to become an Olympic golfer like Azahara, but this young woman, with the mental maturity that has got her where she is today, is aware that she needs to keep her feet on the ground.

She has spent her whole life on golf courses: she began by playing in competitions for the under-10s and when she was older she won practically everything in Andalucía and progressed to national competitions, although she points out that this hasn't been easy.

"In Andalucía I have always stood out, but in the national championships I don't. I have always been in the first five, but I have never represented Spain in the European teams. I have always been on the edge. However, when I turned professional they chose me for the Pro Spain Team, which is a great help that they give for new professionals," she says.

Padel, Azahara Muñoz, puzzles

-Favourite singer:

-Rauw Alejandro.

-A film and a series:

-'El diario de Noa' and 'Mentes criminales'.

-A book:

-'Marina', by Carlos Ruiz Zafón.

-What did you want to be when you were little?

-Forensic scientist.

-Your second sport:

-Padel tenis.

-Favourite sports stars:

-Rafa Nadal, and for golf Azahara Muñoz, who is from the same town as me. She has always been my role model. And someone else I really admire, but in gastronomy, is Dani García. I know him, so I know what he has gone through to get where he is now.

-Something you do well:

-Puzzles.

-And really badly?

-Cook.

-If you could have a coffee with someone, it would be:

-Tiger Woods.

- A dream come true and another to come:

-Playing on the European circuit is a dream come true, and the Solheim Cup 2023.

Following the increasingly popular path for Spanish golfers, she crossed the pond to study in the USA with a sports grant and reached a high level in the NCAA while studying for Sports Recreation and Management. After that, though, she returned home and quickly achieved her goal of becoming a professional player. In 2018 she began her first course in the LET Access, the second European circuit, which she won, and finished a great year with two triumphs in the Santander Golf Tour. Thanks to her brilliant performance (she was one of the top five LET players in 2019), she was able to achieve her dream: a card for the Ladies European Tour (for the elite). But the Covid-19 pandemic halted her career in 2020 and it was not until last year that Laura was able to complete her first year as a professional. "I feel very positive, I have learned a great deal. My objective over the next few years is to be in the top 10 and top 20 more often," she says.

Demanding

Those who know how much she demands of herself also know that she will never be satisfied with a low position in the ranking. "I'm always aware that I could do better," she says, and indeed, she was third in the Spanish Open for professionals, not long after finishing 11th together with Ana Peláez in the Andalucía Costa del Sol Open de España last year.

She grew up playing golf close to home, and says her family are her greatest supporters, especially her father, the director of the Guadalmina golf school, who is her coach and has taught her to approach the sport from a different point of view. "He is a professional, he has competed and he has an academy, so he really knows what golf is like. He sees how some parents are convinced their child is going to be the next Tiger Woods and in the end the child is damaged by that. My father knows how to treat people so they don't put so much pressure on themselves, because golf isn't about pressure. You have to enjoy golf, and it is a sport that needs great mental application. You spend five hours competing against yourself and another 130 people. It's a very competitive world, and I still have a long way to go," she says.