Meet the Sport Liverpool golfer who’s made University history
Flora Keites, a Sport Liverpool golfer who is part of the elite athlete scheme, made University of Liverpool history earlier this academic year as she prevailed in a BUCS Sport tour event in Birmingham.
In mid-October, the first year biochemistry student from Jersey became the first Sport Liverpool golfer since 1988 to win a BUCS Sport tour event, as Flora told AU vice-president Matt Addison.
Flora said: “It’s a good standard. It is a world-ranked event; there were a few really strong girls. I ended up winning by two shots in the end which is nothing – it was always neck and neck.
“I’ve had a lot of experience playing nationally because I play for Britain. I've done English women and English girls [but] I've never had a win like that before – it’s probably the biggest win I've had.”
The win came just a month into starting at the University, and there were a number of factors that convinced Flora to opt to study in Liverpool.
She explained: “Playing at Royal Liverpool [in Hoylake] is one of the best courses in the UK.
“It’s where they play the open, so it is a very nice course. They have very good facilities there. I've got matches every week and we train on Tuesday nights and I go myself at weekends.
“I love the city. Coming from a small island, as well, I wanted to experience something different.
“Sport Liverpool have been really good. Danielle [Farrell] liaises with my academic advisor for time off and things like that – funding, as well. It’s been really good – I wouldn’t have been able to do these events without that.”
Making sure studying is no handicap when combining competing, practice and university work is a difficult balance, though.
Flora said: “It’s difficult. Since I started from a young age I've had to deal with juggling everything. It’s a very time-consuming sport: I have to delegate my time, give myself time to practice as well as keeping up with my studies.”
Flora has followed golf for a number of years, and cites several players as her inspiration.
She said: “I follow a lot of men's and women's professionals. I'm a massive fan of Tiger Woods – whether you love him or hate him – he’s always been an idol.
“Personally, my dad is the one who encouraged me to play – he’s a really keen golfer. Also, my brother – he’s two years older than me and he’s playing, so I always wanted to beat him.”
Having won for Sport Liverpool, Flora’s sights now are set on something much bigger.
On her long-term ambitions, she said: “I tossed up about whether to go to America on scholarship for so long, but I just thought, I want to keep up my golf, but I want to study here.
“I’ll see where it goes – the main goal for me is to play for England one day. I’ve been involved in the south regional squads before, but I’d love to play for England.”
Anyone wanting to play golf within the University can find out more information here.