Magenta Shores CC, March 29-31, 2024

HAYES: Earthly Uribe a True Champion of Our Time

If salt of the earth is your style, Mariajo Uribe is your woman.

She has an infectious giggle, admires the simple things in life and isn’t afraid of doing the hard yards to achieve her goals.

She was born in the Colombian Andes and still resides there with her husband Oscar and maybe the most important person in her life, her three-year-old son Lucca.

Mariajo wants to take Lucca to the Olympics in Paris this year, but to do so must rise up the Games’ ranking system (not enough bandwidth to explain here).

She has enjoyed a super impressive LPGA Tour career. But with D-day looming for Paris, she’s no longer guaranteed starts on the tour from which she has pocketed in excess of $US2million in 14 mostly stellar seasons.

So while it’s not exactly working 23 hours a day in a coal mine, it has meant that Uribe has had to swallow her pride and ask for a little help in achieving her beloved family’s dream.

Recently, that came in the form of an email to Golf NSW – the host of the state Open championship at Magenta Shores this week – that was only too happy to extend a helping hand to the 34-year-old.

It’s hard to imagine someone with her golfing resume would ever have pondered the Central Coast of NSW to be the locale where her dreams would come true in the months before she retires from life on tour.

But here we are.

After Uribe’s victory, she was asked about the courage required to pull off the sensational approach shots to the 16th and 18th greens in the closing stages of her pulsating and ultimately successful battle with Bronte Law.

Her answer modestly deferred to her normal style of play rather than some special ability to find another gear.

But in the next breath she admitted that having to throw herself at the mercy of tournament hosts for invitations was arguably even more challenging.

“It takes courage to come here, write the email and get those invites,” said Uribe, who only broke from her brilliant acceptance speech to wipe away tears when she mentioned Lucca and the huge family commitment to enable her to fly to a place she’d most likely never heard of until a couple of weeks ago.

“I’m trying to get some opportunities … it’s what you have to do if you want to succeed.

“I’m really grateful for everyone who surrounds us to make this possible – my full community – because I do this for them.

“My husband is happy now because I (probably) don’t have to play a crazy schedule … to get to Paris.

“Hopefully I’ll find out this week and … we can get to the Olympics.”

Lucca spoke to his mum before and after her round and was happy just to see her face.

She said Lucca was happy for her moment in the Magenta sunshine, but more just wanted to see a picture of mum with a koala.

“If you want to win a golf tournament, you have to make this sacrifice, but it’s tough,” she said with genuine emotion.

The moment Uribe’s clan boards a plane to France in July, you can bet your bottom dollar that she’ll remember fondly the day her dreams came true on the other side of the world.

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