She oozes energy, amicability and joy, and this was at a time (taking photos for the interview) when she had just finished with a worse result than expected (23rd) in the Santander Golf Tour event played at the superb Costa del Sol course Lauro Golf.
Andrea Jonama is clearly someone with a positive spirit and battling qualities. As it should be - or at least should be - at 24 years of age. Leaving behind an amateur career full of successes, this Catalan from Sitges made her debut last September as a professional on the European Tour, and did it - by invitation - at the Estrella Damm Mediterranean Ladies Open held at her “home” Terramar Golf Club.
After a successful career as an amateur, and having completed your university studies in the United States, you turned professional last year. What is your assessment of these months with your new golfer status? Is the professional environment what you expected?
This last year has definitely been full of adventures. Since I was little I had dreamed of being a golf professional and to be able to fulfil this dream for me is incredible. The life of a professional golfer is very tough but at the same time very exciting. It's similar to an amateur career, but a little different in terms of concentration and dedication when you compete. In the professional arena I imagined something more solitary, but the truth is that it is totally the other way around. For each championship I travel with my companions and friends, although at the same time they are competition rivals.
The dream of every professional golfer at a high level is to play on the US circuit, the LPGA Tour. What are your expectations?
To get to play on the US circuit would really be a dream come true, but in terms of expectations I am a person with short-term goals and I like to progress more step by step, fulfilling less stringent goals and believing in a process.
What goals have you set for this season?
My main objective for 2019 is to play at a good level in all the LET Access and Santander Tour championships, and qualify for a European Tour card for the next season. A more personal goal, and less focused on results, is to try to absorb all the experience possible and take advantage of and enjoy every moment of the day.
Have you considered a professional future away from golf if you don’t achieve your expected results?
Yes, certainly. I always like to know that I have an alternative in case golf runs out at some point. At Texas A & M University I obtained a degree in psychology, and I would like to be the coach of a university team, as I lived the experience as a team player and I loved it. Apart from the world of golf, I also really like the world of music, and I really like to sing and learn about it, so you never know!
The Ladies European Tour has been going through a crisis for years, unable to find strong sponsors for its tournaments, which are also fewer and fewer on European soil and more numerous on other continents. What future do you foresee for this circuit?
Yes, it is true that the European Tour is not going through its best times in terms of sponsors, but I am confident that it will improve because women's golf is growing all the time and there are better players, and I'm sure there will be people who are committed to supporting them and the tour.
What about the LPGA Tour and professional women's golf around the world? Can we expect Asian supremacy for a while?
It seems that way! The number of Asian players on the US Tour is growing incredibly and more and more we see the rankings full of Asian names at the top. I think that, in general, Asian players have another perspective of golf and are more methodical and exacting, and that means they are always positioned up high.
Carlota Ciganda has become the first Spanish women’s golfer to enter the world top-10, and together with Azahara Muñoz is having a great season on the LPGA Tour. In April the Marbella star was in fifth place in the Race to CME Globe and the Navarran 10th. How far do you think they could go?
I am a fan of Azahara and Carlota, and I love to follow their careers. Not only do both of them have an incredible game, but they are also two great people and very high-profile in women's golf, and I think this combination will help them go even further. I would not be surprised to see them win a major this year.
Tell us about your game: which distances you handle better and which are the shots you need to improve…
Putting has always been my comfort zone: I visualise putts very well and this transmits a lot of confidence. At the moment this year, I have improved a lot with my shots to the green and I am very happy because it gives me a lot of consistency. But without a doubt the shot that needs improvement would be with a sand wedge from 50 to 70 metres. I'm working on that to improve my statistics.
To conclude, who are your favourite players, both men and women?
My favourite player all my life has been Tiger, of course! But now I greatly value mental capacity and attitude on the course, so today my favourite player is Rickie Fowler. And in women's golf I really like Nelly Korda, not only for her game and her power, but also for her ability to entertain on social media networks and be a good example of hard work and dedication for players who aspire to one day reach the top of professional golf.