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Engström magic seals Women’s NSW Open crown

Dubbo, New South Wales, Australia – Sunday March 1, 2020:

Julia Engström saved her best for last as she made a fantastic birdie two to win her first Ladies European Tour title at the Women’s New South Wales Open at Dubbo Golf Club.

The 18-year-old from Halmstad in southern Sweden began the final round five strokes behind the overnight leader, Manon De Roey, but put up a strong challenge from the outset, eventually drawing level with the leader after the Belgian bogeyed the 17th hole.

Engstrom conjured a piece of magic when she rifled a 5-iron from 176 metres, or 193 yards, to about two feet on the par-3 18th and holed her birdie putt in front of an enormous gallery on a sun-drenched day in Dubbo, rural New South Wales, after De Roey missed the green and took a bogey, handing Engström a two stroke victory on 14-under-par.

The win is the first for the third year professional, who is still studying for two high school exams in Sweden and a sign of things to come from the exceptional talent, who last year was only second in driving distance to Anne Van Dam.

It was also redemption for her loss at the Magical Kenya Ladies Open in December, where she held a seven stroke lead going into the final round, but finished third after a final round of 74.

Engstrom conjured a piece of magic on the 18th
Engstrom conjured a piece of magic on the 18th

“It’s been a great week and I’m just thrilled,” said Engström, the LET Rookie of the Year in 2017. “I bogeyed 18 in all three previous rounds and I decided that this time, I was not going to bogey it and I hit a great shot and I didn’t realise how close it was until I heard the reaction from the crowd. It was amazing and a great finish to a great week.”

De Roey had a shaky start when she pushed her opening drive right into the trees, but she quickly steadied the nerves.

However, a birdie-bogey turnaround on the second hole followed by a second Engström birdie on the third, where she made an up and down from a bunker, cut De Roey’s lead to two strokes.

De Roey jumped back into a four shot lead with a 12 foot birdie putt on the fifth hole, just as Engström made her first mistake, after fluffing a shot from a cart path after a monster drive which almost reached the green.

De Roey bogeyed the sixth but then both she and Engström birdied the long ninth and De Roey was back at 15-under with a three-stroke lead through the turn.

Both players birdied the long 12th, but then De Roey dropped four shots in the last six holes for a 75, as Engström conjured a piece of magic on the last for a 68.

De Roey finished in second, with Sweden’s Camilla Lennarth in third on 11-under-par.

“I tried not to focus on what she was doing and I didn’t know what the others were at, so I was just out there trying to play as well as I could and I played very solid at the end and finished up with a birdie,” said Engström.

“I’ve been close a few times and I’ve been waiting for a win, but you never know if it is going to happen. It’s great to finally get that win and be on top of the leader board.”

With her victory in the Women’s New South Wales Open, following on from a tie for seventh in the Australian Ladies Classic Bonville, Engström moved to the top of the Race to Costa Del Sol leader board and will take extra confidence into the next LET event, the Investec South African Women’s Open, which will take place in Cape Town in a fortnight’s time.

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De Roey Flies into the Lead with Two Eagles

Dubbo, New South Wales, Australia – Friday February 28, 2020: Manon De Roey soared into the halfway lead with an eight-under 64 in the second round at the Women’s New South Wales Open.

At nine-under-par, the long-hitting Belgian golfer moved two strokes clear of her nearest rivals, Diksha Dagar, Camilla Lennarth and Agathe Sauzon, at Dubbo Golf Club in Australia.

“I made two eagles, which definitely helped,” said the 28-year-old from Schilde, in the province of Antwerp.

“Every putt I looked at, I felt like it went in, and it was pretty easy.”

The three-time winner on the LET Access Series started her round with an eagle three on the third hole and went out in 32 with birdies on the par-4 eighth and par-5 ninth holes.

It was a similar story on the back nine, as she then eagled the long 10th, birdied the 12th and bogeyed the 13th, but immediately recovered with a birdie on the short 14th and then made an incredible par save on the narrow and tree-lined 15th before adding another birdie at the 16th for an inward nine of 32.

“I hit my drive on 15 a bit right and had to punch it out and it went into the bunker, but I love bunkers and I don’t stress about bunkers and I made an up and down.

“The key is to hit fairways because the rough is pretty thick and if you miss it by one metre, it’s pretty hard to get it out. I’m not sure how many fairways I hit today, but I managed to get around and took advantage of the par fives.”

Long-hitting Indian golfer, Dagar, who will defend at the Investec South African Women’s Open in a fortnight, also eagled the 10th in a round of 68.

She said: “My approach shots were very good, and my putting. I had a birdie chance on every hole. My driving was slightly off and I missed left and right on a few holes, but my irons were great.”

Lennarth, who earned her sole LET title in the 2014 Slovak Open, was pleased with her 69 on a more difficult scoring day.

The popular Swede said: “It was quite windy when I teed off today and it was pretty tricky to determine if it was south-west or south-east and it was swirling up in the trees and it’s narrow. Sometimes the trees come out a bit and you want to start it into the middle of a tree and bring it in. If you have a good iron game and overall ball striking, I think you can keep expecting some low scores because the greens are quite receptive.

“It’s been a while for me since I’ve played well. I did have some good rounds in Spain at the end of last year, but it wasn’t a very good year for me. I haven’t been in this position for a while, so I’m expecting a few nerves, but I’m excited to be in this group and position and I’m going to do my absolute best tomorrow and then see where I am.”

Sauzon set the target earlier in the day, with a five-under-par 67.

The 28-year-old from Bourg-lès-Valence in south-eastern France, who studied Chemical Engineering at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, said that her first bogey on 11 spurred her on to make three birdies in a row from the 13th.

“I’m really pleased with how I played. I hit some really good shots close to the pin and made the putts. Yesterday I didn’t make the putts. Today they went in, so it was a good round.”

Although this is her fourth time in Australia, it is her first visit to Dubbo and she said that the course is the narrowest she has ever played on.

“We had one tight course in Spain last year, but I think this one is a lot narrower.”

Julia Engstrom was also at seven-under but bogeyed the last hole to drop into a tie for fifth alongside Michele Thomson.

Thomson said: “My putting was great again today. I probably didn’t hit my irons as well as yesterday but when the putter is working it helps you to get up and down when you need to and the driving was good as well today. I probably missed a few fairways that I didn’t yesterday, but not by much. Overall, I’m playing solid.”

The 2018 and 2019 champion, Meghan MacLaren, finished just inside the projected cut line, on five-under-par after rounds of 75 and 74.

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Scottish pair lead at Women’s New South Wales Open

Dubbo, New South Wales, Australia – Thursday February 27, 2020: Aberdeen duo Gemma Dryburgh and Michele Thomson share a one-shot lead after a pair of five-under-par 67s in the first round of the Women’s New South Wales Open.

Thomson set the mark with six birdies – including five on the front nine – before finishing with a bogey on the short 18th hole at Dubbo Golf Club, a challenging course situated on the western banks of the Macquarie River.

Dryburgh, who went out in 34, came back in 33 with three birdies in her last six holes on a warm and sunny afternoon.

Thomson, whose best finish on the LET was second in the 2017 Hero Women’s Indian Open, said: “It was pretty steady. I hit a lot of fairways and greens and holed some really nice putts, so it was quite enjoyable.

Michele_Thomson

“It was nice to feel that the driver was going to go straight, because you’re looking around about you and there are a lot of people who are not finding the fairway. I just wanted to give myself chances and that’s what I did.

“The fairways are tough. You think you’re in the perfect spot but they will run out into the rough. I managed to find a few today, which definitely helped.

“I’d love another three five-unders. I’ve just got to keep going, keep my nose in front and let’s see what happens on Sunday.”

Thomson has her father, Graham, serving as her caddie in Australia and she enjoys having him on the bag.

“Like with any father daughter relationship, he can get on my nerves occasionally, but he’s doing really well and it’s really hot here and he’s carrying the tour bag, so he’s doing a great job,” she said.

Dryburgh, who won the Oatlands Pro-Am on the ALPG Tour in 2017, is second on the LET’s Race to Costa Del Sol after her career-best fourth place finish in the Geoff King Motors Australian Ladies Classic Bonville last week and could move into pole position this week, as top-ranked Linnea Strom is not playing.

She said: “I hit my driver quite well. I only hit eight fairways, which is quite low usually, but the fairways are very narrow here, so it was a good day off the tee, and I made a lot of putts as well. I was seeing the breaks really well.

“My putting has been improving and that’s been the missing piece over the last couple of years, so it’s nice to see the putts going in and hopefully they continue to do so for the next three days.”

The Scottish pair lead ahead of Sweden’s Camilla Lennarth and Germany’s Olivia Cowan, with Swede Julia Engström, India’s Diksha Dagar and Australian Breanna Gill a stroke further back.

Last year’s LET order of merit winner Esther Henseleit from Germany, Beth Allen from the United States, England’s Holly Clyburn, Agathe Sauzon from France and Thailand’s Atthaya Thitikul, making her first start on the LET as a professional, are tied for eighth place on two-under-par.

The tournament continues from 7.15am on Friday. Entrance is free for spectators and all are welcome to attend.

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NSW amateur Stephanie Kyriacou leads by two

Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, Australia – Feb 22. 2020: New South Wales amateur Stephanie Kyriacou holds a two shot lead at 15-under-par heading into the final round of the Geoff King Motors Australian Ladies Classic at Bonville Golf Resort.
The 19-year-old from Maroubra in Sydney took the lead early in the third round when she chipped in for birdie on the par-5 fourth hole, but she then double bogeyed the sixth, to hand overnight leader Lauren Stephenson from the United States the lead.  
Kyriacou birdied the long seventh and then the uphill par-4 ninth to join a three-way share of the lead with Stephenson and Ayean Cho midway through the round.
Stephenson bogeyed the 11th and then the world number 35 from Korea stumbled with a double bogey on the 12th followed by bogeys on the 13th and 14th to be four shots adrift.
Stephenson and Kyriacou both birdied the par-5 14th but then the Sydney teenager made a clutch birdie on the par-5 16th to take a two stroke advantage over the American into the final day.
After rounds of 69, 63 and 69, Kyriacou has an incredible chance to win the tournament, which would give her the opportunity to take up a winner’s category of membership on the LET.
Gemma Dryburgh of Scotland during the 3rd round
The teenager is playing in the tournament for the third time, having made the cut on both of her previous two starts, and said: “I think this week is the first time I’ve shot under par on this course. I was pretty confident coming into the tournament. I didn’t have any hopes of being in contention, but I thought that my game was there.”
Kyriacou said that she had trouble sleeping the night before after her Friday 63 and had a dream that she had forgotten to mark her ball on the green.
She admitted to feeling butterflies and said: “When a few more people came out to watch I was a bit scared, especially over my last putt which was only two foot, but I was very nervous. I don’t think I’ve ever been in contention for a pro tournament, especially going into the last round, so it’s pretty cool.”
Stephenson had her chances but missed two putts from inside three feet on a day when her putter turned cool.
After signing for a 73, the 22-year-old from South Carolina said: “Yesterday I made so many putts and today I hit a lot of good shots but I just was not making the putts and on the back nine I got a bit shaky with some of the putts I had. I gave myself a lot of chances, but they didn’t go in.”
On playing for her first professional title, the second-year LPGA Tour player said: “I feel like this week has been such a huge week for me and a learning experience. As a pro, I haven’t been in this position. I felt happy with how I handled myself today and I didn’t get upset or let anything bother me. I just want to enjoy the experience and whatever the outcome is, this is a great learning experience for me. You need to put yourself in contention as many times as you can to learn from it, so I’ll just have fun tomorrow.”
Cho sits in third on 12-under-par and Scotland’s Gemma Dryburgh compiled a 67 to get into fourth on 11-under-par.
She said: “I’m very happy. I birdied the last three holes and played really solid. I bogeyed the first, like I did yesterday, so I was happy to get it back and have an even first nine and then I went for it on the back nine. I think I’ve got a chance being four back, so I’ll do my best and see what it adds up to at the end.”
Anne van Dam climbed into fifth place with a 68, while 16-year-old rookie Pia Babnik, who is making her professional debut, climbed into a tie for sixth alongside Lina Boqvist at nine-under, to sit six strokes back from the lead.

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Race to Costa Del Sol Starts in Australia

  • New season-long race commences this week, with the Geoff King Motors Australian Ladies Classic, the first of 25 LET tournaments in 18 countries this year

COFFS HARBOUR, New South Wales, Feb. 17, 2020 – A new Ladies European Tour season starts on Thursday with the Geoff King Motors Australian Ladies Classic at Bonville Golf Resort in New South Wales, the first event on the 2020 Race to Costa del Sol.

The Race to Costa del Sol, which is the official LET ranking from 2020, offers a €250,000 bonus pool to the top three finishers. The Race begins in Australia with the first of 25 LET tournaments spanning 18 countries in a greatly enhanced 2020 LET schedule and concludes with the Andalucía Costa del Sol Open de España Femenino in Spain in late November.

The new era begins at Bonville Golf Resort, situated halfway between Sydney and Brisbane on the beautiful Coffs Coast, where an international field of 151 competitors will play on “Australia’s Favourite Golf Course” 2016-2019, according to Golf Australia Magazine’s Favourite Golf Courses poll. The defending champion, Marianne Skarpnord, will be joined by fellow 2019 tournament winners Diksha Dagar, Annabel Dimmock, Esther Henseleit, Nuria Iturrioz, Céline Herbin, Meghan MacLaren, Christine Wolf and Anne van Dam as well as many of the LET’s rising stars from Q-School.

It will tee up a fortnight of competition Down Under, with the Women’s New South Wales Open taking place at Dubbo Golf Club the following week.

The action then moves to the other side of the Indian Ocean for the Investec South African Women’s Open at Westlake Golf Club, followed by the Saudi Ladies Championship at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club.

The main European leg of the schedule begins with the Jabra Ladies Open at Evian Resort Golf Club, in early May, followed by the La Reserva de Sotogrande Invitational at La Reserva Club de Sotogrande and then the Mithra Belgian Ladies Open in Naxhelet.

The Lalla Meryem Cup, which is co-located with the men’s Hassan Trophy at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam, will be followed by an innovative mixed field event, the Scandinavian Mixed Hosted by Henrik & Annika at Bro Hoff Slott Golf Club, where European Tour and Ladies European Tour members will go head-to-head for the first time on the same course, competing for one prize fund and one trophy.

The players will remain in Europe for the Dutch Ladies Open at Rosendaelsche Golfclub and the Estrella Damm Mediterranean Ladies Open at Club de Golf Terramar.

The Evian Championship, which has been played as the fifth major since 2013, will take place in mid-July. After everyone catches their breath for a week, a new event, to be revealed soon, will be played in the United Kingdom in early August, alongside the Tokyo 2020 women’s Olympic Golf Competition.

The UK swing continues with a fortnight in Scotland and the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club, followed by the AIG Women’s British Open, the final major of the year, at Royal Troon.

The European odyssey continues with the TIPSPORT Czech Ladies Open at Golf Course Karlstejn, the Creekhouse Ladies Open at Kristianstads Golfklubb, the VP Bank Swiss Ladies Open at Golfpark Holzhäusern and the Lacoste Ladies Open de France at Golf du Médoc.

The action then moves to Asia for the Ladies European Thailand Championship at Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club, the Hero Women’s Indian Open at DLF Golf and Country Club and a new event in the Philippines, before moving on to the Middle East for the Omega Dubai Moonlight Classic at Emirates Golf Club and then to Africa, for the Magical Kenya Ladies Open, at Vipingo Ridge.

The LET then returns to Europe for the season finale at the Andalucía Costa del Sol Open de España Femenino, one of the most popular stops of the year, where the winner of the season-long competition will be crowned.

The Race to Costa Del Sol begins this week… join the conversation at @LETgolf using the hashtag #RaceToCostaDelSol.

Ladies European Tour Partner – Costa Del Sol Tourist Board

In 2020 the Costa Del Sol Tourist Board became a partner of the Ladies European Tour by sponsoring the Order of Merit, which will be called the Race to Costa del Sol.

Costa del Sol Tourist Board is dedicated to the promotion of Costa del Golf and provides advice and support to its partners throughout the golf industry. The Costa del Sol has been recognised as a top European Golf Destination by IAGTO (International Association of Golf Tour Operators) and is the exclusive destination in continental Europe of PGA Germany.

The Costa del Sol is the leading destination for golfers who seek a wide variety of quality golf courses and ideal golfing weather through 12 months of the year. With over seventy golf courses, many of which were conceived by masters of golf course design, the Costa del Sol enjoys worldwide prestige. Many top-level championships have provided unforgettable days of competition on its courses: the Ryder Cup, the World Golf Championship, the Estrella Damm Masters and the Ladies European Tour Andalucia Costa del Sol Open de España.

Golfers of all levels visit this unique destination, year after year, to enjoy the golf, and explore all that this unique destination offers including top class restaurants, a vibrant nightlife, great shopping and a wide range of hotels, apartments and villas with an astounding array of services, combined with the legendary sights of Andalusia.

Race to Costa Del Sol

In 2020 the Costa del Sol Tourist Board will sponsor the Ladies European Tour Order of Merit, which will be called the ‘Race to Costa del Sol’ and will offer an additional bonus pool of €250,000, split between the top three finishers.

The player who tops the Race to Costa del Sol rankings will receive an additional €125,000, with the second highest finisher receiving €75,000 and €50,000 for the third placed player following the season-long race. The winner will also receive a 7-year exemption under category 2A regulations.

The Race to Costa del Sol tees off in Australia in February with the Australian Ladies Classic Bonville and will culminate at the Andalucía Costa del Sol Open de España Femenino in November.

The Race to Costa del Sol will showcase the tourism excellence of both the Costa del Sol and Andalusia whilst providing a tremendous incentive for Ladies European Tour members.

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Boulden and Muirhead share 72-hole lead

MURCIA, SPAIN – January 24, 2019: Amy Boulden and Alison Muirhead share the lead heading into the final round of LET Qualifying School at La Manga Club in Murcia.

The leaders are tied on five-under-par 283 after four rounds, including two rounds on the North and South Courses respectively. They are one stroke ahead of Charlotte Thomas.

All the action will come a gripping climax in tomorrow’s final round, to be played over the South Course, after which the top five players will earn LET Membership in Category 5c, offering entrance into virtually all of the 24 tournaments on the 2020 LET schedule and access to the €18 million prize money. Players from the 6th to the 20th position will be eligible for Membership in Category 8a.

Players who have made the 72-hole cut to the leading 60 and ties and finished in position 21st and below, will be ranked according to score and be eligible for Membership in Category 9b. Players that failed to make the cut after 72 holes, will be eligible for LET membership in Category 12a.

Boulden, the 2014 Rookie of the Year, is looking to regain her LET card after a year on the Symetra Tour. The 26-year-old from Llandudno in Wales moved into a share of the lead with a brilliant four-under 67 on the North Course, where she also shot 67 in the second round.

Amy_Boulden
Amy_Boulden

She said: “Today the putts went in. The last three rounds I’ve not putted that great. I think it was the second round where I shot four-under, but didn’t make any putts. I played really good, but didn’t really hole anything to shoot four-under. Today, I didn’t hit it as close, but holed more putts.”

“I do really like the North course, although we are playing the South Course tomorrow! I do like the South Course as well, they are both really different and are great tests of golf.

“La Manga Club is amazing. I have been here over the years quite a lot. I played in the European’s here years ago and have been here for a couple of Pro-Ams the last few years, so I know the courses pretty well. The complex is lovely, there are loads of places to eat, everyone is very friendly and considering the weather we had just before we started this week, they did an incredible job to get it ready for us.”

After a tough third round of 77 on the North Course, co-leader Muirhead was delighted to bounce back with a bogey-free three-under-par round of 70 on the South.

The 21-year-old Scot said: “It was really steady today and I enjoyed it. The conditions altered during the round so it was good to keep it steady and hit a lot of greens. I just kept lipping out for birdie, so it was very nice to see the ball rolling close today and to bounce back, especially after yesterday. I’m very pleased.

“I’m feeling really good heading into tomorrow. It’s obviously another day, but I feel like my putter is working well. I didn’t hole as many putts today, but you obviously save them for the next day, so I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.”

Charlotte_Thomas
25/01/2020. Ladies European Tour. Final Stage Qualifying School. La Manga Club, South Course, Spain. Jan 22-26 2020 Charlotte Thomas of England during the fourth round. Credit: Tristan Jones

The best round of the day belonged to England’s Charlotte Thomas, who shot a five-under-par 68 on the South Course.

The 26-year-old from Guildford, who has played for two years on the Symetra Tour and a year on the LPGA, said: “I’ve played solid for the last three days and today I finally got some putts to drop and got some momentum going. I made some birdies, so it was really fun.

“I had a bit of a momentum swing on the ninth, because I was one-under through eight and then on nine, I missed the green from 90 yards and I chipped in for birdie and then I went birdie, birdie, on 10 and 11. That could easily have been a par or a soft bogey, but it turned into a birdie and gave me some momentum and I was able to carry it through. I feel like that was the turning point.”

Thomas has a full LPGA card for 2020 but is at LET Q-School with a view to becoming eligible to represent Europe in the Solheim Cup.

“Last year, I didn’t have LET membership, so I wasn’t even in contention to be able to be picked for it. I thought to myself, I better go and get my LET card and see what happens. That’s the two-year goal and it would be amazing to play,” she said.

“Watching it at Gleneagles, I was in Australia and watching it at 2 o’clock in the morning and running around the house screaming, so it was amazing to see that and so inspiring and it made me want to be out there and do that even more.

“I’m going to try and play in as many events as I can this year, to get as many points as I can. I’ll play a bit of both tours, LET and LPGA.

“The new LET schedule is amazing, it’s so cool. It’s so exciting and good for women’s golf to see that. I have played in a few LET events here and there in the past but to see that kind of growth is amazing.”

Rachel Drummond, whose round included a hole-in-one on the South Course’s 12th hole, made the cut on the number and was one of 65 players at 10-over-par or better to advance to the final round.

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HEWSON EAGLES THE ARNOLD PALMER 18TH HOLE TO LEAD AT LA MANGA

The wind picked up at La Manga Club and provided testing conditions with only six players out of the 120 Final Stage Qualifying field under par across at the resort in Cartagena, Spain. One player who didn’t struggle was England’s Alice Hewson who fired an impressive three-under-par 70 on the South Course to take the overnight lead.

In 1975, American legend Arnold Palmer famously finished with an eagle on the par-5 18th hole on the South Course to win the Spanish Open by one shot and La Manga Club dedicated the hole in honour of him. Like Palmer, Hewson finished the round in style with an eagle on the par-5 18th and jumped to the top of the leaderboard on three-under-par, one shot clear of Sweden’s Josefine Nyqvist and Scotland’s Alison Muirhead.

The 22-year-old European Ladies’ Amateur Champion, from Berkhamsted Golf Club commented: “It was a nice way to finish with an eagle, it was definitely a highlight. I split the fairway with my drive, I had 189 yards to the pin and hit a six iron to three feet.

“In the wind you just have to stick with your game and trust your swing and today I stuck to my processes and swing thoughts. I am going to approach the next two days like I have over the last couple of weeks. It’s all about hitting fairways and greens out there and giving yourself good opportunities. They will come, the North and South are not courses that you are going to go bogey-free every round. I’ve got to keep giving myself the opportunities and let the putts go in.”

Nyqvist, who graduated from Augusta University two years ago, posted a two-under-par 71 on the South Course to move into a share of second position on two-under-par. The 25-year-old was extremely happy with her round and reflected: “It was tough out there today so I just tried to keep the ball in play from the tee all the time, hit the greens and make my pars. I managed to roll in some birdies near the end, so that was a lot of fun.

“I was at Augusta University for four years and we got to play Augusta National once every year. That was amazing! La Manga Club resort is amazing too. Following the storm the greenkeepers did an incredible job, the courses are in great shape.”

It was a tough day for the overnight leader Muirhead who posted a six-over-par 77 on the North Course but she can still be buoyed by the fact that she sits in second place with two rounds to go. EunJung Ji, Amy Boulden and Sophie Hausmann finished the third day on one-under-par.

After the Final Round, the top five players will be eligible for LET Membership in Category 5c. Players from the 6th to the 20th position will be eligible for Membership in Category 8a. Players who have made the 72-hole cut to the leading 60 and ties and finished in position 21st and below, will be ranked according to score and be eligible for Membership in Category 9b. Players that fail to make the cut after 72 holes, will be eligible for LET membership in Category 12a and will be ranked in final score order.

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Morgane Metraux Leads At La Manga Club

MURCIA, SPAIN – January 22, 2020: Day one of Ladies European Tour Qualifying School got underway on the North and South Courses at La Manga Club on Wednesday, in somewhat benign conditions in comparison to what had been experienced over the previous couple of days, with Storm Gloria causing destruction at the resort in Cartagena, Spain.
The club’s greenkeepers have been working overtime to prepare the course after 150 trees were ripped out across the resort’s golf courses during the storm. They have done an incredible job and play got underway in excellent conditions for the first round of final stage qualifying for the 2020 LET season.
After taking a year out due to a shoulder injury, Switzerland’s Morgane Metraux made the most of the improved conditions to card an opening round three-under-par 68 on the North Course and take the overnight clubhouse lead. After signing for the round of the day, Morgane reflected: “I have had a full year off until now, because of my injury. Firstly, to be able to play is really amazing and to play this well is a really, really good feeling for me.
“I was lucky that I played in the Pre-Qualifier, as I knew the courses so I didn’t have to practice in the storm over the last few days when it’s been raining a lot. The courses have softened up since last week but definitely drain very well compared to the amount of rain that we have had.
“I holed a few long putts which was a big bonus today. My putting was really good and my iron play was solid. La Manga Club is great. I wasn’t actually planning on playing due to my injury and coming here I wasn’t expecting too much in terms of my golf. The resort is really good and if you compare it with the conditions we have had, the place is tremendous.”
Alison Muirhead, who won the Pre-Qualifier last week, continued her excellent form carding an opening round two-under-par 69 on the North Course. The 21-year-old from Scotland commented: “I am pretty pleased with my start. I played really solid and hit a lot of fairways and greens. I feel there are plenty of birdie opportunities out there but if the wind is like this, it is definitely going to make it tough. I’m feeling excited about the next four days.”
Frida Gustafsson Spang was very happy with an opening round two-under-par 69 and also was grateful for the work that the greenkeepers have done. The Swedish star said: “I’m very happy. Obviously I had a lot of nerves as I haven’t competed for a while, so I was very happy that I could keep everything very solid. I tried to play smart and strategic golf, especially with the wind.
22/01/2020. Ladies European Tour. Qualifying School, Final Stage. Real Golf La Manga Club, Spain, Jan 22-26 2020. Sharmila Nicollet of India during the first round. Credit: Tristan Jones.
22/01/2020. Ladies European Tour. Qualifying School, Final Stage. Real Golf La Manga Club, Spain, Jan 22-26 2020. Sharmila Nicollet of India during the first round. Credit: Tristan Jones.
“The greenkeepers have done an amazing job. I have been talking about the storm with friends as we were expecting wet shoes but my shoes are still super dry! The course handles the rain very well but we also have had many trees come down. They have cleared everything, so they must have been working so hard and we are very happy for everything that they have done to make the course super good. La Manga Club is great. It is so nice to have everything in one spot. We have beautiful courses, everything is easily accessible and there are great facilities.”
Sweden’s My Leander joined Frida and Alison on two-under-par and reflected: “It was a fun round today. I had three early birdies on the front nine which helped. I managed to hit a lot of shots close to the pins today. It’s been raining for two days but the courses are holding up really well. La Manga Club is so beautiful. It’s nice to see some sunshine today and it’s probably going to get even better tomorrow.”
Swaziland’s Nobuhle Dlamini shot the best round of the day on the South Course, posting a two-under-par 71. Making up a seven way share for second position on two-under-par are Germany’s Leonie Harm, France Emilie Piquot and Spain’s Marta Martin.
21/01/2020. Ladies European Tour. Qualifying School, Final Stage. Real Golf La Manga Club, Spain, Jan 22-26 2020. A view across the golf course. Credit: Tristan Jones.
There are 120 players competing at the Final Stage of Qualifying School. After the Final Round, the top five players will be eligible for LET Membership in Category 5c. Players from the 6th to the 20th position will be eligible for Membership in Category 8a. Players who have made the 72-hole cut to the leading 60 and ties and finished in position 21st and below, will be ranked according to score and be eligible for Membership in Category 9b. Players that fail to make the cut after 72 holes, will be eligible for LET membership in Category 12a and will be ranked in final score order.

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The R&A and European Tour To Help Drive New LPGA-LET Joint Venture

Two of golf’s leading organisations have committed to support the growth of women’s professional golf through the newly formed LPGA-LET partnership

The R&A and the men’s European Tour have committed to help the newly formed joint venture between the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) and the Ladies European Tour (LET) in its efforts to significantly grow playing opportunities, financial incentives and television exposure for women’s professional golf in Europe and around the world.

As well as providing financial support and leveraging other assets they manage, the bodies will each have one seat on the new LPGA-LET Joint Venture Board of Directors.

Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said, “Building a strong and sustainable Ladies European Tour is fully consistent with the aims of The R&A Women in Golf Charter. We support the vision of the LPGA-LET joint venture to create significantly more opportunities for women and girls to pursue their dreams in golf here in Europe and to inspire future generations to take up the sport. We look forward to working with the LPGA-LET team as a board member of this important venture.”

Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of the European Tour, said, “The European Tour has already had the opportunity to host events involving LET members and we’ve seen their talent and drive first-hand. Looking ahead to our 2020 schedule, we have added another new and exciting co-sanctioned event with the LET in Sweden and are pursuing similar opportunities in other markets.

The women professionals bring a different dynamic and fan base to the game – all of which improves our sport – and we look forward to building a strong women’s professional presence through this new collaborative approach.”

While the LPGA might have been the first organisation to reach out to the LET in an effort to create an even stronger entity, LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan always knew he could count on the support of others. “It’s exciting to see so many stakeholders in the game give their attention and their support to rebuilding a stronger women’s professional tour in Europe,” said Whan. “This significant commitment by The R&A and the European Tour is an immediate, important endorsement of the vision for the new LPGA-LET partnership.”

“Great businesses typically start with great leadership teams,” said LET Board Chair Marta Figueras-Dotti. “Adding leadership from the LPGA, The R&A and the European Tour to our newly formed board is a recipe for success. I can’t wait to get started!”

The commitment and engagement of The R&A and the European Tour provides more velocity, energy and expertise to help the newly formed LPGA-LET partnership. It’s an exciting time for golf – when top organisations not only look out for their own interests but are also compassionate enough to help support others that are trying to achieve similar results for the women’s game.

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Esther Henseleit wins LET order of merit with Kenyan victory

VIPINGO, KENYA – December 8, 2019: Esther Henseleit carded a course record eight under par 64 to win the inaugural Magical Kenya Ladies Open presented by Safaricom’s M-Pesa by one shot and clinch the Ladies European Tour Order of Merit title on a dramatic final day at Vipingo Ridge near Mombasa.

The 20-year-old first-year professional golfer from Hamburg became only the third player in the 41-year history of the Ladies European Tour to capture the Order of Merit and Rookie of the Year titles in the same season, following Dame Laura Davies in 1985 and Carlota Ciganda, in 2012.

Victory saw Henseleit leapfrog Marianne Skarpnord as the European No 1 and become the first German player to win either the Order of Merit or Rookie of the Year titles.

Henseleit posted eight birdies on the Baobab Course at Vipingo Ridge to post a winning total of 14 under par, one better than India’s Aditi Ashok, who shot 65. Overnight leader Julia Engström ended third after a 74.

Henseleit started the day seven strokes behind Engström but quickly made a charge with birdies on the first, fourth, sixth, seventh and ninth holes to get within two of Engström at the turn.

Engström three-putted the 10th as Henseleit birdied the 11th and the pair were tied on 12 under par. Henseleit pulled one stroke ahead with a birdie from six feet on the 13th hole and then went two clear after Engström bogeyed the 13th.

Henseleit added an eighth birdie from four feet at the 15th to move three strokes clear, but saw her lead cut to one as Ashok birdied the 16th and 18th.

Henseleit ended with three pars to ensure her first Ladies European Tour title, following a breakthrough professional win earlier this year on the LET Access Series, in the Skaftö Open.

Henseleit said: “To close the season with a win is the best feeling I could imagine. To be the Order of Merit winner and Rookie of the Year is just unbelievable.

“Yesterday, after my round, I was a bit disappointed but I just tried to do everything better today. I definitely tried to win, although I knew it would be really hard.

“After nine holes, I saw I was two shots back and I knew it was possible.

“I just tried to make a lot of birdies and I hit some great iron shots and gave myself many short birdie putts. The course was beautiful and it played a bit easier today, because the greens were softer. I did the best I could.”

Henseleit, who finished third at LET Qualifying School 12 months ago and turned professional in January with a handicap of +7.1, knew that she needed to win the Magical Kenya Ladies Open to snatch the Order of Merit and she delivered under pressure.

Her season included one win and eight further top-10 finishes, including four second places in the Omega Dubai Moonlight Classic, La Reserva de Sotogrande Invitational, Ladies European Thailand Championship and Estrella Damm Mediterranean Ladies Open.

She said: “It’s been a great year on the Ladies European Tour. It’s a really friendly tour and it’s been great to travel the world each week with all the other golfers.”

Ladies European Tour Order of Merit winners

 

Winners of the Order of Merit

1979 Catherine Panton-Lewis

1980 Muriel Thomson

1981 Jenny Lee Smith

1982 Jenny Lee Smith

1983 Muriel Thomson

1984 Dale Reid

1985 Laura Davies

1986 Laura Davies

1987 Dale Reid

1988 Marie-Laure Taya

1989 Marie-Laure de Lorenzi

1990 Trish Johnson

1991 Corinne Dibnah £89,058.00

1992 Laura Davies £66,333.00

1993 Karen Lunn £81,266.00

1994 Liselotte Neumann £102,750.00

1995 Annika Sorenstam £130,324.00

1996 Laura Davies £110,880.00

1997 Alison Nicholas £94,589.00

1998 Helen Alfredsson £125,975.00

1999 Laura Davies £204,522.00

2000 Sophie Gustafson £208,288.00

2001 Raquel Carriedo £160,441.00

2002 Annika Sorenstam €455,567.99

2003 Annika Sorenstam €286,991.24

2004 Annika Sorenstam €368,264.22

2005 Iben Tinning €204,672.62

2006 Laura Davies €471,727.42

2007 Sophie Gustafson €222,081.47

2008 Gwladys Nocera €391,839.58

2009 Sophie Gustafson €281,315.00

2010 Lee-Anne Pace €339,517.77

2011 Ai Miyazato €363,079.68

2012 Carlota Ciganda €251,289.95

2013 Suzann Pettersen €518,448.81

2014 Charley Hull €247,616.69

2015 Shanshan Feng €399,213.41

2016 Beth Allen €313,079.27

2017 Georgia Hall €368,934.60

2018 Georgia Hall €512,101.73 / 667.73 points

2019 Esther Henseleit €208,659.94 / 743.06 points

 

LET Rookie of the Year Winners

 

1984 Kitrina Douglas £19,900.00

1985 Laura Davies £21,736.00

1986 Patricia Gonzalez £7,570.00

1987 Trish Johnson £35,718.00

1988 Laurette Maritz £29,362.00

1989 Helen Alfredsson £20,355.00

1990 Pearl Sinn £28,407.00

1991 Helen Wadsworth £17,765.00

1992 Sandrine Mendiburu £26,896.00

1993 Annika Sorenstam £55,927.00

1994 Tracy Hanson £44,205.00

1995 Karrie Webb £90,556.00

1996 Anne-Marie Knight £31,322.00

1997 Anna Berg £19,333.00

1998 Laura Philo £26,574.00

1999 Elaine Ratcliffe £12,146.00

2000 Giulia Sergas £21,335.00

2001 Suzann Pettersen £129,546.00

2002 Kirsty S Taylor €52,903.90

2003 Rebecca Stevenson €70,065.38

2004 Minea Blomqvist €105,020.61

2005 Elisa Serramia €36,366.59

2006 Nikki Garrett €99,445.05

2007 Louise Stahle €79,678.66

2008 Melissa Reid €136,606.00

2009 Anna Nordqvist €100,966.44

2010 In-Kyung Kim €193,194.69

2011 Caroline Hedwall €278,528.87

2012 Carlota Ciganda €251,289.95

2013 Charley Hull €135,994.36

2014 Amy Boulden €83,982.17

2015 Emily Kristine Pedersen €171,688.41

2016 Aditi Ashok €206,664.97

2017 Georgia Hall €368,934.60

2018 Julia Engström €37,385.94 149.15 points

2019 Esther Henseleit €208,659.94 / 743.06 points