English amateurs to play in WPGA Challenge

Alex Peters

Fifteen top English women amateurs will be in the field when the WPGA International Challenge returns to Stoke by Nayland next week.

The 54-hole event, which takes place from October 16-18, is the only event on the LET Access Series to be staged in the UK in 2014.

It was launched last year by the PGA to increase support of the women’s game and the field will include 15 WPGA members

In a boost for leading amateurs, 15 places have also been earmarked for England Golf, recognising LETAS’s commitment to providing an important link between elite amateur and professional golf.

The 15 amateurs who have been offered places are: Annabel Bailey (Kirby Muxloe, Leicestershire), Lianna Bailey (Kirby Muxloe, Leicetershire), Gemma Clews (Delamere Forest, Cheshire), India Clyburn (Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire), Gabriella Cowley (Hanbury Manor, Hertfordshire), Annabel Dimmock (Wentworth, Surrey), Emma Goddard (Royal Liverpool, Cheshire), Lucy Goddard (Hanbury Manor, Hertfordshire), Ellie Goodall (Selby, Yorkshire), Alice Hewson (Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire), Lauren Horsford (Wimbledon Park, Surrey), Sophie Keech (Parkstone, Dorset), Alex Peters (Notts Ladies, Nottinghamshire, image © Leaderboard Photography), Bethan Popel (Long Ashton, Gloucestershire) and Kerry Smith (Waterlooville, Hampshire).

The opportunity for England’s leading women amateurs to gain valuable experience has been praised by Rebecca Wood, Women’s Performance Manager at England Golf.

She said: “England Golf is delighted to be a partner with the LET Access Tour. The Access Tour provides a valuable opportunity for our top players as they progress from their amateur career by providing entry to competitive professional events.”

Di Barnard, Tour Director of the LET Access Series said: “We are delighted the 2014 WPGA International Challenge will be played at Stoke by Nayland Hotel Golf and Spa.

"The event receives great support from the PGA and England Golf and is a very important stop on the LETAS schedule, as a large part of the membership hails from the UK. The Gainsborough course at Stoke by Nayland is a wonderful test for the players and we look forward to welcoming everyone to the tournament.”

Hannah Ralph won last year’s inaugural tournament and organisers expect another strong field with a minimum prize fund of €30,000 at stake in the tournament.

Situated on the Suffolk/Essex border, Stoke by Nayland has the experience of staging European Challenge Tour, European Senior Tour and PGA Europro events.

Susanna Rendall, managing director of the family-owned Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf & Spa, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to once again be hosting the WPGA International Challenge.

“We very much look forward to welcoming these talented golfers here from all over the world – and to playing our part in helping to promote women’s international golf.”