Two former English champions will return to top level Tour golf in next week’s ISPS Handa Ladies’ European Masters at The Buckinghamshire – thanks to England Golf.
Kiran Matharu (top) from Cookridge Hall in Yorkshire, and Lucy Williams, from Mid-Herts, have had players’ invitations passed to them by England Golf as part of a strategy to support former amateurs.
Rebecca Wood, England Golf’s Performance Manager for women’s golf, commented: “We are keen to support and provide opportunities for young players to bridge the gap between amateur and professional golf.
“These two invitations will give Kiran and Lucy a platform to step up and perform at the highest level in European professional golf and may change their fortunes for the future.”
For both players the event, which starts on Friday July 26, marks a return to the big-time. Kiran, 24, took a few months off after losing her LET card at the end of last season and said: “I didn’t enjoy it anymore and that’s why I had a break. I only started playing again when I wanted to.
“I really wanted to play at The Buckinghamshire so I really appreciated the invitation,” she added
Now, with some changes made, her game is in good shape and Kiran has already eased through this week’s pre-qualifying event for the Ricoh Women’s British Open. “I’m playing well – I wasn’t before, but I’ve made a few changes and now I’m getting ready for next week.
“I played well there last year, even though I was struggling and hardly hitting any fairways, and I’m definitely a better player than last year.”
Kiran was the 2006 English champion and turned pro later that year after playing in the Curtis Cup. Despite losing her card, she’s had a number of high finishes and is a past winner of the Volvo Cross Country Challenge, a mini order of merit covering events in the Nordic countries.
Lucy Williams also 24, is also approaching the event with a renewed appetite for the game and a recent success under her belt, having won the WPGA championship at Slaley Hall by 11 shots.
She combined her amateur golf with a degree in Applied Golf Management Studies at Birmingham University and also qualified as a PGA professional. Lucy enjoyed plenty of success, winning the 2011 English amateur, the 2008 English mid-amateur and helping her university to win the world student matchplay championship.
She found the transition to Tour golf challenging, playing initially on the LET and, for the first part of this year, on the Access Series, where the top 25 players and ties make the cut. “I found that quite difficult and felt I was putting pressure on my golf and not enjoying it.
“So I started playing smaller events to try and enjoy playing again and get my confidence up again. I’m playing nicely and looking forward to next week.”
She knows and likes the course, it’s only 45 minutes from home, her father, David, will be on the bag, and there will be a get-together with friends who have also made the move from amateur to pro ranks over recent years. “I’m really excited about playing in it” said Lucy.
In addition to these invites, England Golf is also supporting an inaugural LET Access Series event in England, the WPGA International Challenge at Stoke-By-Nayland in September.
For more information at the ISPS Handa Ladies’ European Masters visit www.ladieseuropeanmasters.com Anyone who pre-registers by midnight on Wednesday 24th July 2013 will get a special offer price of a £10 season ticket per person.
Image © Tristan Jones