Professional Challenge for England’s top 20 women

Alex Peters

Twenty of England’s leading women amateurs will be offered a taste of Tour life next month at the WPGA International Challenge on the Ladies European Tour Access Series (LETAS).

Invitations to play in the Challenge will go to the top 20 players on the England Golf women’s order of merit, sponsored by Lorrin Golf. They will play in an international field which will include Alison Nicholas, Europe’s winning captain at the 2011 Solheim Cup and a past US Open champion.

The Challenge, which is the only LETAS event to be played in the UK, is supported by England Golf and will take place at Stoke by Nayland Hotel Golf and Spa, on the Suffolk/Essex border, from September 26-28.

Rebecca Wood, the England Golf women’s Performance Manager, remarked: “This is a fantastic opportunity and a step forward for England Golf to be able to support this event.

“We know that many of our players aspire to becoming successful professionals and this will help them to prepare for their future careers.”

The LET Access Series was formed to create additional playing opportunities for women golfers and also to provide an important link between elite amateur and professional golf.

Tour Director Di Barnard commented: “It’s very important to give amateurs the opportunity to compete against professionals. It’s a guide to where they are with their own game and a chance to experience professional golf before they decide if it’s something they want to do.”

Amateurs are able to join the LETAS and to compete alongside the professionals for the five LET Tour cards awarded each year. A further 15 players win places at the final qualifying school for the LET.  “We have very positive feedback from our amateurs,” said Di.

She went on: “This event will be great. It will be very well supported and we are delighted that Alison Nicholas is playing. All the players will aspire to a career like Alison’s and it’s great that she’ll be able to pass on her knowledge and expertise.”

There are still three events to be played before the England Golf women’s order of merit is finalised at the end of the season but the current leaders are:

Alex Peters – Notts Ladies’ (Image © Leaderboard Photography)
Georgia Hall – Remedy Oak
Gabriella Cowley – Brocket Hall
Sarah-Jane Boyd – Truro
Meghan MacLaren – Wellingborough
Rachael Goodall – Heswall
Olivia Winning  – Rotherham
Sammy Fuller – Roehampton
Chelsea Masters – Highwoods
Lauren Taylor – Woburn
Poppy Finlay – Vicars Cross
Amber Ratcliffe – Royal Cromer
Hayley Davis – Ferndown
Lucy Goddard – Mid-Herts
Charlotte Thompson – Channels
Emma Tayler – Saunton
Jess Wilcox  – Blankney
Bethany Garton – Royal Lytham & St Annes
Kerry Smith – Waterlooville
Jo Hodge – The Kendleshire