22 Dec 17
Lydia Hall made history when she became the first player to win back-to-back WPGA Order of Merit titles – and the Welsh player is determined to continue raising the profile of the women’s game by returning when she can in 2018.
The Women’s European Tour regular won all five of the WPGA One Day Series events she entered in 2017 and also tasted success at the WPGA International Challenge in October.
Little Aston was the venue for Hall’s first win at the beginning of May although she didn’t have it all her own way in Sutton Coldfield. Nikki Dunn could have walked away as winner, but she dropped a shot at the 18th which allowed Hall to earn a share of the spoils.
Bridgend-Born Hall, who works as an assistant at the Hensol Golf Academy in Wales, recorded her second One Day Series victory at Dunham Forest before returning from a back injury to win the Kedleston Park event by eight shots.
Hall continued her dominance in the competition by collecting her fourth win at Chestfield at the back end of July and completed her 100 per cent record at South Herts in early September by leading the professional contingent home in the final event of the series.
Hall capped a memorable 2017 by completing a wire-to-wire victory in the WPGA International Challenge at Stoke by Nayland.
“They’re great events to play in and it’s really important that we try and grow the women’s game as much as we can,” said Hall.
“It’s great for us to go to these golf club and raise the profile of the women’s game. The members see that there are female professionals out there competing as well as the men.
“For me it’s really important to support the WPGA because these events allow me to keep competitive, but also help raise the standard of the women’s game as well.”
Hall’s withdrawal from the third One Day Series allowed Falmouth’s Katie Rule to finish top of the pile for the first time in 2017.
The 25-year-old made the 700-mile round trip from Cornwall to Three Rivers Golf Club and she beat the wet elements to card a three over par round of 77 in Essex.
Speaking after her win, Rule said “I had to use a bit more imagination in the conditions; it was very difficult. I didn’t get home until 4.30am. Me and my dad split the driving, but picking up the win made the trip worthwhile enough.”
Hall’s absence in round six presented an opportunity for Sarah Smith to record her first win of the season at Salisbury & South Wilts Golf Club.
Earlier in the season there was also a cause for celebration for former US Women’s Open winner Alison Nicholas.
The experienced pro overcame Marie Martindale and Ali Gray in a dramatic play-off to win the Women’s PGA Championship at The Berkshire.
Speaking after her dramatic win, Nicholas said: “I wanted to win this. The first time I played in this competition I was awful, I didn’t play well at all. I played reasonably well last year but I was playing catch-up a bit because I didn’t have a great first round.
“I think winning this is the icing in the cake. Perhaps I should just hang up my boots now! I’m getting on a bit and I’m feeling it now. My body is aching but it feels great.”
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