11 Sep 19
Women’s PGA Order of Merit winner Holly Morgan is relishing the challenge of pitting her skills against future Ladies European Tour members in the LET Access Series this week.
The 22-year-old PGA Assistant will be making her debut in the WPGA International Challenge at Stoke by Nayland Hotel Golf and Spa in Suffolk.
She goes into the event on the back of topping the 2019 Women’s PGA Order of Merit at the first attempt after playing in just three of its seven events.
Morgan, who is attached to the Hallamshire Golf Club, Sheffield, served notice of things to come in her first appearance in the WPGA One-Day Series at Open Championship regional qualifying venue, Kedleston Park, Derbyshire.
She posted a six-under-par round of 68 to win by five shots and followed up by winning the next event at Chestfield Golf Club, Kent.
She had to settle for second place in the last of the series at Salisbury and South Wilts Golf Club, however, but that was sufficient for her to become the second youngest winner of the Order of Merit.
Commenting on her delayed participation in the series, Morgan said: “The dates of the early ones didn’t fall well for me.”
Furthermore, she did not expect to play much after spending two years on a golf scholarship in Chattanooga, Tennessee, before embarking on her PGA training.
“I loved it in America and, initially, the plan when I came back was to coach,” she added.
“But I’m glad I started playing when I did. I’m surprised I’ve done so well but I’ve enjoyed my golf and that’s helped me play better.
“Now I’m really looking forward to the tournament at Stoke by Nayland. I’ve not played at this level before or against any of the LET Access Series players. So it will be a good test for my game and I relish the challenge.”
Morgan will be one of nine PGA Members playing in the event which will be staged at the Suffolk resort for the seventh successive year.
Tour director Di Barnard commented: “All the players are thrilled to be returning to Stoke by Nayland. It’s a course they love, the organisers are always extremely welcoming and it’s a great atmosphere. We would like to extend a huge thank you to the venue for their support of the event.”
The PGA contingent includes two members of the Great Britain and Ireland team that will take part in the inaugural Women’s PGA Cup in Texas next month, Ali Gray and Maria Tulley.
WPGA Cup team members Ali Gray (above) and Maria Tully (below)
They will all be up against LET Access Series leader, England’s Hayley Davis and three former winners of the event, defending champion Manon de Roey and her predecessors Lydia Hall and Natalia Escuriola, winners in 2017 and 2016 respectively.
The tournament at Stoke by Nayland is the third last in the LET Access Series and the top five in the Order of Merit earn Ladies European Tour cards.
Davis, with 26,787.5 points, is in the driving seat to claim one of them and holds a 1,926.5 point advantage over Finland’s Saana Nuutinen.
Davis has earned one victory - at the Bossey Ladies Championship – and posted seven further top 10 finishes so far from 12 appearances this season, but it’s far from out of reach for Nuutinen, as the winner will earn 5000 points.
In winning the Amundi Czech Ladies Challenge for her second LETAS title, Nuutinen came from behind to win by one and the Finn has recorded five further top 10 finishes this season, including a share of second with Davis, Charlotte Thompson and Anais Meysonnier in the recent Tipsport Czech Ladies Open, where they finished a stroke behind Carly Booth.
With 15,000 points still at stake across the final three tournaments, mathematically anyone in the top 14 can still earn a coveted card.