03 Jun 19
Maria Tulley’s despair at not qualifying for Great Britain and Ireland’s Women’s PGA Cup team has turned to delight at the news she is the captain’s pick to complete the line-up.
Tulley has joined Heather MacRae, Ali Gray, Suzanne Dickens and Hazel Kavanagh in the team that will contest the inaugural Women's PGA Cup in Austin, Texas, in the last week of October.
The 32-year-old received the news in a phone call from non-playing captain Tracey Loveys – a call that brought a happy ending to a weekend of disappointment and surreal series of events.
With automatic selection for the team based on points accumulated from the 2018 and 2019 Women’s PGA Championships at Trentham, Tulley believed she had earned enough to qualify when she finished tied sixth with two others in this year’s event.
And until Jess Rigby, who was playing in the last group, holed her approach to the par-five 18th for an eagle, she had.
Tulley, who is attached to Eastbourne Downs Golf Club, Sussex, recalled: “I had completed my round an hour earlier and was having a drink in the clubhouse with Dave Hoyles, my caddy.
“We saw the shot but, apart from remarking how good it was, didn’t think much about it.
“Then we learned it meant Jess also finished tied sixth and reduced the points I had. That put me level with Suzanne and, with Heather, Ali and Hazel already qualified, we had to play-off for the final place.”
Dickens won that at the first extra hole and Tulley added: “I knew I only had myself to blame.
“I was well-placed after last year but I had a bad first round. I was five-over and hadn’t played that badly for so long.
“I improved in the second round and thought I’d done enough. I was gutted when I missed out in the play-off and, with a four-and-a-half drive home, had plenty of time to think about it.
“It really hit me after an hour or so and I had to stop and shed a few tears. I really wanted to make the team and knew I had messed up.”
“It ruined my weekend – I didn’t think about the possibility of the captain’s pick so when Tracey rang me I was delighted.
“Apart from Hazel, I know all the other girls well. Heather and I have played LETAS events together and I’m really looking forward to meeting up with them all.”
Commenting on the selection, Loveys said: “I know how upset she was at missing out in the play-off and I’m delighted for her. She’s a very good player and deserves her place in the team.”
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