Smart Striving for Success: Defending champion has eyes on the WPGA Pro Champs prize

Smart Striving for Success: Defending champion has eyes on the WPGA Pro Champs prize


Saunton Golf Club’s Jessica Smart will be going into the Women’s PGA Professional Championship as defending champion and after making the 2022 WPGA Cup Team, she’s keen to repeat the experience this year.

The Women’s PGA Professional and Assistants’ Championship takes place on 1-2 July at Goswick Links Golf Club, a new venue for the tournament, situated along the rugged Northumberland coast.

Fresh from hosting Open Qualifying, the venue should pose a tough test for the players.

Smart, who is based at a links course, is looking forward to the challenge: “It's really exciting. I'm looking forward to competing, especially as it's a new course, I'm used to the links conditions and playing in the wind, so it won't be too much of a shock for me.”

The tournament will not only crown the Women’s PGA Professional Champion and the Women’s PGA Assistants’ Champion, but also holds two qualifying spots for the Women’s PGA Cup Team, who will head to Sunriver Resort in Oregon in October.

Smart said of the qualification opportunity: “It’s definitely a motivation for me, especially playing the last one and having that experience, that'll probably be in the back of my mind when I play. I'd love to get back on the team and have another go at it.

“It’s so much fun, it's such a good week. Last time they looked after us really well, we played a lovely course, and everyone was just so friendly - even though it was a big event and everyone wanted to win, all the other teams were so friendly, we'd sit around in the evening and chat, and it was such a nice environment to be in. It was really nice to be part of a team again and have that kind of atmosphere, so fingers crossed!”

Another player who is keen to make WPGA Cup Captain, Cathy Panton-Lewis’ Great Britain and Ireland team is Heather MacRae (The Gleneagles Hotel), who said:

“It's a really important week for me - playing this Championship is the highlight of the year, tournament-wise, so I'm definitely going to be trying to win it. I don't have as many hours of practice in the bank this year compared to other years, but it's a links course and hopefully playing the PGA Professional Championship at Conwy might have prepared me for that, so I'm looking forward to it.

The qualification process allocates points based on both the 2023 and 2024 Women’s PGA Professional Championship, with the top two gaining places in the team.

MacRae continued: “I know what I have to do - I'm sitting third in the rankings at the minute, so it's my goal to try and get into the top two. I'm not competing as much at the moment, but the WPGA Cup is the one thing that keeps me going out and practising - the one we played two years ago in New Mexico was one of the best golf experiences that I've ever had. I would love to keep playing the WPGA Cup as long as I can. I definitely don't really want to miss out this year.”

An additional two team members will be decided by their performance in the 2023 and 2024 WPGA Series’, with the final team member being selected by WPGA Cup Captain, Cathy Panton-Lewis.

Check out the field and follow the scoring from the Women’s PGA Professional and Assistants’ Championship here.

Find out more about the WPGA Cup here.


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