Claire Coughlan grabbed the top card at the Ladies European Tour School - with a little help from fiancé David Ryan.

The Little Island dynamo, 26, closed with a three under par 69 at La Cala to share top spot with England’s Samantha Head on seven under par.

And that means that she will joined Rebecca Coakley and former Curtis Cup team mate Martina Gillen on the Ladies European Tour next term.


It was a fantastic week in Spain for the Cork ace, who started the final round two shots behind Head but rallied with birdies at the 16th and 18th to tie for first place.

And she paid tribute to her fiancé David, the professional at Cahir Park in Tipperary, for his caddying skills.

Coughlan beamed: "It was an enjoyable week and myself and David worked very well together. He knows my game so well and to finish first or joint first was great. It was a grand bonus.

"With Martina getting her card as well it is a great day for Ireland and for Irish golf.

"I'd be mad not to turn professional now so I'm really looking forward to it."

Coughlan and Ryan plan to marry next September and on the evidence of her play in the tour school, she could earn a handsome living on the pro tour next term.

Starting the day two shots behind Head, the Cork starlet was three adrift of the lead at the turn despite holing for six feet for eagle at the par-five eighth.

But Head, who went to the turn in three under, was caught on the line by Coughlan as she bogeyed the 10th, double bogeyed the 16th and birdied the 18th to come home in two-over 38 for a 71.

Coughlan bogeyed the 10th but birdied the 16th and 18th to draw level with the more experienced Englishwoman.

She added: "It just feels tremendous. The game is in great shape. I am looking forward to a bit of a break now and enjoying Christmas.

"I was nervous for the first two holes but after that I was fine. I had nothing to lose."

After 72 holes, exactly 28 players earned their full cards for the 2007 Ladies European Tour schedule with five over par 293 being the cut off mark.

And that meant good news for Coughlan's Curtis Cup team mate Gillen from Beaverstown, who had five birdies and three bogeys in a super 70 to make it on the mark.

Coughlan said: "Martina did great. She had a great last round on a course were you could get yourself into trouble quite easily."

Stacy Lee Bregman of South Africa and England’s Kiran Matharu tied for third place on five under par to claim their full playing privileges for the 2007 season.

Matharu closed with a 71 to qualify as the Tour’s second youngest member after Korea’s Amy Yang, at the age of 17 years and nine months.

Stefanie Michl of Austria took the fifth card after finishing on three-under-par after a final round 73.