Danielle McVeigh will get some perfect preparation for a double Q-School tilt next month when she tees it up in this week’s Murcia Ladies Open.
The Ladies’ Golf Union is breaking new ground in sending Curtis Cup player McVeigh (Royal Co Down Ladies) and Ladies British Open Amateur Champion Kelly Tidy (Royal Birkdale) to compete in this week’s Ladies European Tour Access Series event at La Manga Club in south-east Spain.
The Access Series is the official “feeder” for the LET and the winner of this year’s Series, who will be announced after Dubai at the start of next month, will receive an LET Tour Card for 2011.
Because the LGU works closely with the LET on a number of initiatives, the LGU was offered two amateur places in the field for the Murcia Ladies Open which starts on Thursday.
Shona Malcolm, CEO of the LGU, explained the thinking behind encouraging two leading amateurs to play in a professional tour event:
“The LGU has become increasingly concerned at the number of top amateurs who turn professional, don’t make the grade and end up being lost to the game.
“We recognise that when players reach the standard required for inclusion in GB&I squads, many of them will have ambitions to turn professional, and we aim to make sure that they do that at the right time for them, when they are proven winners who have reached the very top of the amateur game and, importantly, when they have the right life skills and experience to help them on their way.
“In the last 18 months, we have been working in collaboration with the Ladies’ European Tour on a number of initiatives, the latest of which has afforded us the opportunity to send two squad members to participate in the Access Series event in Spain.
“Both Danielle and Kelly will have the chance to test themselves against the current crop of LET professionals, and to get a taste of life on tour – the good and the bad. We hope this will be the first of a number of taster opportunities for the top amateur players and that, through such exercises, the LGU can contribute in a positive way when players are deciding whether to remain as career amateurs or turn professional.”
With players from 25 different nations in the field, representing countries as far afield as Argentina, Estonia, Morocco, Serbia and South Africa, the Murcia Ladies Open will be one of the most international tournaments on the LET Access Series circuit and overall there will be 17 amateurs in the field.
McVeigh came through a sectional qualifier for the US LPGA Tour Qualifying School last month and plans to try for her card on both sides of the pond.
As she told Belfast golf writer Paul Kelly recently: “I’m asking Santa Claus for two tour cards. That’s not too much to ask for, hopefully he will deliver.”
McVeigh will tee it up alongside Carlow’s Tara Delaney in pre-qualifying for the Ladies European Tour Q-School at La Manga from November 29 to December 2.
The top 60 and ties progress to the finals at La Manga from December 15-18 with the top 30 players there earning LET membership in Category 8a.
McVeigh will jet off to Florida straight after pre-qualifying to play in the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament
at the Champions and Legends Course at Daytona Beach where the top-20 after five rounds earn cards.