As she sank the winning putt for a birdie on the famed 18 hole at Evian Resort Golf Club to win the Jabra Ladies Open last year, Astrid Vayson de Pradenne dropped to her knees, closed her eyes and raised her putter to the sky.
The LET Access Series player had won the first dual-ranking event with the LET, earning her place in the Evian Championship and quickly proclaimed it as the best day of her life, but she didn’t even realise that she had also earned a one-year winner’s exemption to the Ladies European Tour, which would allow her to play in all the tournaments around the world, including the Women’s British Open.
The victory allowed her to combine her passions by playing main tour professional golf and travelling to some incredible destinations. Speaking ahead of her title defence this week, she said: “I was that close to stopping (golf). I didn’t know that I would earn a category 3 membership of the LET but I knew I would get into the Evian and maybe the British.
“When I was 27 and I had zero amateur career, I said to my coach I would like to play for at least one year on the LET.”
“To be honest, now I am feeling the pressure. Last year I was cruising on category 3 and getting into every event. I really enjoyed it and now I want it to continue.”
Astrid, who holds two degrees in Law and Physiotherapy, was raised in a family where her father travelled a lot and she says that he passed that enthusiasm for travel to her. As such, she always makes the most of enjoying the tournament destinations and countries she visits.
She added: “In Jordan, for example, I stayed for four more days and went diving. In India, I travelled. If you just play golf, you miss out on a lot of things the country has to offer.”
“It’s important to grab as much as you can. It’s been three years since we lost Cassandra (Kirkland), so enjoy the time here and don’t be too arrogant.”
Astrid begins the week ranked 85th on the 2019 LET order of merit after nine tournament starts with her best finish this season being T14th in the Investec South African Women’s Open. Her final round at the La Reserva de Sotogrande Invitational, where she ended T42nd, included a hole-in-one during the final round at the 15th, but more than anything, she is excited about the Jabra Ladies Open for family reasons.
“It will be special because my mum is coming. She is 70 and she can’t walk properly, she doesn’t really understand golf and still thinks there is a par 2 and says ‘aigle’ in French, instead of ‘eagle’. I am so pleased that she will come to see me defend my title,” Astrid said.
The 54-hole Jabra Ladies Open gets under way from Thursday to Saturday and is the official European qualifier for the Evian Championship, where the top two players will secure their place in the fifth women’s major, taking place on July 25-28 at the same venue.
In addition to Astrid, the field includes last year’s runner-up Karoline Lampert, recent tournament winners Diksha Dagar, Meghan MacLaren, Marianne Skarpnord, Camille Chevalier and Florentyna Parker, as well as the leading LET rookie Esther Henseleit, who has finished second in her last two tournaments, as well as former order of merit winner, Beth Allen.
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