Ladies European Tour rookie Amy Boulden of Wales earned medallist honours at the inaugural US Women’s Open sectional qualifier (Europe) at Buckinghamshire Golf Club. The 20-year-old from Llandudno posted successive rounds of 71 to finish with a 36-hole total of two-under-par 142 and automatically qualified for her first appearance in the major championship.
The other seven Ladies European Tour professionals who earned spots by finishing in the top eight of the qualifier were Kelsey MacDonald of Scotland and Nicole Garcia from South Africa, who tied on one-under-par 143, with Australians Nikki Campbell and Stephanie Na and English trio Holly Clyburn, Lucy Williams and Rebecca Hudson all on 144, level par.
Boulden, who earned her maiden professional title on the LET Access Series in Switzerland two weeks earlier, was thrilled to have earned a place in the field for the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open, taking place on June 19-22 at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club (Course No. 2) in the Village of Pinehurst, N.C.
The first year professional said: “I’m very happy. I played very well today so I’m very pleased. I knew there were a lot of good players but I still felt quite confident. I’ve grown up playing with a lot of the girls playing so I just tried to play my own game and I knew that if you were under par you were probably going to qualify here. It’s one of the biggest majors so I’m looking forward to going to the States and playing against the best players in the world.”
Nicole Garcia, a 23-year-old Ladies European Tour rookie professional from Kempton Park, will also be making her first trip to the US Women’s Open and commented: “It is my first year on tour so I didn’t expect to make it. It’s quite exciting. I’ve been so nervous playing in the LET tournaments so I think I’m going to be incredibly nervous when I go there and I’ll have no expectations. Hopefully that works and I’ll play well.”
Kelsey MacDonald, 23, from Inverness, is another rookie on her way to Pinehurst. She said: “This is the first time I’ve played the Buckinghamshire Golf Club. It’s amazing. I went out in a tough field and there were a lot of spots which was great but you know you’re competing against the best of Europe so it’s just a fantastic feeling. I was a couple under and I tried to play more conservatively, which went against me, so then I decided to just go back to playing aggressively. It’s great that me and Amy both qualified because we’re good friends and both from the Robert Rock Academy so he’ll be really proud of us.”
Five players tied for ninth on one-over-par and played off to determine the two alternate positions. After Beth Allen and Camilla Lennarth made par on the first play-off hole, the par-three ninth, they progressed to the par-5 first where Lennarth made birdie to become the first alternate. Maria Balikoeva, Melissa Reid and Kylie Walker were eliminated on the first play-off hole.