Boulden back in Europe as she storms to three-shot win in LET Q-School at La Manga

2019 Ladies European Tour Qualifying School winner Amy Boulden

Amy Boulden claimed top spot at the LET Qualifying School, at La Manga, in Spain, finishing three shots clear of the field after 108 holes. Picture by TRISTAN JONES

AMY Boulden will return to the Ladies European Tour in 2020 after winning the LET Q-School at La Manga Club.

The Welshwoman finished three strokes ahead of Argentina’s Magdalena Simmermacher and Scotland’s overnight co-leader Alison Muirhead.

Boulden, the 2014 LET Rookie of the Year, closed with a five-under par round of 68 on the South Course for a total of 10-under after five rounds.

The 26-year-old from Llandudno, in North Wales, whose career best finish in six years on tour was second in the 2014 Lacoste Ladies Open de France, had set a personal target of 12-under for the marathon examination at the annual LET Qualifying School.

But the daughter of Maesdu Golf Club pro Simon Boulden was happy with her score, especially after a week of changeable and challenging weather conditions.

Boulden said: “I’m relieved. It’s always a tough week coming back to Q-School.

“I decided to play a bit on the Symetra Tour last year and didn’t manage to keep my LET card from the six events in which I played, so I was always planning to come back.

“I love playing in Europe, but you feel a bit of extra pressure once you’ve had your card and then lose it.

“It’s a big relief to have it,” added the former Welsh amateur international, who played in the 2012 Curtis Cup a year after playing in the Junior Solheim Cup.

“I’ve done quite a lot of swing work over the last year or so and I didn’t actually feel like I had my game today.

“I know I shot a good score but my iron-play wasn’t quite there. I putted well and I feel like all areas of my game are getting better and it’s just about confidence now.

“Hopefully I can kick on from here,” said the 2008 BBC Young Sportswoman of the Year.

Simmermacher, 23, from Buenos Aires, will become the second Argentinian member of the LET after sealing second spot, based on the best last 18 holes, with her final round of 68.

The 2019 LET Access Series player said: “I can’t believe it. I hit the ball well all week. Every single part of my game was good and I just kept trusting it. It’s really exciting that I’m going to play a full season.”

Muirhead, who topped the field in Pre-Qualifying at La Manga, which was her first tournament as professional, ended with a 71 to take the third card.

The 21-year-old Scot, who lives in Dubai, said: “It feels amazing. I never expected this to be the outcome.

To do last week and this week and finish first and second, I’m really pleased.

“It’s been a long two weeks and I’m excited for the tour and feel like I’m ready to be playing.

“Today, I didn’t have my A game, but I kept it together and sunk some big putts, which gave me a lot of confidence coming into the last five holes.

“Amy played spectacularly and it was amazing to watch and be part of it,” added the former Fresno State University player, who won the Emirates Junior Open back to back, in 2015 and 2016.

The 2020 season gets under way with the Australian Ladies Classic Bonville in New South Wales, on February 20.

•To see the full LET 2020 tournament schedule, which will feature 24 events offering a total of €18million in prize money click here.

Alice Hewson playing in the third round of the LET Q-School at La Manga

Alice Hewson finished in fifth place at La Manga to take the fifth and final full LET card for the expanded 2020 season. Picture by TRISTAN JONES

Hewson happy as earns her rights

BERKHAMSTED’S Ladies European Amateur Champion Alice Hewson took the final category 5c spot in fifth place on five-under to claim her full card for 2020 at LET Q-School.

Curtis Cup player Hewson, who played in the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Championship in April, said: “It was really good out there.

“I got off to a really solid start and finally started holing some putts in the middle of the round,” said Hewson, who had climbed into the lead after three rounds in Murica, thanks to an eagle at the 18th on the South Course.

“I had a couple of interesting holes coming in, but I stuck to my game plan the whole time and was aggressive coming down 18. I pulled it off.

“On 18, I had 200 to the pin, but I had a slight mudball, so I was between whether to go for it or not.

Hewson’s debut in LET Access WPGA International

“I decided to go for it and hit a three-wood about 35 yards right of the green, under a tree and over a bunker – so it was a challenging third shot.

“But I hit it to 45 feet and then nearly holed the putt, so it was good.

“It’s really special to get my full card, especially this year, with how many events the LET have got this year.

“It’s going to be a great opportunity and I’m excited to get travelling.”

Switzerland’s Metraux sisters claim their cards along with 14 more in category 8A

SWITZERLAND’D Kim Metraux, whose younger sister Morgane qualified in 14th spot, finished fourth on six-under-par after a closing 69.

Kim said that she had come to Q-School without any expectations.

“I have a status on the Symetra Tour, which gave me some relief that I knew I could play next year no matter what.

“It was good to be stress-free and I was quite relaxed during the round and focused on my game. It’s great to know that my sister qualified, too.”

The 15 players who qualified in category 8a include Surrey’s LPGA player Charlotte Thomas, Norway’s Maiken Bing Paulsen, Germany’s Sarina Schmit, Carolin Kauffmann and Sophie Hausmann, South Africa’s Casandra Danielle Hall and Monique Smit, Swaziland’s Nobuhle Dlamini France’s, Anne-Charlotte Mora , Pia Babnik from Slovenia, Filippa Moork from Sweden, Switzerland’s Morgane Metraux, Iceland’s Gudrun Bjorgvinsdottir, Finland’s Tiia Koivisto and Eun Jung Ji from Korea.

Smit secured the 20th card with a birdie four on the second extra hole after a four-way play-off on the 18th against France’s Manon Gidali, Germany’s Leonie Harm, and Spanird Mireia Prat.

•To see the final results including the order the above players finished in at LET Q-School, which will determine the ranking for their cards, click here.

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