England’s Jodi Ewart will be hoping that taking first card at the Ladies European Tour Qualifying School treads a familiar path. She follows in the footsteps of Anna Nordqvist, Caroline Masson and Caroline Hedwall.
If Ewart has even a modicum of the above trio’s success, then she should have a great season.
The former University of New Mexico player won the LET Q-School by two shots after rounds of 70-67-67-73-73 for a total of 11-under 350. She finished two shots ahead of Switzerland’s Anais Maggetti, while Spain’s Carlota Ciganda was third at 4 under.
Ewart will enjoy the best of both worlds this year: She earned her LPGA tour card at the LPGA Q-School in December and will play both tours.
“It feels good,” said Ewart, who resides in Florida. “I mean, fourth on the LPGA (Qualifying School) and now winning the LET. It’s a pretty good off-season, if you ask me. It feels good, and I’m really looking forward to this year.”
The 24-year-old led from start to finish over the five rounds at La Manga, Spain. She did not look at leaderboards all week, even in the final round. She took a four-shot lead into the fifth round, but didn’t start to relax until the 14th hole.
“I was a little bit nervous because I knew I was leading, but I didn’t know how many shots ahead I was. If I’d known, it would have set me back a bit.”
Maggetti entered the school as an amateur but will now turn pro and make her debut in the Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco in March.
Ciganda is a former Ladies’ British Amateur champion who played college golf at Arizona State.
Eight Americans gained LET cards, including LPGA winners Heather Bowie Young and Meaghan Francella. (Jessica Yadloczky, Kendall Dye, Jennie Lee, Amelia Lewis, Esther Choe and Dawn Shockley were the others.)
All of the drama on the final day came at the business end of the card race. Six players tied for 29th position, with only 30 cards on offer. That meant a sudden-death playoff for the last two cards.
The Spanish duo of Laura Cabanillas and Mireia Prat headed out to the seventh hole along with India’s Sharmila Nicollet, Hannah Burke of England, Germany’s Miriam Nagl and former Curtis Cup player Carly Booth of Scotland.
Cabanillas, an 11-year LET veteran, holed a 12-footer for birdie on the first extra hole to take the 29th card. The remaining five headed to the eighth tee.
Booth and Nagl made bogey to drop out. Nicollet ended the drama when she two-putted from the edge of the ninth green for birdie to earn the 30th card.
The 20-year-old from Bangalore will be the only Indian player with full playing rights on the Ladies European Tour this season.
This year’s LET schedule begins with the RACV Australian Ladies Masters on Feb. 2-5, and consists of 24 events in 19 countries.