Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn turned the final round of the Ladies European Tour Qualifying School into a lap of honor. The 17-year-old amateur romped to a five-shot victory in Morocco to earn her card for the 2013 European season.
Jutanugarn posted a closing 3-under 69 for a 24-under, five-round total of 336. English amateur Emily Taylor shared second place with New Zealand’s Nikki Campbell.
Sweden’s Louise Larsson returned a 7-under 65, the low round of the day, to take the fourth card.
“Today I didn’t play very good, and I missed some putts,” Jutanugarn said. “My irons were not very good today, but I’m still happy because the two weeks were very good.”
Elder sister Moriya was a co-medalist at the LPGA’s Final Qualifying School two weeks ago, which means they will play on opposite sides of the Atlantic next season.
“I’m going to miss her a lot because we have to separate,” Ariya said. “I have to go with my dad, and Moriya will go with my mom. I’m really happy I won because it will make me feel confident for my professional career.”
Taylor ended this season as leader of the England amateur order of merit. She had to come through pre-qualifying to get a card.
“I didn’t expect it, to be honest,” Taylor said. “I did play well in the pre-qualifying, but it’s just fantastic to finish tied second. I’m really happy. I was good with my irons this week, the putting wasn’t great, but tee to green I hit a lot of greens and a lot of fairways, so I gave myself a lot of chances. I can’t wait for my rookie year on tour. I’m going to turn pro as soon as possible.”
Although 32, Campbell will be a rookie on next year’s LET. She has spent the last 10 years on the LPGA of Japan.
“I’ve always wanted to come and play here,” Campbell said. “I’ve been playing in Japan the last 10 years, and things were getting the same. Something new is pretty exciting. I played really well, hit a few good iron shots and sunk a few putts. I’ve been playing pretty well the last two weeks, but the putts went in today.”
Peru’s Maria Salinas and Bonita Bredenhann of Namibia joined Jutanugarn and Taylor as the four amateurs to earn cards. They finished T-9.
Three players from the United States earned cards. Mallory Fraiche finished T-8, Katie Burnett was ninth and Dawn Shockley placed T-15.
Holly Clyburn, the former Great Britain & Ireland Curtis Cup star, closed with a 4-under 68 to take one of the last cards. She finished T-25.
Unfortunately there was heartbreak for fellow English Curtis Cup player Charley Hull. In 19th place heading into the final round, Hull struggled to a 4-over 76 and ended up missing her card by three shots. She finished T-36.
Tiger Woods’ niece Cheyenne Woods also failed to earn a card despite a closing 2-under 70. She shared 36th place with Hull.
Hull and Woods will have conditional status on next year’s LET and should get limited starts.