25 Players Secure Ladies European Tour Cards in Morocco
American Casey Danielson finished as the top qualifier for the Ladies European Tour’s 2018 season at Lalla Aicha Tour School in Marrakech, Morocco, with a total of 25 women earning their full cards.
Danielson began the final round with a two-stroke lead and carded a fifth round of 70 to tie for first place on 14-under-par 346 and force a play-off against Carmen Alonso and Manon Mollé. After they returned to the 18th hole, Alonso and Mollé both made par, with Danielson two-putting from 80 feet for birdie to claim the victory.
“I can’t believe it. I am honoured and excited and just trying to process it,” said the 22-year-old Stanford graduate, from Wisconsin. “I woke up at 4.30am this morning because I couldn’t sleep. I was excited and nervous and ready to go. I tried to calm myself and have good visualisation. Luckily, we played in Pre-Qualifying at Palm Golf Ourika so I got to know the course really well and especially the 18th. I felt really comfortable with my second shot there and then I was able to make a solid putt in my round and then in the play-off I got on the green and my lag putt was pretty good. I felt comfortable on that hole because I had played it so much.
“This is the first tournament I’ve won in forever, so it feels good! It’s been great to experience Marrakech and to travel, especially with my mom, Liz. We’ve had a lot of fun today. I’m excited to travel more and to be able to see the world and get a great start to my career. It’s my first time in Morocco. The golf courses are beautiful with great views of the Atlas Mountains. Everybody has been so incredibly nice: the players, staff and the people of Marrakech. The players are always saying ‘nice round, how are you doing?’ and ‘do you want to go out to eat?’ That means a lot when you come from so far away.”
Casey Danielson - that winning feeling! What a way to set up Christmas. Happy holidays! ???????? pic.twitter.com/XrdU5AHtw0— Ladies European Tour (@LETgolf) December 21, 2017
Just behind Danielson was French amateur Mollé. She said: “This feels great! For the past three months, I’ve been practising so much that I’m really, really happy about it. I knew it was the last time I would be playing in 2017 so I just enjoyed it and I’m so pleased with my score.”
Alonso, from Madrid, Spain, was five-under-par for her final five holes and shot 65. “I was nervous all day and I tried to focus on my routine and stay in the present, but when I arrived at the 14th hole and put my ball a metre from the hole, I said, ‘enough! Just play your best and try to make birdies.’ Then I went birdie, eagle, birdie and missed the birdie on 17 but I made birdie on 18,” she said.
“I love the game and I love the competition. I have four brothers and I’m the youngest and I’ve always competed with them. For me, it’s the best thing in the world so I’m happy to be out here, on the golf course.”
Congratulations to the 25 players who earned their 2018 LET Tour Card.— Ladies European Tour (@LETgolf) December 20, 2017
Danielson, Alonso, Molle, Cowley, Lund, Engzelius, Pegova, Banon, Engström, Laing, Persson, Sedda, Nummenpaa, Prat, Bernal, Folch, Frankish, Nuutinen, Rosso, Vanova, Bakar, Pogacar, Provot, Borge & Stavnar. pic.twitter.com/q7g3d0czv4
Gabriella Cowley from London, England, ended in fourth spot. She said: “I’m so happy. I was four-over through 14 on the first day and my goal was to finish in the top five, so I’m delighted to get a good category for next year.”
The other players who gained cards are Karoline Lund Julia Engström, Vikki Laing, Cajsa Persson, Laura Sedda, Elina Nummenpaa, Mireia Prat, Piti Martinez Bernal, Elia Folch, Cloe Frankish, Sanna Nuutinen, Lucrezia Colombotto Rosso, Sideri Vanova (below), Ainil Bakar, Katja Pogacar and Ariane Provot.
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