Marion Ricordeau and Cecilie Lundgreen (Photo: DogLeg Media)
The 2012 LETAS season has come to a close after the final tournament, Banesto Tour Valencia, capped off an exciting year on the LET feeder tour.
Top amateurs and budding professionals competed in 13 tournaments in France, Spain, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Ukraine, Denmark, Greece and Portugal over 9 months. Membership of LETAS has grown from 23 players in 2010 to 67 in 2012, represented by players from twenty different countries. Sixteen amateurs became members of LETAS this year including the Order of Merit winner Pamela Pretswell, who turned professional after the Curtis Cup in June. Over 300 different players have taken part in the 13 LETAS events, 153 of whom were elite amateurs.
For the first time, 3 full LET cards have been awarded to the top 3 LETAS Order of Merit players. Pamela Pretswell of Scotland, France’s Marion Ricordeau and Norwegian Cecilie Lundgreen have all earned well-deserved playing rights on the Ladies European Tour for 2013. All three know how to win - Pretswell claimed the Ljungybed Park PGA Ladies Open in May, while Ricordeau won the season’s opener Terre Blanche Ladies Open in France. Cecilie Lundgreen, this year’s only double-winner, claimed the Kristianstad Ahus Ladies Open and Women’s Bank Open titles. Their first eligible event on the Ladies European Tour will be the Volvik RACV Ladies Masters in Australia in February, which Pamela relishes “I am so excited to be playing on the LET next season and I cannot wait to get started. It has been my dream since I started playing golf and I am so grateful to all the people who have supported me and helped me reach this stage in my career”.
Pretswell won the LETAS Order of Merit with a tight victory over Ricordeau. Pamela played in 12 of the 13 events this year, and her consistency was key – 5 top ten finishes plus victory in Sweden, missing only the final event of the season due to minor illness “It has not quite sunk in yet! My goal at the start of the year was to finish in the top 3 to gain my card and then after I won in Sweden, I set myself the target of winning the order of merit so I am very happy to have achieved both goals. It has made my first season as a professional very memorable and special” said the Scot.
Life on tour can be daunting for new professionals, and the LET Access Series provides the starting steps for many players who then progress onto the main tour. LET professionals Carly Booth and Henni Zuel have both attributed their success on tour to their on the LET Access Series experience, and Pamela agrees “I loved every minute of playing on the LETAS this year. Starting the year on the tour as an amateur was great - all the girls really welcomed me and looked after me and I have really learned a lot from them this year. Making my pro debut on the tour was very special and I have thoroughly enjoyed tour life on the LETAS this year. Playing half the season as an amateur definitely made me more prepared for turning professional and I am so glad that I did it this way. I was so disappointed when I did not get my LET card at Q school in January, but I am now glad I did not get it as this has been a great year, I have learned so much on the LETAS and I now feel more prepared for my rookie season on the LET”
As all players who have been through the challenging Tour School know, making it through to the Final qualifying stage is highly competitive – with over 200 players striving to make it from Pre-qualifying to Final Qualifying. The top 12 LETAS Order of Merit players from position 4th onwards (who are not already exempt) have automatically advanced to final stage of Tour school, which takes place at Amelkis Golf Club & Al Maaden Golf Resort in Morocco from the 13 - 17 December. They are: Katy McNicoll, Julie Tvede, Antonella Cvitan, Anastasia Kostina, Tamara Johns, Pamela Feggans, Sofia Harkonen, Galina Rotmistrova, Ana Larraneta, Danielle McVeigh, Melanie Maetzler and Anna Rossi.