It is one of the toughest tests in golf – the tour qualifying school. This year the Ladies European Tour’s qualifying series returned to La Manga Club on Murcia’s Costa Cálida, where 146 players teed up in the hope of either regaining their cards for 2023 or securing a first or new opportunity to compete on the global circuit.
Only the top 20 players and ties won the right to take up full LET membership in 2023, and after five demanding rounds (which also followed pre-qualifying the previous week for many players in the field) German duo Polly Mack and Alexandra Försterling emerged as joint winners with a total of 15-under 346.
“I feel really good,” said 23-year-old Försterling. “I’m a little bummed about 18 as I missed a short putt to win outright but that’s how it is sometimes. All in all, if someone would have told me before that I would have finished here, I wouldn’t have believed them. It’s really nice. It means a lot to get my LET card. I’m extremely excited for next season and I can’t wait for all of the tournaments. I can’t wait to get started.”
Also 23, Mack had already enjoyed a successful end-of-year season, having also secured her US LPGA Tour card earlier in the month. “It feels great,” she said. “These last couple of weeks couldn’t have turned out any better and I’m honestly just really really happy with this outcome and going into the off-season with this feeling is really nice. I’m ready to get some rest. It means a lot to get the LET status. I am German and it’s nice to have both and have the options and more opportunities. I’m really looking forward to 2023. I think it’s going to be exciting.”
Taking third place (14-under) on the podium at La Manga Club, which has been celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, was French teenage amateur Nastasia Nadaud, who now plans to turn professional and compete on the LET in 2023. “I don’t think I can put into words how I’m feeling. I can’t believe it’s over; I’m still thinking that there’s a sixth-round tomorrow. I feel really great, and it’s done, finally. This is the perfect end to my amateur career. If someone would have told me that I would be top three at Q-School, I would have already turned pro. It’s really nice. I’m super motivated and I can’t wait for the season to start.”
In 2023, the Ladies European Tour will offer players a record total prize fund of at least €35 million, with 30 official events scheduled around Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, as well as the biennial Solheim Cup teams event between Europe and the United States.
Three of those events will be held in Spain: the aforementioned Solheim Cup at Finca Cortesín (Costa del Sol) from 22 to 24 September; the inaugural La Sella Open in Alicante province (20-23 July); and the season-ending Andalucía Costa del Sol Open de España at Royal Las Brisas in Marbella (23-26 November). Details of next year’s Qualifying School are still to be officially confirmed.
In October, La Manga Club also hosted a Legends Tour event, the Farmfoods European Senior Masters, which was won by 1999 British Open champion Paul Lawrie.