With Major season done and dusted for another year the Ladies European Tour (LET) headed to Northern Ireland for the tri-sanctioned ISPS HANDA World Invitational Presented by AVIV Clinics.
A unique test greeted our rookies across the first two days with players from the LET, LPGA and DP World Tour competing at Galgorm and Castlerock Golf Club in separate alternating groups.
On a challenging opening day, recent winner Patricia Isabel Schmidt made a solid start as she carded a two-under par 71 at Castlerock to sit two off the leaders.
Five birdies from Italy’s Alessandra Fanali placed her one shot further back, while leading rookie Trichat Cheenglab posted the second best round of the day at Galgorm – a one-under par 71 – to sit T13.
As the wind picked up on Friday, seven rookies made the first cut which stood at +5. This included Cheenglab, Fanali, LPGA/LET dual-members Albane Valenzuela and Aline Krauter, as well as Nastasia Nadaud, Emma Spitz, Sara Kjellker.
On to the weekend at Galgorm, and Switzerland’s Valenzuela made the most of moving day as a 68 (-4) catapulted her into T5 on two-under par, four behind leader Gabriella Cowley.
Four of the seven before-mentioned rookies made the final day cut which stood at +4, with Fanali, Krauter and Kjellker missing out.
On an enthralling final day, one which saw America’s Alexa Pano defeat Cowley and Esther Henseleit in a playoff, Spitz made the biggest rookie move as a 68 (-4) helped her finish T13 and end the tournament as rookie of the week.
“It feels really good to have a nice final round,” Spitz said. “It’s been a really long and tough week. The courses have played super difficult. I was just glad I could hang in there over the first three days.
“There’s been up and downs this season. But this week feels really nice, especially with it being a co-sanctioned event. I think that’s really cool.”
Valenzuela finished one shot further back in T16 on level par, with Nadaud in T23 and Cheenglab in T30.
In the Rookie of the Year standings, Cheenglab extends her lead at the top again moving to 795.22 points. Schmidt is second on 596.68 points, while a solid LPGA EuroSwing from Valenzuela moves her into fourth on 385.56 points.
Next up for our first year graduates is a trip to Dromoland Castle for the KPMG Women’s Irish Open. Follow all the action on @LETGolf on Instagram and Twitter and Ladies European Tour on Facebook and YouTube – #RaiseOurGame.