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GOLF – Top England amateur turns professional after qualifying at La Manga

Hannah Ralph tees off at La Manga, Spain

A five under par total finish at the LET 2009 Qualifying School at La Manga in December won Hannah Ralph from Sussex, 11th position, top English lady and a Ladies European Tour card for 2010.

Aged 21, Hannah is a niece of Glenn Ralph, the successful Teaching Pro and PGA Senior Tour player.

In a strong field of 118 professional re-qualifiers and amateurs Hannah played three pre-qualifying rounds on the South and North courses over December 15, 16 and 17 at the Spanish club where her +1 combined final score gave her 9th position, comfortably under the +11 cut.

A total of 84 players went on to play in Stage 2 on the South course. After another three rounds Hannah had carded 216, -3 on the scoreboard and 10th position overall. Again well within the cut which was set at +6.

In the final round on 21st December Hannah birdied the 18th to finish two under par 71 and 12th on the day. Scores over the last four rounds are combined to determine final positions and she shot 287 (70 75 71 71) to finish five under par and in 11th place.

A top 30 finish was required to win her a full Ladies European Tour card. Closest UK lady to Hannah was Kym Larratt of Leicestershire who was 25th.

This was Hannah’s second attempt at Q School. At La Manga in January 2009 she failed to qualify for Stage 2. “I learnt so much from the four rounds played and knew what I had to focus on and that with practice I could qualify at the next time of trying,” she said. Over the past year Hannah has worked very hard on her short game and mental approach with Coach Katie Dawkins, the teaching professional at Cowdray Park Golf Club. Hannah’s success this year is a testimony to her efforts. She has won three amateur events, was runner up in the 2009 English Open Mid Amateur and finished in the top five on six occasions.

Conditions at La Manga were interesting to say the least. Players wrestled with strong winds, heavy rain, freezing temperatures and even a sprinkling of snow, interspersed with warm sunshine, clouds and clear blue skies.

Hannah is now looking forward to next year on Tour. The first tournament is in February in New Zealand, closely followed by two events in Australia. Entry to these events largely depends on sponsorship which she is actively seeking at the moment.

Commenting on her momentous year Hannah said: “I have great support from my family, friends, members at Cowdray Park and Katie, without whom I couldn’t have done so well. I am also grateful to my uncle Glenn who taught me for a few years before going on the Seniors Tour. He has helped get me where I am today in my golfing life and is always there for support and advice.”

Just like her uncle, Hannah started playing at Cowdray Park Golf Club when she was eight years old and got her first Handicap in February 1998 aged 10. Her father Graham Ralph has been a member at Cowdray for 35 years.

Contact:
Hannah Ralph, 21, Highfield Close, Easebourne, Midhurst, West Sussex. GU29 9AQ.
Telephone: 01730 813762
Mobile: 07532246445
Email: h-ralph1@hotmail.co.uk