Alison Muirhead and Amy Boulden lead LET Qualifying School with a round to go

Amy Boulden joint leader after the fourth round at the 2020 LET Qualifying School at La Manga
Wales’ Amy Boulden is joint leader with Scotland’s Alison Muirhead after four rounds of the LET Qualifying School at La Manga. Picture by TRISTAN JONES

AMY Boulden and Alison Muirhead share the lead heading into the final round of the Ladies European Tour’s Qualifying School at Spain’s La Manga Club.

The leaders are tied on five-under par after four rounds, including two rounds on the North and South Courses respectively.

They are one stroke ahead of Surrey’s Curtis Cup player Charlotte Thomas, who played on the LPGA Tour last season after two seasons on the Symetra

All the action will come a gripping climax in Sunday’s final round, to be played over the South Course.

The top five players will earn LET membership – offering entrance into virtually all of the 24 tournaments on the expanded 2020 LET schedule which will offer €18 million prize money for the first time.

Boulden, the 2014 Rookie of the Year, is looking to regain her LET card after a year on the Symetra Tour – the LPGA’s feeder tour.

The 26-year-old from Llandudno, in Wales, moved into a share of the lead with a brilliant four-under 67 on the North Course, where she also shot 67 in the second round.

Boulden said: “Today the putts went in. The last three rounds I’ve not putted that great.

“I think it was the second round where I shot four-under, but didn’t make any putts.

“I played really good, but didn’t really hole anything to shoot four-under. Today, I didn’t hit it as close, but holed more putts.”

“I do really like the North course, although we are playing the South tomorrow. I do like the South Course as well. They are both really different and are great tests of golf.

“La Manga Club is amazing. I have been here over the years quite a lot,” Boulden added.

“I played in the European’s here years ago and have been here for a couple of pro-ams the last few years, so I know the courses pretty well.

“The complex is lovely, there are loads of places to eat, everyone is very friendly and considering the weather we had just before we started this week, they did an incredible job to get it ready for us.”

Alison Muirhead will be hoping to earn a full card by finishing inside the top five on Sunday at La Manga. Picture by TRISTAN JONES

After a tough third round of 77 on the North Course, co-leader Muirhead was delighted to bounce back with a bogey-free three-under-par round of 70 on the South.

The 21-year-old Scot, who has been based in Dubai, said: “It was really steady today and I enjoyed it. The conditions altered during the round so it was good to keep it steady and hit a lot of greens.

“I just kept lipping out for birdie, so it was very nice to see the ball rolling close today and to bounce back, especially after yesterday. I’m very pleased.

“I’m feeling really good heading into tomorrow. It’s obviously another day, but I feel like my putter is working well,” added the former Fresno State University player.

“I didn’t hole as many putts today, but you obviously save them for the next day, so I’m really looking forward to tomorrow,” added the winner of last week’s pre-qualifier.

West Surrey’s Charlotte Thomas in the fourth round of the 2020 LET Qualifying School at La Manga
Surrey’s LPGA ace Charlotte Thomas wants an LET card to help her quest to earn a Solheim Cup spot in 2021. Picture by TRISTAN JONES

Thomas wants card to help in her quest for Solheim Cup place in 2021

THE best round of the day belonged to Charlotte Thomas, who shot a five-under 68 on the South.

The 26-year-old from Guildford, played for two years on the Symetra Tour and a year on the LPGA. Her best finish was second in last year’s ISPS Handa Vic Open in Australia, in February.

said: “I’ve played solid for the last three days and today I finally got some putts to drop and got some momentum going. I made some birdies, so it was really fun.

“I had a bit of a momentum swing on the ninth, because I was one-under through eight and then on nine, I missed the green from 90 yards and I chipped in for birdie and then I went birdie, birdie, on 10 and 11.

“That could easily have been a par or a soft bogey, but it turned into a birdie and gave me some momentum and I was able to carry it through. I feel like that was the turning point.”

Thomas, who has spent time living in Australia, having been educated in Singapore, has a full LPGA card for 2020 after finishing 71st on the Race to CMBE Globe.

The 26-year-old is at LET Q-School with a view to becoming eligible to represent Europe in the Solheim Cup.

“Last year, I didn’t have LET membership, so I wasn’t even in contention to be able to be picked for it,” said Thomas, who played for GB&I against the USA in 2016.

“I thought to myself, I better go and get my LET card and see what happens. That’s the two-year goal and it would be amazing to play,” added Thomas who helped University of Washington win its first NCAA Division 1 National Championship in 2016

“Watching it at Gleneagles, I was in Australia and watching it at 2am in the morning and running around the house screaming, so it was amazing to see that and so inspiring/

“It made me want to be out there and do that even more,” said the West Surrey GC member.

“I’m going to try and play in as many events as I can this year, to get as many points as I can. I’ll play a bit of both tours, LET and LPGA.

“The new LET schedule is amazing, it’s so cool. It’s so exciting and good for women’s golf to see that.

“I have played in a few LET events here and there in the past but to see that kind of growth is amazing.”

Charlotte Thomas target the top

Buckinghamshire’s Rachel Drummond, whose round included a hole-in-one on the South Course’s 12th hole, made the cut on the number.

She was one of 65 players at 10-over-par or better to advance to the final round.

Players finishing from sixth to 20th position will be eligible for membership in category 8a, which will offer entry into a lower number of tournaments over the coming year.

Players who have made the 72-hole cut to the leading 60 and ties and finished in position 21st and below, will be ranked according to score and be eligible for membership in category 9b.

Players that failed to make the cut after 72 holes, will be eligible for category 12a.

•For live scoring at the LET Q-School’s final round click here.

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