Lauren Walsh hopes to make the most of her early Ladies European Tour starts to kickstart her dream of earning a card on the LPGA Tour.
Walsh secured category 16 at LET Q-School over the winter which should give her up to 15 starts before the reshuffle of cards where she hopes to improve her status in Europe to help her towards earning a LPGA Tour card.
The Castlewarden woman needs to finish in the top five on the LET Order of Merit to secure LPGA Tour status for next year or face a return to Q-School.
“Being just outside now in category 16 and being high up I should get a good number of starts and hopefully I can capitalise on those early and bump myself up in a reshuffle so I will have a good few starts to get going,” said Walsh who clinched the winning point to help Wake Forest claim their first NCAA Division 1 Women’s title in Arizona last summer.
“My end goal is to get an LPGA Tour card and play against the best players in the world. There are five cards available via the LET Order of Merit so whether I get one of them or give Q-School another try next year but that’s where I hope to end up.”
Walsh has enjoyed starts on the LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LET Access in her brief period as a professional towards the end of last season. Having dipped her toe into the pro ranks last year, she feels she has learned a lot as she embarks on her first full season as a touring professional.
“It’s been exciting, I had a couple of invites last year and we won the national championships which got me an LGPA invite and just missed the cut there and it was an exciting week teeing it up with the best players in the world and learned a lot from it. Figuring out the travel side of things and how to manage it has been good and I’m excited to do it more full time this year.”
One player Walsh will be taking inspiration from is 20-year-old sensation Rose Zhang, who won on her professional debut.
“I played three of the four rounds at the NCAA with her and to see her win her first event as a pro was cool. She’s a nice girl and works hard to its nice to know girls coming from college can have success. She’s a great player and to see her in the Solheim last year was very exciting so she has been a great inspiration.”
Walsh will be joined by Olivia Mehaffey in this week’s Magical Kenya Ladies Open. Mehaffey also secured category 16 status for this term and played on Irish teams together at amateur level.
“We played on a few Irish teams coming towards the end of her amateur career and when I had just started with the ladies team. We crossed over for two years in college so I know her quite well,” said Walsh.
“It’s always nice to see an Irish face around the place, there are a couple of Irish caddies out here too and we tend to take over wherever we go so it’s great.”