Caroline Afonso of France has been crowned as the first ever winner of the LET Access Series Order of Merit.
The 25-year-old from Anglet, near Biarritz, received the trophy at the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters after holding off the challenge of fellow Frenchwoman Jade Schaeffer. Both players earned two victories from five events played over the inaugural LETAS season in 2010.
Afonso played in four LETAS events and claimed both the Terre Blanche Ladies Open and the La Nivelle Ladies Open in France. Schaeffer competed in three events and won the Dinard Ladies Open and the Trophee Preven's, also both on home soil.
“I am very, very happy because it's my two first wins,” said Afonso, who explained why she felt so comfortable competing at Terre Blanche and Golf de La Nivelle.
“I was working with my coach in Terre Blanche, Jean Jacques Rivet, he's a biomechanic coach, and it's a very good week.” She continued: “Golf de La Nivelle is close to my home.”
Afonso hailed the organisation of the LETAS, which is the official feeder tour to the LET: “It's a good organisation, good course: a good tour. For the younger players and us, it's very nice. You play more tournaments and for the young players, the experience playing golf, it's very nice.”
Denmark’s Julie Tvede played in all five LETAS tournaments and her commitment paid off when she won the Murcia Ladies Open at La Manga Club in Spain, finishing third on the Order of Merit.
As a result of her ranking, she earned an exemption to the Ladies European Tour’s Final Qualifying School along with England’s Rachel Bell, Rhian Wyn Thomas of Wales and Frenchwomen Barbara Genuini and Nathalie David-Mila.
Tvede and Genuini finished 36th and 38th respectively, earning LET membership in category 9b, while Bell tied for ninth, earning her full Ladies European Tour card for 2011 in category 8a.
Bell said: “It’s always nice to have an under par round to secure your card. When I got my tour card and got glandular fever, it’s been quite a long road back, but like they say, it’s about the journey and not the destination.
“When you don’t have a tour card, there’s not much to play in, so the Access tour is absolutely brilliant for people that are good golfers that may have lost their card, like when I got ill.
“Because I was doing well on the Access Tour, I managed to persuade the sponsors to give me an invite to the French Open. Playing on the Access tour was really good for the opportunity.”
Spain’s Ana Larraneta finished eighth on the LETAS Order of Merit and received a full exemption for the 2011 Ladies European Tour.