Emma Westin - LETAS Order of Merit leader
Rising stars of the women’s game will descend on East Anglia later this month in an attempt to open the door to the Ladies European Tour.
For the second successive year, Stoke by Nayland Hotel Golf and Spa will play host to the LET Access Series with the staging of the WPGA International Challenge from October 16-18.
The three-day tournament, which carries a €30,000 prize fund, will be an intense affair as it is the final event of the season and will play a major role in deciding which five players will secure a card for the 2015 LET season.
Hannah Ralph from from Cowdray Park Golf Club, Sussex, will defend the title she won by three strokes last year from Amy Boulden and Galina Rotmistrova, while all of the current top 15 LETAS players will participate.
Norway's Tonje Daffinrud had accepted an invitation to the LET's Cell C South African Women’s Open but has decided to take up her position in the field this week in an attempt to earn her LET card by finishing in the top five places on the LETAS order of merit.
Also aiming to make an impression will be 15 players from England Golf and the 15 PGA Professionals who have earned their place in the field via the WPGA One-Day Series.
There are some LET veterans among the PGA entrants including One day Series and Glenmuir WPGA winner Suzanne Dickens, Catherine Panton-Lewis and former US Women’s Open champion Alison Nicholas.
However, the LET Access Series is primarily a breeding ground for new talent.
The PGA’s very own Lucy Williams is a prime example after progressing from being a LETAS regular last year to two major appearances this season on both sides of the Atlantic.
Echoing the vitality of LETAS and how it provides experience for playing at the top is last year’s LETAS Order of Merit winner Mireia Prat.
The Spanish ace, who turns 25 next month, won twice on LETAS last year and is currently ranked 77th on the LET.
Prat, who turned pro in 2012, said: “I had a good year on LET Access series as I won two tournaments and came fourth at Stoke by Nayland, which was a very challenging course.
“It was my best year in only my second year as a professional. I could have played six tournaments on the LET as well but I tried to play all the events on the LET Access Series as I wanted to top the rankings.
“Access Series is a good experience because you play often and very good courses. They are very challenging and there’s good competition between the players.
“For most of the players it is the first year they are professionals. You learn how life is and to deal with the travelling and everything connected with playing on tour. It is difficult at times but the atmosphere, with the players, it’s like a family.
“The Access Series is a good level and every year the standards are improving as it’s getting harder to get on the LET via the Series.”
The WPGA International Challenge will be preceded by the tournament pro-am, which will see celebrities Denise Van Outen, Brian McFadden and Zoe Hardman join the professionals in a Fourball Best Ball format.