The Golfers’ Terrace overlooking both 18th greens at Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf & Spa
Stoke by Nayland Hotel Golf & Spa near Colchester, England, will host the penultimate event of the LET Access Series season. Located 77 miles north-east of London on the Suffolk/Essex border, the beautiful par-72 Gainsborough course will play host the WPGA International Challenge for a fifth straight year from Thursday 28th to Saturday 30th September.
The 54-hole event carries a purse of €35,000, an increase of €5,000 from last year. At the end of the LETAS schedule, the top-5 on the order of merit will be granted full playing rights on the Ladies European Tour for the 2018 season.
Last year, Eva Gilly won her maiden title on the LETAS after rounds of 73, 64 and 68. The French professional beat Austria’s Sarah Schober by three shots. Schober would finish the year as the leading professional and has played on the Ladies European Tour this year.
Coming into the event, England’s Meghan Maclaren leads the order of merit from Valentine Derrey of France. Last year, Maclaren was still an amateur and finished 10th at the WPGA International Challenge. The tournament was launched in 2013 by the PGA to further enhance the women’s game.
“I'll always be grateful to England Golf and the LET Access Series for giving me the invitations to the WPGA International Challenge and the Santander tournament the following week. They were my first professional events and came at the perfect time as I was trying to get a feel for whether my game was ready for the world of professional golf,” said Maclaren.
“I'm looking forward to returning to Stoke-by-Nayland and thinking about how much has happened in the year since then. I took a lot of belief from those first two performances and I've been able to build on those; making the improvements in my game that I've needed to while also having regular competitive opportunities. The best thing about the LET Access Series is getting used to professional life - constant competing, travelling, scheduling etc - while putting in place structures and people around you that enable you to get better.”
There will be 96 competitors from over 20 different countries, including 15 WPGA members, comprising winners from the WPGA’s One Day Series and the remaining places secured via a qualifying Order of Merit.
Fifteen places will also be allocated to the leading English amateurs decided by England Golf, recognising LETAS’ commitment to providing an important link between elite amateur and professional golf.
Susanna Rendall, Managing Director of the family owned, award-winning venue said, “We are really delighted to welcome back these fantastic women golfers from all over the world and to play our part in showcasing this excellent standard of women’s golf. We are especially pleased that 15-year-old Lily May Humphreys, who is a Stoke by Nayland Club member, will be playing in the tournament having won the English Women’s Amateur Championship as one of its youngest ever champions. I hope that many spectators will come along and watch this excellent tournament – particularly as entry is free of charge.”
Di Barnard, the LETAS Tour Director said: “We are looking forward to returning to Stoke by Nayland Hotel Golf & Spa for the fifth edition of the WPGA International Challenge. Susanna Rendall and Tamara Unwin are wonderful supporters of women’s golf and this is a fabulous venue, which the players thoroughly enjoy returning to each year.”
“The WPGA International Challenge receives great support from the PGA and England Golf and is a very important playing opportunity for the players, both for the elite amateurs and the professionals. The Gainsborough course has proved a great test for the players and we look forward to welcoming everyone to the tournament to support the future stars of women’s golf.”
There is a Pro Am with gala dinner preceding the event on Wednesday 27th September. For team entry enquiries please email email@example.com or call 01206 265841 or to download an entry form, please go to: www.stokebynayland.com/events/letas-pro-am-3-day-event