Emma Goddard from Cheshire and Meghan MacLaren from Northamptonshire – both England internationals in their amateur days – have been given places, respectively, in last week’s LET Andalucia Costa del Sol Open de Espana Feminino and the Lacoste Ladies Open de France, from October 5-8. It’s part of England Golf’s strategy to support former amateurs.
Goddard, who represents Royal Liverpool, unfortunately missed the halfway cut in the event but was thankful to receive the opportunity and commented: “To receive the invite from England Golf was amazing. It allows me to test myself against the best in Europe again to see how far my game has improved this season.”
Her game is in great shape. Goddard, 26, has won on the LET Access Series this year and she is currently sixth on the order of merit, challenging strongly for one of the five full LET cards on offer at the end of the season.
“Getting my LET card back has been the main target this year and to have a chance of achieving that with two events left is exciting. All the hard work is paying off.”
Her performance this week would not have counted toward the LET Access Series order of merit but provided the chance to sharpen her game for the end of season finale after a break of a few weeks since her last event. The Access Series concludes with this week’s WPGA International Challenge at Stoke by Nayland, Essex; and the Santander Golf Tour LETAS El Saler, near Valencia in Spain, from 25-27 October.
“I just want to thank England Golf for everything they have done for me. I turned professional three years ago and still worked full time up until April this year so I hope I can take this opportunity - or unfortunately I'll be returning to work in November!” said Goddard.
Meghan MacLaren, from Wellingborough, turned professional a year ago after an outstanding amateur career which included an individual win in the British stroke play and team wins for England in the European Championships and for GB&I in the Curtis Cup. She also won on the LET Access Series as an amateur, just before turning professional last year.
She now leads the order of merit after claiming her second win in the Azores Ladies Open in April and posting a string of other high finishes. MacLaren also qualified for the US Women’s Open. She remarked: “Some of my best amateur memories came from playing for England, so to still be given opportunities like this in the professional game is a great connection to that. I've spent most of this year playing LET Access events and the chance to make the step up onto the main tour is exactly what I want and need and I'm really grateful to England Golf for that.”
MacLaren added: “When I look at where I was this time a year ago - I missed the cut at LPGA Q School and I wasn't really sure whether I was ready to turn pro - I feel like I'm in a great place now. “England Golf actually gave me the opportunity to play my first Access event and that was what really kickstarted the last year.”
“I've had a chance to work hard on my game in an environment that's been great for me, with being around my coaches and playing regular competitive golf. Knowing I should have my full LET card for next year is perfect, because it means no matter what happens in the next couple of months, I'll be a few steps ahead of where I was this time last year.”