Rising star Georgia Hall is second on the points list in the race to qualify for Europe’s Solheim Cup team and is close to securing her spot at Des Moines in August.
A breakthrough victory at the SGF67 World Ladies Championship with SBS in China this week would see her move back to the summit ahead of Melissa Reid, who captured the recent Oates Vic Open in Australia to move eight points ahead.
A win at Mission Hills Resort Haikou is worth 60 points due to the prize fund being more than €500,000, whereas wins at lower purse events are worth 40 points, but Major championship victories are worth a whopping 80 points to European LET members up to and including the Ricoh Women’s British Open, which is the final qualification tournament this year.
Hall is one of four Englishwomen currently leading the rankings with Charley Hull and Florentyna Parker occupying the third and fourth spots respectively and she says that qualification and winning a tournament are her two main goals in 2017, her third year on tour.
“The Solheim Cup is probably my biggest goal this year and towards the end of last year as well, to get up the rankings, and to win on the LET is obviously big for me, because I’ve been close a few times,” said the Bournemouth based 20-year-old, who racked up eight top 10s on the LET in 2016, including a runner-up spot at the Fatima Bink Mubarak Ladies Open in Abu Dhabi.
“I’m improving every year and because I came fourth on the rankings last year it got me into the US Open and hopefully I’ll play in more Majors this year. I think the next step is definitely a win and it’s the right time now,” she added.
“I really enjoyed playing in the PING Junior Solheim Cup in Denver and it was one of my best experiences as an amateur. I really love match play and always have done. It was definitely my strongest as an amateur as I won the British Ladies’, British Girls’ and I really enjoy the competitiveness of match play and playing one against one. Also in foursomes and four balls you are part of a team, which is great. I really enjoyed playing in The Queens as well last year.”
The Parkstone-based player enjoys playing on American courses, having teed up in the US Open, ANA Inspiration, PING Junior Solheim Cup and Curtis Cup on US soil and she is even more motivated by the opportunity to play for a special first-time captain. She explained: “I’ve never met Annika Sorenstam but she’s been my female idol growing up and the way she played was incredible. When I heard that she was the captain this time, I thought, I’ve got to try my best to get into that team because it’s amazing just to play in The Solheim Cup but for her to be the captain as well does add a bit of a bonus for me.”
Hall is one of 126 players in the field for the SGF67 World Ladies Championship by SBS, which is tri-sanctioned and includes 40 players from each of the LET, CLPG Tour and KLPGA, as well as six sponsor invites. Hall will tee off at 7.30am local time in the first round of the 54-hole event on Friday.
She clinched her first title of the week on Wednesday evening when she was named as the best dressed player during the Pro-Am ceremony and welcome dinner and was jumping for joy in her glittering Michael Kors heels.
She said: “It’s such an honour. I couldn’t believe it. I do take pride in the way I dress, so I was really happy and surprised to hear that I’d been named the best dressed. It was a great compliment.”
photos Janos Schmidt