Rachel, an England international from Ganton, won full playing rights on the 2008 tour after she finished 14th at qualifying school. Emma, a former South-Eastern champion from West Surrey, earned a conditional card and hopes to get at least a dozen starts in tournaments.
Melissa, 20, missed the crucial 54-hole cut at qualifying school but has decided to go ahead with her plans to turn professional. She’s taking up her option to join the LET, is currently sorting out contracts and is hoping for a healthy number of sponsors’ invites to tournaments.
The Chevin player, who is England’s top amateur, bounced straight back from disappointment by setting her 2008 goals on the plane home from tour school - and her first aim is to win an LET event.
“After my experience of tour school I can see how it can either make or break a player and I definitely think it’s going to make me stronger,” said the international.
She already has experience of playing in professional events and was leading amateur in the women’s British Open, where Rachel Bell also played all four rounds.
Rachel, 25, has now played a total of three Tour events, made the cut in all of them and is convinced that this is where her future lies.
“I want to pursue my golf to the highest level and that means I have to turn professional,” said Rachel, whose amateur career with the English Ladies’ Golf Association has helped prepare her to take the step.
“Without a doubt, all the help and training I have had from ELGA has got me to where I am today,” she said.
Now, though, she’s taking charge of her own career and tackling the first challenge of finding sponsorship. “In amateur golf you have a lot of people you can rely on. In professional golf you have to do it yourself. You are in charge of your own destiny. It’s exciting and daunting at the same time,” said Rachel.
Emma Lyons, 25, only took up golf when she went to university but she soon set herself the goal of playing on tour. The Surrey county player made rapid progress, reaching plus-one in the 2006 season when she had a host of top-ten finishes in major amateur events.
But then, her golfing plans were stalled for three months when she was laid low by a virus. Her winter training programme had to be abandoned and instead she had to work on her technique as she has played through the 2007 season.
“Considering the year I have had I feel I have done quite well,” said Emma as she reviewed her performance at qualifying school. “I’m very excited about next year and very much looking forward to participating in LET events.”
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS