AMELIA Garvey, the Hyde-born professional golfer, has failed in her bid to win a card to compete on the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour.
However, the 21-year-old, who spent her early years in Godley before her family emigrated to New Zealand, was able to take plenty of positives from her performance in phase two of three qualifiers for the LPGA Tour.
Amelia, missed out by five shots at Plantation Golf and Country Club, Venice, Florida, where she shot rounds of 70, 71, 73 and 74 for a two-over-par total of 288 to tie for 62nd place from a field of 179 players.
The top 45 players – 47 in this case because of the number of players tied at three-under-par – progress to Q Series, the last of the three qualifying phases, between November 29-December 12.
However, Amelia’s results in stages one and two of qualifying were good enough to earn full playing rights to compete on the Symetra Tour which is one step down from the LPGA Tour.
Amelia’s cousin Jamie Tipper, professional and director of golf at Werneth Low, was again her caddie.
He said: “It was the dream for Amelia to win her LPGA Tour card, but always more probable to get on to the Symetra Tour.
“Amelia only turned professional a couple of months ago and there would have been a lot of pressure competing on the LPGA Tour.
“The Symetra Tour is a good stepping stone for Amelia to learn her trade.
“Nearly every top player in the world and many major winners began playing on the Symetra Tour.”
And there are plenty of opportunities to step up from the Symetra to LPGA Tour.
Jamie explained: “If Amelia wins three Symetra events, she will go straight on to the LPGA Tour and, likewise, if she finishes in the top 15 in the order of merit, she also steps up.
“And all players on the Symetra Tour are exempt to the third and final qualifying stage for the LPGA Tour.”
It was a case of near and yet so far for Amelia in the second qualifying stage for the LPGA Tour as she shot rounds of two-under-par, one under, one over and two over.
And Amelia was still in contention to progress to the third qualifying stage when she made her first birdie of the final round, at her seventh hole, the par-five 16th, to move to three-under for the tournament.
But that was her only birdie of the final round, and when she made bogey at the 18th, and then a double bogey at the second hole, her 11th of the day, she was three shots back from where she needed to be. She could only make par on each of her last seven holes when she needed birdies.
Amelia also lamented her third round, when she posted two double bogeys, her only blemishes of the day.
Jamie said: “The course did not favour big hitters like Amelia who didn’t find enough fairways so was playing out of the rough.
“She had made changes to her swing and was yet to trust the things she had been working on.
“Add to that, it was also stressful as this was the first time Amelia had tried to win her LPGA Tour card.”
Amelia had earlier breezed through the first qualifying phase at Mission Hills Country Club, California, where she finished fourth out of a field of 339.
Amelia, who turned professional in May shortly before competing in her second US Women’s Open, spent time with her coach in Florida after the second qualifying finished to continue to work on her new swing.
She is now back in New Zealand for the first time since lockdown and will spend time with her family before returning to America for the start of the Symetra Tour in February.