With hotels still closed in the U.K., LET Access Series player Sophie Powell posted a photo of the van she slept in to compete in the first event on the Rose Ladies Series, where she tied for 18th. Powell, who is also in the field at Moor Park, then tweeted a video showing upgrades to the van for Week 2 — potted plants and her initials in lights above the bed.
“We’re desperate to play,” said Liz Young, who noted that Powell slept in the parking lot at Brockenhurst Manor Golf Club and had a barbecue. “We’ll do anything.”
Young, who first came up with the idea for the Brockenhurst event that quickly morphed into a series after Justin Rose and his wife Kate became involved, said there’s already a waiting list for next week’s event. She expects those lists to grow even more now that pubs and hotels will open in England on July 4.
That’s especially true when the event heads to Royal St. George’s on July 9. Royal St. George’s was scheduled to host the men’s British Open this year until the event was canceled due to COVID-19. The storied venue has previously hosted 13 British Open Championships.
“It’s a great honor to play a course like this,” said Young.
Charley Hull won the first event at Brockenhurst, Young’s home club, with a birdie on the first playoff hole to take home $6,265 (5,000 pounds) and a Tiffany & Co. trophy.
Young said her nerves were cranking when she hit the first tee shot of the series. A par on the first hole settled her down and a hole-out for eagle on the 13th with a 6-iron sent her sailing.
“Although it would’ve been great that if I would’ve won, it was great for the series that she won,” said Young. “The co-creator against the World No. 25 in a playoff in the first event – you couldn’t write it.”
After Justin Rose and his wife Kate put up 35,000 pounds to help create the series, American Golf stepped up to sponsor the Order of Merit with an additional 35,000 pounds. The Order of Merit winner will receive 20,000 pounds while 10,000 goes to second and 5,000 to third.
The top 10 finishers each week receive a check and positions 1-15 earn Order of Merit points.
The series received an additional boost when Computacenter put in another 35,000 pounds to sponsor a two-day Grand Final mega purse for the eighth and final event. The Grand Final will play over two courses, with Round 1 taking place at The Berkshire and Round at Wentworth Club on the West Course.
The events are closed to spectators and while the action isn’t televised live, highlights can be seen on Sky Sports, Sky Sports Golf and the BBC in the U.K.
“Definitely without Justin and Kate behind it we wouldn’t have gotten those sponsors,” said Young. “I think it just highlights that we need the male counterparts to step up. I see how we struggle for sponsorship on the ladies tour. It’s really difficult to get sponsors and suddenly in two weeks we had two people matching Justin.”
This week’s event at Moor Park Golf Club will again feature the likes of Hull and Young. They’ll be joined by the likes of LPGA winner Bronte Law, a hero at last year’s Solheim Cup, Gemma Dryburgh, Meghan MacLaren, Lauren Taylor, Amy Boulden, Felicity Johnson and the Fuller sisters – Annabell and Samantha.
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