Hannah McCook looking to make top grade at Q School
NETHY Bridge golf star Hannah McCook has squeaked into the Final Stage of Q School by the smallest of margins and is now hoping to turn that to her advantage.
The 26-year-old had to get up and down from a bunker in two at the 18th hole in the fourth and final round at La Manga in pre-qualifying to make it to the last stage of competition for the 2020 Ladies European Tour.
McCook admitted her heart was pounding as she lined up to sink the all-important four foot putt after a wonderful bunker shot had given her the chance to progress.
And she held her nerve to make the cut on ties for the Final Stage which got under way yesterday in the famous Spanish sporting resort in Cartagena, Murcia.
Speaking ahead off teeing off, she told the Strathy: "I am delighted to make it through again but it was a bit of a close thing in the end. But making the cut is all the counts and it's a fresh start for Final Stage."
Sinking the putt means that McCook, who finished 48th on the LET Access Series Order of Merit in her debut season, is guaranteed to have the same playing rights as last season.
But it could be a whole lot better. The top 20 players from the field of 120 will qualify for the Ladies European Tour.
"I'll be aiming to finish as high as possible. Anyone in the field could finish in the top five," said McCook, who has been playing on the second tier.
A total of 63 players at 13-over-par or better advanced from pre-qualifying.
They have joined the 57 players already exempt to make a field of 120 players at La Manga Club, to be played over five rounds on the resort's North and South courses, and running until this Sunday (January 26).
All scoring starts afresh, and McCook knew there was a lot of stake making the final hole in two strokes from the bunker.
She said: "It was a tricky putt. I could feel my heart beating that's for sure but I had to get on with it, and was relieved to see the ball drop."
Although the Final Stage is played over the same venue, McCook has said there could be some changes forced by Mother Nature as she seeks to take the next step up in the pro-game.
The ex-sportscotland Glenmore Lodge worker said: "There was a huge storm on Sunday night and quite a few trees have been uprooted so the two courses might play a little different."
The top 20 players will earn full LET cards – the first five will qualify in Category 5c and a further 15 in Category 8a.
There are 10 amateurs in the field at Final Stage. Slovenian Pia Babnik is the youngest competitor at 16.
There are 29 nationalities represented at the Final Stage.
England is represented by 24 competitors, followed by Sweden with 17 and France with 15. There are five players competing from Scotland.
Related article: McCook is in 'Q' to go to very top of the tour