Golfer Ashley Lau’s case, the Sarawak-born’s rich vein of form secured her a ticket to the prestigious Augusta National Women’s Amateur (ANWA) Championship in the United States on March 30-April 2.
The 22-year-old will get her first taste of playing at the famed Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, the home of the Masters Tournament — one of the four majors in men’s professional golf — after being invited to form the stellar 72-player field earlier this week.
Ashley will be up against the likes of Rose Zhang and Rachel Heck of the US, Swedish duo Ingrid Lindblad and Beatrice Waillin and South Korea’s Hwang Youmin as well as last year’s US Women’s Amateur champion Jensen Castle and British Women’s Amateur winner Louise Duncan.
A delighted Ashley said she did not see the invitation coming after failing to make the first list of qualifiers in mid-January.
ASHLEY CONSISTENT WORLD NO 54
The initial field was exclusive to winners of the major amateur championships, 30 highest-ranked American golfers and 30 highest-ranked international players based on last year’s final World Amateur Golf Ranking.
Ashley, who has had consistent results on the collegiate tour, was ranked world No 54 last year and 43rd among the international players.
In her recent seven events, she recorded four top-five finishes, including two titles and a runner-up effort.
“It was unexpected,” said Ashley, who is currently competing at the PING/ASU Invitational in Arizona.
“I did not give it much thought when I was not on the initial ANWA list.
“It means a lot to me to play at a course with so much history. Before this, I only got to watch the Masters on TV.”
Ashley is the third Malaysian to qualify for the event since its inception in 2019.
Loy Hee Ying and Alyaa Abdulghany had featured in the 2019 event with the latter returning for last year’s edition. None made the cut. The golfers will compete over 54 holes of stroke play.
Only the top-30 players will advance to the final round at Augusta National.