GOLF: Lauren earns full Tour card for 2016

Memories of winning the 2011 BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year helped Lauren's tremendous fightback in Morocco
Memories of winning the 2011 BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year helped Lauren's tremendous fightback in Morocco
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Young pro spending two months playing in Australia

It’s going to be a very happy new year for professional golfer Lauren Taylor as, after qualifying through Tour School in Morocco just before Christmas, the 21-year-old has earned a full card to compete on the 2016 Ladies European Tour.

And on Saturday she flew out to Australia to enjoy two months playing in the sunshine in preparation.

Despite only competing in six Tour events in 2015, Lauren only just missed out on a place in the top 80 in the LET Order of Merit and retaining an automatic full card.

So although she already had a conditional card, success at Tour School provided the chance to improve her status.

“I’d not played competitively since the first week of October, so I’d had lots of time to practice,” said Lauren, who turned professional in September 2013. “But I wasn’t used to the quick greens in Morocco and shot six over on the first day. I needed to be in the top 30 to qualify and was a long, long way off that.

“I was playing good golf apart from that, but the speed of the greens just kept catching me out.”

Over the next rounds Lauren made up the shots, started to hole putts and fought back to be six under after nine holes on the fourth day.

Although she dropped a couple of shots, her final score was enough for a coveted top-30 place and a full Tour card.

“After having such a bad start I knew what I had to do and was just focusing on my golf not the leaderboard,” explained Lauren, who started her career as a junior at Rugby Golf Club.

“I knew I could do it as I was playing well, only putting poorly, but there’s a big difference between knowing you can do it and actually achieving it.

“Using the experience I’ve gained over the last couple of years helped me a lot.

“I was nine under for the last four rounds, which did feel like a big win because I had come from so far behind. It made Christmas a lot sweeter!

“I had changed my swing five or six weeks ago and this was the first time I had used it under tournament pressure and it held up so well. I’ve taken a lot of confidence from it.

“2015 may not have been such a good year as others I’ve had, but I had such a great amateur career I almost expected it to be the same as a pro.

“There were aspects of my game I had to improve to get to a similar level as a pro and I feel that I am on that track now.”

Lauren, who was the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year in 2011, is invited back to the ceremony every year, but as it always clashes with Tour School hasn’t yet been able to go.

“I had lots of messages about it, which brought back some good memories for me while I was in Morocco and I think that really helped,” she added. “It reminded me what I have achieved and that good golf is still there. I’m hoping I’ll be able to go to it next year.”

Lauren’s main goal for 2016 is the Ricoh Women’s British Open in July, which will be on her home course of Woburn.

Having only arrived home on December 23 to enjoy Christmas and New Year with her family and catching up with friends - who she is always grateful to for their support - Lauren was soon packing her bags again ready to spend January and February on the ALPG tour in Australia.

She will be based at Castle Hill just outside Sydney, staying with a friend who moved out there with her family.

Lauren will be playing several pro-am events as well as three main tournaments towards the end of her stay.