Cathryn Bristow holds nerve to win place on tour

CATHRYN BRISTOW: Will compete on the 2013 Ladies European Tour.
CATHRYN BRISTOW: Will compete on the 2013 Ladies European Tour.

Cathryn Bristow's game is suited to the Ladies European Tour but she will have to adapt quickly to the different requirements of playing on a global golf tour, according to former tour pro Liz McKinnon.

The 28-year-old Aucklander will join Wellington veteran Lynnette Brooky on the LET next year after holding her nerve in the final round of the qualifying school event in Morocco yesterday.

Bristow was right on the number heading into the fifth and final round in Marrakech but she responded under pressure, carding a two-under par 70 to finish in a share of 25th place at seven-under for the five-round tournament, and earn full playing rights in Europe next year.

It is a massive boost for the left-hander, who has been plying her trade in the United States on the Futures Tour, the LPGA's feeder tour, and back home in Australasia.

She has had a couple of good wins in the past 18 months, one at the Pennsylvania Classic on the Futures Tour in the US last year and one on the Australian tour in January, but securing her card in Europe represents a big breakthrough.

Bristow, who turned professional in 2010 after graduating from the University of Oregon with a degree in psychology, is the only Kiwi to progress through Q-school this year in either the US or Europe.

"It's very exciting and I'm looking forward to playing in Europe next year," she said in a brief email, amid celebrating her success.

McKinnon, these days New Zealand Golf 's high-performance coordinator, played on the LET for four years and said she believed now was the ideal time for Bristow to progress to a major tour.

"She has done her time on a rookie tour, she had some success at the start of the year on the ALPG and this is a natural progression for her. The Ladies European Tour is truly a global tour and she is in for a great year," McKinnon said.

"I think her game will suit the different courses that she'll have to play. She is long and straight off the tee and is just a solid player. She has also shown in recent weeks that she is not afraid of going low, which is important."

However, she also had some words of caution.

"The biggest difference will be the travel requirements and the time pressure that puts on your week. You are in a different country every week and you need to be ready for that. Make some friends on tour to help you out along the way."

McKinnon praised Bristow for her steadiness in the past two weeks, as she made it through two intense stages of qualifying.

"It is one of those events when you have to be patient, stay calm and just play steady golf. Cathryn has managed to do that to the last hole. She will be delighted."

The top 30 players in the field of 141 claimed a card and, as it transpired, seven-under was the magic number. Bristow had rounds of 70, 74, 68, 71 and 70 for the week.

Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn, ranked the No 2 amateur in the world behind New Zealand's Lydia Ko, won the tournament by five strokes, at 24-under-par.

The Dominion Post