(Tytherington, Cheshire March 29 2004) England’s Karen Stupples has joined the Ladies European Tour this week after her recent record breaking win at the Welch/Fry’s Championship in Arizona on the LPGA Tour enabled her to file for membership.
Stupples, a professional for five years on the LPGA Tour and who set the new LPGA Tour record for the lowest score at 258 (22-under par) for four rounds, needed a win on either side of the Atlantic to become eligible to join the Ladies European Tour and begin earning Solheim Cup points for the 2005 matches at Crooked Stick in Indiana.
Stupples, a graduate from Florida State University, made the decision to join the LPGA Tour in 1999 as she could not afford to also join the LET.
The 30-year-old from Deal in Kent on England’s South East coast, had to sell everything including her furniture to finance a life on the professional circuit. And after five years going under the radar of the British golfing media and public, Stupples emerged as a serious contender for titles with her best season to date on the 2003 LPGA, earning $325,744, with some pundits calling or her to be included in Europe’s Solheim Cup team in 2003.
“I’m very excited about becoming a member of the LET and I’m looking forward to playing in a few events this season,” said Stupples, who finished second to Annika Sörenstam in the ANZ Ladies Masters a month ago in Australia.
“It’s been a long time coming in joining the LET. I would have joined the same time as I joined the LPGA but it would have cost me about £600 and at the time, I was broke and couldn’t afford it. And until last season, The Solheim Cup was never really an issue.
“A friend gave me £8000 when I turned professional and that allowed me to go to the USA, but I had to sell everything else including my furniture to make it work.”
Stupples, who won on the LPGA Tour in the company of her long time idol Laura Davies, is now the number two ranked English player behind the legendary Davies and is strongly tipped to make the 2005 European Solheim Cup team after a string of solid performances over the last two seasons.
“There’s no secret that I want to be playing Solheim Cup golf next year, I’ve played in two Curtis Cup’s and they were the pinnacle of my amateur career and naturally, The Solheim Cup is a big goal for me.
“I’ll be trying my hardest to earn some points whenever I can and I feel my game is ready to play at that level and I also want to play a bit more in Europe and this year.
“So far, my plans are that I’ll play the Evian Masters, the Weetabix Women’s British Open and maybe the English Open in July.”