Lauren Horsford made a superb start with a six-under-par 66 in the opening round at the finals of Lalla Aicha Tour School in Marrakesh, Morocco.
She took the clubhouse lead after making eight birdies and two bogeys in warm and sunny conditions at Amelkis Golf Club.
The 21-year-old Londoner could have double cause for celebration this Christmas if she regains her Ladies European Tour card.
She is among the Wimbledon Park Golf Club members set to share a £64m windfall after a vote to sell the club to the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, the venue of the Wimbledon Championships. The result will see the current site of the Grand Slam triple in size.
She, along with fellow members Piers Morgan and Ant and Dec, will receive an £85,000 windfall from the proceeds of the sale, which could help her to get a foot on the property ladder in the future.
However, she has mixed feelings and is pleased to be able to continue playing at the club where she has been a member since the age of 10 for at least another three years, as the 18-hole golf course will continue to operate until at least 31 December 2021.
Speaking after her stunning first round on Sunday, Horsford said: “It is a shame, because that’s the only place I’ve played golf. I started playing golf there and I’ve been there 11 years now. Obviously, to have the money is massive for me, as well, but then you still have to find somewhere else to join. My sister’s a member there, my dad’s a member there, and we always play golf together, so if we join somewhere else, we will have to move together. I think it’s a shame because you know it’s going to be built on, and it’s grassland at the moment. You see the amount of effort that the greenkeepers put in to make it what it is and it will be dug up, but that’s just the way it is. I have mixed feelings about the whole thing, but the fact that I can play there for another three years, maybe four years with nine holes, in that time, anything can happen.”
Horsford played her rookie year on the Ladies European Tour in 2017 but lost her card last year and has been working behind the bar at The Wisley Golf Club, but has concentrated on fine-tuning her game for Tour School since June.
“I really hope to regain my full card. We’ll see how it goes. I’ve had a good start and hopefully I’ll play on the LET again next year.
“I had a five-under here in the first round two years ago, when I got my card. I’ve played here four years in a row now, so I do know the course. It’s very scoreable and the greens are so good that if you hit putts at the hole, they should go in, but they are sneaky quick and if you hit it too far they will trickle past.
“I holed a couple of long putts, which were a bit of a shock! One was 30 feet, on the first, which was my 10th hole, and a 20-footer on the third, which was my 12th hole. They obviously helped and the birdies just came. I made a nice birdie on my last, the ninth, a par-5 which was just about reachable and I wasn’t on the green, but it was a good feeling to finish the round that way.”