Gemma Dryburgh '˜ecstatic' after securing LPGA Tour card

Gemma Dryburgh handed Scottish golf the latest in a series of big boosts after producing a superb closing day effort to secure her place alongside compatriot Catriona Matthew on the LPGA Tour next season.

Pictured with her 2017 Team SSE Scottish Hydro players, Gemma Dryburgh, front left, will be playing on the LPGA Tour next season. Picture: Kenny Smith

The 24-year-old Aberdonian started the fifth and final round in the US circuit’s Qualifying School at Daytona Beach in Florida just outside the all-important top 20 in the battle for the most coveted cards in women’s golf.

But, handling the intense last-day pressure brilliantly, she signed off with a four-under-par 68 to end up joint-13th on 356, four-under, in an event won by Japan’s Nasa Hataoka.

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“It means a lot,” said Dryburgh of securing her card from a starting field of 165 players for the third and final stage. “I’ve been working really hard for this for a few years with my coach and my parents and everyone around me.

“I’m just really ecstatic to finally finish the five rounds this week and finish with a good round of 68.”

Dryburgh, who is based in Buckinghamshire, joined English star Georgia Hall in passing the gruelling test.

Hall, who shone as rookie in the Solheim Cup in Des Moines in September, finished joint-seventh at LPGA International on six-under after a closing 72.

Three other European players - Spaniard Luna Sobron Galmes, Celine Herbin of France and Swede Daniela Holmqvist - were among the 20 card winners.

Dryburgh’s success comes hot on the heels of both Bradley Neil and Connor Syme securing European Tour cards.

Neil clinched his at the age of 21 as a Challenge Tour graduate while 22-year-old Syme recorded a top-10 finish in his first visit to the Qualifying School.

Meanwhile, Scottish golf is also celebrating an end-of-year success in the amateur ranks after Kilmarnock (Barassie) man Euan Walker won the Agadir Grand Prix in Morocco.

The Ayrshireman led a Scottish 1-2-3 as Peebles player Darren Howie and Scottish champion Sam Locke finished as his closest challengers.