Kelsey Bennett has secured her maiden Major Championship start, making it through final qualifying for this week’s AIG Women’s British Open after surviving a 13-for-five sudden-death playoff at Hankley Common overnight.
The Mollymook star finished the regulation 18-hole qualifier in a tie for 8th place after carding a two-under-par 70 on the impressive heathland course in Surrey.
The playoff was a nail-biting affair, and with 13 players vying for a spot in the final women’s major for the year, there was plenty of tension in the air.
Korean Mi Hyang Lee, courtesy of a birdie on the first playoff hole, grabbed the first spot. At the same time, Lucy Li, Virginia Elena Carta and Lydia Hall each bogeyed the hole to leave nine players for just four spots.
Bennett, who had birdied the last hole of regulation play, didn’t need another chance, and courtesy of a birdie on the second playoff hole, the 23-year-old secured her first start in a major.
World amateur number one Ingrid Lindblad of Sweden and England’s Hayley Davis also got through on the second hole alongside Bennett. It was extremely timely given that play was suspended for the day not long after due to darkness with two players fighting it out for the one remaining spot.
Bennett’s qualification sees the NSW contingent at this week’s AIG Women’s Open climb to four, with Grace Kim, Steph Kyriaocu and Sarah Kemp, who secured her spot at last week’s Scottish Open, already in the field at Walton Health.
Bennett has made a sound start to her rookie professional season on the LET Access Tour, currently sitting in 21st place on the order of Merit after just seven starts with two top-ten finishes.