The Ascensus Race for the Card is getting tighter and tighter as the season comes to an end. In just four weeks, the Epson Tour will have a new graduating class and the LPGA Tour will have 10 new members.
While the fight to stay in the top 10 remains tight, there are 25 women on the outside looking in. Nos. 11 through 36 on the Official Money List are just one win away from breaking through. Epson Tour rookie, Amelia Garvey says she’s learned a lot during her first year on tour and is ready to use that as motivation heading into the final four events.
“It’s been a long year up until now,” said Garvey. “Starting out, I didn’t really know what to expect result wise. The standard out here has been amazing this year, and I’ve picked up some form the past couple of months. I’m really happy that I’ve gotten to the end of the year with a chance.”
Garvey, who is currently No. 31 on the Official Money List, hopes to remain in the top 35, get redemption at Q-Series in December and have a second shot at an LPGA card if she misses the top 10.
“That top 35 is definitely a big goal of mine,” said Garvey. “To be able to get through to the final stage [of the LPGA Qualifying tournament], which I just missed out on last year. I try not to think about it too much, though.”
Polly Mack, another rookie on tour, wasn’t in contention until recently. The German made the cut at the French Lick Charity Classic by one stroke, which started her run for the card. She placed third at that event and then went on to finish in the top-15 at both the Four Winds Invitational and Circling Raven Championship.
“A couple of weeks ago I was really worried about having to go back to first stage,” said Mack. “Now I’m having at shot at a LPGA card without having played Q-School. It feels nice not having to worry too much and just go week by week.”
Mack plays this week’s event, the Guardian Championship, in a state she’s familiar with. The University of Alabama graduate returns to the Yellowhammer State for two of the final four weeks
“I’m pretty much home in Alabama which also helps,” said Mack. “Having a support system out here feels good.”
The level of competition in the Ascensus Race for the Card drives Mack to better herself and keep her head in her own game. At No. 27 on the Official Money List, Mack is determined to earn her card for the 2023 LPGA season.
“I’ve definitely learned that the competition is tough,” said Mack. “There are really good players out here, but that makes it even better. It makes me even more competitive and want to practice even harder.”
Adding to the list of rookies in the hunt is Gabriela Ruffels. The Australian sits at No. 12 on the Official Money List, just two spots outside of the desired top-10.
“There’s been a lot of learning this year,” said Ruffels. “I feel like I’ve been gradually getting better as the year’s gone on. I’m more consistent and happy to be in the 12th position, but it’s anyone’s game and the next four weeks are pretty important. All I can do is my best, but I’m definitely in a good spot.”
Like most players on tour, Ruffels hopes to finish the season strong and move up two spots in the rankings. Her goal is to earn her LPGA card through the Ascensus Race for the Card.
Similar to Mack, Sofia Garcia also recognizes the level of competition on the Epson Tour. The rookie, who is just inside the top-20 at No. 19, is ready to put up a fight during the last four weeks of the season.
“You always want to be in contention,” said Garcia. “It’s cool to have the opportunity to still be playing for a card, especially because we’re all really good. It’s all going to come down to who can put it together these next four weeks.”