Malaysia’s top women’s golfer Sarawakian Ashley Lau begins chase for LPGA card


Lau is currently ranked a career-best 234th on the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings.

KUCHING (March 15): National women’s number one Ashley Lau will begin her campaign in the new Epson Tour season with her confidence on a high, having enjoyed a string of impressive results in the Asia-Pacific region over the last two months highlighted by her maiden professional victory in Australia.

Lau, who is from Bintulu, will be part of the 132-player field at the US$200,000 (RM940,500) IOA Golf Classic presented by LPT Realty, the second event of the 2024 Epson Tour which tees off today at Alaqua Country Club in Longwood, Florida.

The tour is the official qualifying circuit for the LPGA Tour and will feature 20 events this season, offering a record US$5 million (RM23.51 million) in total prize money.

Lau noted that her recent fine run was largely the result of a more positive mindset.

“I think approaching the game with a different mentality has been the biggest difference; appreciating the game more and being more forgiving with myself has helped the most,” said Lau, who turns 24 on March 18.

She will be joined at Alaqua Country Club by compatriot Alyaa Abdulghany, who mustered a T22 finish at last week’s season-opening Florida’s Natural Charity Classic.

During the off-season, Lau worked on some minor swing tweaks with her Kuala Lumpur-based Australian coach Fergal McGeown.

“There’s always a couple technical fixes here and there, but it was nothing major.”

Her impressive breakthrough victory came at last month’s Vic Open, a Women’s PGA of Australasia event played at 13th Beach Golf Links in Barwon Heads.

She showed her mettle by closing with a 66 for a 12-under-par 277 total, edging former world number one Shin Jiyai of Korea by one shot.

Lau also played in four mixed-gender Players Series events on the Australian circuit and was among the top five women each time.

She ended her Asia-Pacific campaign with a T27 performance at last week’s Hana Financial Group Singapore Women’s Open.

In December 2023, Lau claimed a T17 finish at the Simone Asia-Pacific Cup in Jakarta.

Turning professional in late 2022 following a standout collegiate golf career with the University of Michigan, Lau endured a topsy-turvy rookie season on the 2023 Epson Tour with a mix of solid performances and missed cuts.

She finished 56th on the tour’s Race For The Card season standings and was unsuccessful in her bid to qualify for the LPGA Tour, bowing out at Stage 2 of Qualifying School.

Lau noted that it is important for a professional golfer to be able to face adversity and come back stronger.

“Being athletes, we face many ups and downs, and it comes down to how we deal with adversity.

“The game is easy when everything is going the way we want it to, but it’s how we cope when things don’t go our way that really matters,” shared Lau, currently ranked a career-best 234th on the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings.

She is well-placed to qualify for the Paris Olympics in August, having climbed up to 51st spot on the Olympic Golf Ranking, just two places above compatriot Natasha Oon.

Both Malaysians are on course to be among the top 60 players at the cut-off date of June 24, thereby earning the right to represent their nation as an Olympian at Le Golf National.

In the meantime, Lau is looking forward to getting back into Epson Tour action and resume her quest to get on the LPGA Tour.

The 2024 Epson Tour offers LPGA Tour Cards to the top 15 players on the Race For The Card ranking following the season-ending Epson Tour Championship on Oct 3-6.

The top 10 will receive Category 9 status on the Priority List for the 2025 LPGA Tour, while the 11th-15th ranked players will be accorded Category 15 status.

“I’m very excited to be back in action on the Epson Tour and am also looking forward to seeing my friends. Hopefully, I will end this year with an LPGA Tour card in my hands! That has always been my main goal and has not changed,” added Lau.

The Epson Tour is the official qualifying tour of the LPGA Tour, the world’s leading competitive circuit for female professional golfers.