WA’s Maddison Hinson-Tolchard has secured her playing rights on the Epson Tour for 2024 after successfully negotiating Stage 2 of LPGA Qualifying School.
The 22-year-old (pictured above) plays her golf on the US collegiate circuit with Oklahoma State University and came through the first stage of qualifying school with relative ease in September.
The 72-hole stage II at Plantation Golf & Country Club in Venice, Florida, was not such a comfortable ride, however. Although a six-under-par 66 in the third round looked to have virtually guaranteed Hinson-Tolchard’s qualification, she faded to a four-over 76 on day four and faced a nervous wait with only the top 40 and ties progressing.
In the end, Hinson-Tolchard’s two-under-par 72-hole total was good enough for a share of the 30th place, a shot above the cut-off mark.
With all players who reach the final stage of LPGA Qualifying School earning at least full playing rights on the Epson Tour feeder circuit, Hinson-Tolchard has guaranteed tour status when she graduates from university in May 2024.
As a result, she has decided against competing in the final stage of LPGA Q-School, which requires players to turn professional and will retain her amateur status until she graduates. At that point, Hinson-Tolchard will have 11 events on the Epson Tour in which to earn exempt status for the LPGA.
Explaining her decision, Hison-Tolchard said: “I’ve always wanted to graduate and there are a lot of good things I won’t miss out on if I stay as an amateur for a couple of months. In particular, I have my sights on the Augusta National Women’s Amateur next April.”
Knowing she has a professional tour card in the bag for the second half of next year is a great bonus, though, with Hinson-Tolchard adding: “Having Epson Tour status is a great feeling and a big relief.
“It’s a bit of a weight off my shoulders knowing I have something secured for when I finish college. I’m really excited to take the next step and play on tour, which has always been my dream.”
Hinson-Tolchard carried her strong form into the Women’s World Amateur Team Championship in Abu Dhabi in late October, as she finished as the highest-placed of the three Aussies involved in T8th place in the individual standings.
The Australia team of Hinson-Tolchard, Caitlin Peirce and Justice Bosio finished T6th in the team event. The Republic of Korea was the overall winner.