Date: December 07, 2017
Author: Mark Hayes

Hard yards pay off for Artis

It's been a slow burn for Rebecca Artis, but 2017 has finally caught ablaze.

The popular New South Welshwoman has secured her LPGA Tour card for season 2018, a career goal achieved after a year in which she's changed her direction entirely.

"I’ve always believed I was good enough to play on the LPGA," said Artis, who captured a LPGA card at her fifth qualifying tournament.

"It's taken me longer than I probably would’ve wished, but it doesn’t matter now.

"I grew up in a small country town about six hours west of Sydney, so to achieve what I have coming from a place like that is pretty good effort," she told the LPGA website after securing card.

That place is Coonabarabran, which is probably still in party mode after Artis' tremendous achievement.

The 29-year-old played all five rounds of the gruelling final stage of Q-School in Florida at par or better, finishing outright fourth at eight under after a closing 71 on the LPGA International's Hills Course.

The tournament was won by Nasa Hataoka, a Japanese player with an Aussie twist with her South Australian coach Gareth Jones guiding her to medallist honours at 12 under.

Another player with an Aussie connection to advance was 2016 Oates Vic Open winner Georgia Hall, of England, who overcame an opening 77 to finish at six under and T7 with 20 players earning LPGA playing rights.

Having switched from playing the Ladies European Tour full-time this year, Artis, a dual winner in Europe, has been frenetic in the past two months, ensuring herself as many options as possible for 2018.

She will this week tee up in the Dubai Ladies Classic to ensure she has played the minimum requirement of five LET tournaments to keep those playing rights as well.

But, along with husband and caddie Geoff, Artis has spent most of her 2017 campaign battling away on the Symetra Tour.

Artis had just two top-10 results in reaching No.41 on the Race for the Card money list which left her having to qualify through round two of the Q-school process, which she duly achieved with a T26 finish in late October.

From there, it's safe to say her travel schedule has been hectic.

"After Q2, I jumped on a plane to Australia to spend a whole two days at home and get a quick lesson from my coach," Artis said.

"Then it was straight back in the air to play two LET events."

The first tournament was the Mubarak Ladies Open in Abu Dhabi and the second was the Women’s Indian Open in Gurgaon in which she finished T11 and T13, respectively.

"Following those two events, home to Australia for eight days for some final preparations before heading back to the United States for Q3," said Artis, clearly playing herself into form at the critical juncture.

"I have been fortunate enough to be able to continue to play competitive tournament golf," Artis said.

"I feel for myself, along with some time with my coach in Australia, that it is ideal prep."

And in typical cheeky fashion, Artis admitted it hadn't all been flying and golf.

"I always find time for some retail therapy," she joked.

Artis, who finished T24 and only nine shots from the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open title at Royal Adelaide this year, will make her LPGA Tour debut as a card-carrying member at Kooyonga Golf Club in February.

Aussies Wendy Doolan, Stephanie Na and Celina Yuan all reached the final stage of Q-school for the LPGA Tour, but didn't make the top 20.