Nick Gordon
2 minute read
16 Dec 2013
7:00 am

Simon in seventh heaven after earning card

Nick Gordon

If at first you don't succeed, try and try again. It's a mantra that Ashleigh Simon has been living by over the last few years and it's finally paid off as the 24-year-old secured her LPGA Tour card for next season following a high-pressure play-off.

FILE PIC. Ashleigh Simon chips onto the 9th green during day 2 of the South African Womens Golf Open at Selborne Country Club on July 14, 2012 in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.Photo by Shaun Roy / Gallo Images

The win at the final Q-School event a week ago opens doors for Simon, who has been one of South African golf’s rising stars for a while, and although she has already experienced the rigours of playing on the toughest women’s tour in the world it’s an opportunity she’s eager to exploit.

“This was my seventh try since I turned pro in 2007,” Simon said following the news of her qualification before adding that it was her mental toughness that got her through this time around.

“I think mentally I was the strongest ever. I was in a different space. I played well this year, despite my shortened season after coming back from surgery,” Simon said referring to a hip injury that required her to go under the knife in April.

“I played really well in my last few tournaments and that boosted my confidence going into Q-School, knowing that I could do it. The mental side was a lot stronger than it has been in the past.”

Only 20 cards were on offer in a field of 154 golfers and Simon, who finished 13th on the LET Order of Merit this year, had to do it the hard way in a play-off, beating off three other players for her card.

“Q-School is pretty much the most daunting week in any golfer’s life. For me, personally, the pressure is much worse at Q-school than at any Major I’ve played in,” Simon said.

“I’m happy with my season, especially how I came back after the surgery. I have to say that the surgery and the time I had to spend in rehabilitation gave me time to think and reflect on my career and I gained a lot of perspective.

“You go through stages in your career where golf becomes just something you have to do and not something you really want to do.”