• Cho, Ash qualify for Women’s NSW Open

Cecilia Cho took the trophy but Emma Ash shared in the spoils as the pair secured their places in the field for the $500,000 Women’s NSW Open at Magenta Shores Golf and Country Club later this month.

Cho edged Ash at the second playoff hole of the first of the Women’s NSW Open Regional Qualifiers at the Duntryleague Golf Club in Orange on Tuesday, the top two exempt into the field for what is a Ladies European Tour co-sanctioned event starting March 29.

Separated by just a single stroke after Monday’s opening round but with a four-stroke gap to the rest of the field, Cho and Ash had to fight to stay clear at the top of the leaderboard.

Cho followed her round of 6-under 66 on Monday with a 2-over 74 in Round 2, Ash matching her two-round total of 4-under with rounds of 67 and 73.

The pair finished just one shot ahead of New Zealand’s Wenyung Keh (67) and Thailand’s Tunrada Piddon (69), headed to extra holes safe in the knowledge that their spots in the Women’s NSW Open were now secure.

For Cho, who has rediscovered the form that once made her the No.1 amateur in the world, it is a continuation of the outstanding form she has displayed since rejoining the WPGA Tour this year.

Third behind Ashley Lau and Jiyai Shin at the Vic Open, Cho won last week’s two-day pro-am at Wagga Wagga Country Club by six strokes but admitted that nerves got the better of her on day two at Duntryleague.

“Playing today, I thought I would have a solid game, but the nerves got me,” said Cho, a five-time winner on the Korean LPGA Tour.

“The game was quite hard today but the good thing was that I played the last two playoff holes really good and it’s good to finish off like this.”

Winner of the amended Melbourne International at Latrobe Golf Club in January, Ash sought the counsel of fellow PGA Professional Ian Goddleman at Twin Creeks Golf and Country Club.

With his reassurance, she now has her sights set on a strong showing at Magenta, a course she has already spent time scouting in preparation.

“I went for a cheeky practice round at Magenta two weeks ago just because I felt really confident going into the qualifiers,” said Ash.

“It suits my game. For me, I’m hear to dominate in Australian golf and that’s the start.”

As a PGA Professional who coaches numerous players, Ash said that handing the reins over to Goddleman has been crucial in establishing herself back on the WPGA Tour.

“When I said I was coming back on tour I decided that I needed a team and Ian Goddleman has completed that team and taken more control and eased the pressure off me,” she added.

“It seems to be working and I just have to trust what he says. Take the control out of my own hands and put it in his and see what happens.”

The next leg of the Women’s NSW Open Regional Qualifiers is at Bathurst Golf Club starting Thursday.


Final scores

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