PETALING JAYA: Newly minted Malaysian professional golfer Alyaa Abdulghany made a debut on the LPGA tour early after she secured a start in this week’s Cambia Portland Classic for 1.4 million US dollars (5.8 million RM).
The 22-year-old did it with flying colors when he won the tournament’s Monday qualifier, which was held at the venue – the Oregon Golf Club in Orlando.
Alyaa shot one under 71 to qualify alongside Australian Gabriella Ruffels as she was the top two finishers of the 18-hole competition.
Last year’s winner of the US Women’s Amateur Open, Ruffels was also Alyaa’s teammate when the duo played college golf for the University of Southern California for four years from 2018 to 2021.
Another Malaysian Genevieve Ling also gave the qualifier a chance but only managed to muster a 75 to finish sixth.
Alyaa is thrilled to see her very first LPGA Tour event less than a month after her career as a professional.
She will join her compatriot Kelly Tan in the high-profile field of 144 stars, which includes number 2 in the world, Ko Jin-young from South Korea, number 9 Brooke Henderson and two-time major winner Ariya Jutanugarn from Thailand.
“I am very happy to have qualified for the Cambia Portland Classic for my first start on the LPGA Tour. It was also my first attempt in a Monday qualification!
“A lot of hard work and dedication has paid off and I can’t wait to do well this week.”
Alyaa added that she doesn’t feel overwhelmed by the challenge of taking on some of the biggest names in the world.
“Right now I just want to play as well as I can. I’m not focusing on who’s in the field, ”she said.
This one-off start on the LPGA Tour will certainly make Alyaa want a full ticket for the next season on the tour.
She has two levels of qualifying school left to negotiate after passing the opening hurdle at Mission Hills Country Club in California last month.
The second leg will take place from October 21st to 24th at the Plantation Golf and Country Club in Florida.
If she progresses, her final test will be the grueling 144-hole competition held at Magnolia Grove (December 2-5) and Highland Oaks Golf Club (December 9-12) in Alabama.