Alyaa eyes another shot at qualifying for US Open

PETALING JAYA: Malaysian top amateur golfer Alyaa Abdulghany will get another shot at securing a US Women’s Open ticket following a narrow miss last year.

The 21-year-old will seek to make the most of her second appearance at the prestigious Augusta National Women’s Amateur (ANWA), which will be held at Augusta National Golf Club and Champions Retreat Golf Club in Georgia from March 31-April 3.

A proud Alyaa Abdulghany posed with the invitation letter from Augusta National Golf ClubA proud Alyaa Abdulghany posed with the invitation letter from Augusta National Golf Club

Alyaa has made the exclusive 72-woman field by virtue of being the top 30 ranked golfers in the World Amateur Golf Ranking at the end of 2020.

Alya, who’s now ranked No. 31, was No. 29 in the final week of last year.

“I am extremely blessed and honoured to come back and play the ANWA, ” said Alyaa.

“Playing at this prestigious course with some of the best amateurs in the world is indeed exciting.”

The ANWA, which was inaugurated in 2019 as part of the side event leading to the US Masters but did not take place last year to Covid-19 pandemic, offers plenty of perks for the champion.

The winner earns not only a coveted ticket to compete to this year’s US Women’s Open (June 3-6), but also to the Women’s British Open (Aug 19-22).

Alyaa had missed out on one of the two early berths at stake by a whisker through the US Women’s Amateur last year.

Alyaa’s creditable joint-third finish was not enough to win her a place for the 2021 US Women’s Open as only the two finalists – American Rose Zhang and Australian Gabrella Ruffels – were invited.

In her debut in 2019, Alyaa failed to make cut after she mustered only a pair of 75s at the Champions Retreat Golf Club, which hosted the opening 36 holes.

Loy Hee Ying was the other Malaysian who played in the ANWA.

She also failed to make the top-30 cut for the final round, which was played at the Augusta National, the course that saw the likes of American golf legends Tiger Woods, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus being crowned the US Masters champions.

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