LET rookie Hillier qualifies for Open

Western Australia’s Whitney Hillier is set to fulfil a life-long dream after qualifying to play this year’s Women’s British Open at St Andrews.

Hillier gained exemption to the Open through third place finish at the Allianz Ladies Slovak Open in June.

Whitney Hiller Whitney Hillier (Credit: Anthony Powter)

The result lifted Hillier, in her rookie year on the LET Tour, to 15th on the Ladies European Tour Money List and earned her a place at the home of golf.

“It’s been a massive goal since I carried Lorena Ochoa’s leaderboard on the last day when she won there in 2008,” said Hillier.

“Now I’m in the field amongst it all – it’s major time! Dreams really do come true!”

After finishing in the top-30 at LET Qualifying School, Hillier was able to secure a main tour to ply her trade and in her rookie season in Europe has secured four top-30 results after making the cut five times from eight starts.

Hillier announced her decision to turn pro back in November 2012 and made her professional debut at the Korean LPGA Tour.

It capped off a stellar amateur career that dates back to 2007 when she won the Australian Junior Amateur Championship and announced herself on the Australian amateur scene after her victory the year earlier at the St Andrews Junior Ladies Open in 2006.

Hillier’s last major amateur title was the Malaysian Ladies Amateur Open which she won in dramatic fashion in June last year after tearing up the East Course at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club with a sizzling six-under-par 65 to beat local challenger Kelly by one stroke.

Add to that the 2012 Lake Macquarie Amateur and the Riversdale Cup and progression to the paid ranks seemed only natural for this talented 22-year-old.

Like most of Australia’s emerging players Hillier and her parents have predominantly done the hard yards themselves with the planning, paying for and getting to overseas events.

In Australia, Hillier has used Joondalup Country Club in Perth’s northern suburbs as her local base whilst splitting her time abroad.

“It is just amazing to think that I be there playing St Andrews,” says Hillier.

“It was my incentive to play well and now I will have to bring my parents over. I was really keen to play the British Open and it will not happen. It’s pretty amazing and I cannot wait.”

The Women’s British Open will take place at The Old Course, St Andrews from 1 – 4 August and is the most international of the majors with last year’s field including 27 nationalities and 20 Major Champions.