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Hannah McCook says Ladies European Tour card would be added bonus following return from hip surgery

Hannah McCook.
Hannah McCook.

Nethy Bridge golfer Hannah McCook is treating the prospect of a Ladies European Tour card as a bonus after advancing to the final qualifying stage.

McCook comfortably secured her passage to the five-round final stage, which starts on Thursday at La Manga in Spain.

The 28-year-old finished tied 21st out of 150 who competed in the pre-qualifier, making her the second highest-placed Scot behind Jane Turner.

McCook underwent hip surgery earlier this year, which forced her to defer her place at the women’s Scottish Open until 2022.

Hannah McCook celebrates winning the ladies order of merit on the Tartan Pro Tour in 2020.

Prior to the pandemic McCook played on the LET Access Series, for which she has been given medical exemption as a result of her injury.

With plenty already to look forward to in the new year, McCook is relaxed about what is at stake for her this weekend.

McCook said: “It’s not a golf tournament than anyone really wants to be at. But because I had been out, I was quite excited to be here.

“I do put quite a bit of pressure on myself, but when I came here last week I tried not to worry about what happened.

“That’s easier said than done, but as I got through the week I felt more comfortable playing.

“I am happy to be through to this week, but I was happy in the first place to be here.

“Being able to play this amount of golf again back-to-back from last week would feel like a big enough achievement as it is.

“I am fortunate that I have been given medical exemption. No matter what happens this week I’ve got some form of golf next year.

“I have the women’s Scottish Open to look forward to as well.

“With all these little things, this week is a bit of a bonus. I’m trying to think of it like that and relax.”

No step into unknown territory

McCook is taking part in the LET Q-School for the third time, having previously competed in December 2018 and January 2020.

The event concludes on Monday, with a cut to 65 players and ties after 72 holes.

Fresh from last week’s success, McCook feels the familiarity with the La Manga Club can work in her favour.

She added: “A lot of us who have played in the pre-qualifier have a bit of an advantage in a way.

“There are a lot of girls who have come out for the final but weren’t here last week. Some weren’t at Q School last time, so they hadn’t even seen the place before.

“Some of us played it for two weeks the last time, and all of last week. We have been able to have a couple of days off being able to trudge around the putting green, not worrying about having to get to know the place.

“It’s always quite nice to come back to somewhere you remember well rather than going somewhere completely new.”

McCook has relished the chance to return to LET surroundings, following an absence of nearly two years.

Hannah McCook (right) was sidelined for several months due to a hip injury.

McCook, who is managed by Paul Lawrie, added: “I played five Tartan Pro Tour events since my first one back in September. There were a few one-day events after that.

“Last time I was on Tour was March 2020. Playing on the Tartan Pro Tour has been good to get back to competitive action.

“It has been good to be back playing in tournament mode though. There are a lot of faces I don’t recognise and probably a lot who don’t recognise me.

“It has been nice to see a lot of people I haven’t seen since pre-Covid.”

McCook is among eight Scots taking part in the finals, with Alford’s Laura Murray also involved.

Turner, Heather MacRae, Clara Young, Tara Mactaggart, Rachael Taylor and Hazel MacGarvie are also competing.

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