After an injury ravaged 2014 Eastbourne Downs player Maria Tulley was close to giving up on pro golf- but last week the 28-year-old shocked everyone at the Ladies Tartan Tour in Montrose by winning her first pro title.
Tulley was crowned winner of the PGA in Scotland on Tuesday, April 7, capping off a remarkable performance which saw her beat a highly talented field to claim the prize money.
Round one was cancelled on the Monday due to foggy weather but when second round action begun on the Tuesday Tulley hit the ground running scoring a final round par-matching 71.
The field included European Tour players Beth Allen, Becky Brewerton and Annabel Dimmock.
What makes Tulley’s remarkable underdog performance even more incredible was the turbulent 2014 she had suffered heading into the tournament. A year marred by injuries and illness which almost forced her to give up on her dream of becoming a professional golfer.
Making her debut in the Let Access Series, 2014 had the potential to be a game changer for Tulley but what followed couldn’t have been more contrasting.
Food poisoning in Turkey, a back injury during a LETAS tournament and a cricked neck that she suffered at the back end of the year in Morocco, all threatened to kill off her aspirations to become a pro golfer with financial concerns coming to the fore.
After the tournament Tulley said, “I have been struggling with sponsorship. I was even considering picking daffodils, down in Cornwall, to help pay rent.
“After the luck I had last year with injuries, it was getting to the stage where I couldn’t afford to do it any more. I don’t want to go back into full time work in a shop. I want to be playing in tournaments.
“My luck is changing at last. I have worked really hard with my coach. After last year my confidence was really low. After winning the competition it reinforces the believe that I can compete at this level.”
Tulley won the PGA in Scotland women’s pro event top prize of £1,575 with birdies at the fourth and sixth, limiting her number of bogeys to two - at the first and the 15th in halves of 35-36.
“I have changed my swing. I went into the tournament just to play and not even think about my score. Just play each hole at a time,” Tulley added.
“I will go into the up coming tournaments with the same mindset. My swing feels great, the best it has ever felt.
“This win has given me a lot of confidence to go on from this now.”
Par 71: 71 Maria Tulley (Eastbourne Downs) 35-36 (£1,575)72 Jane Turner (West Linton) 38-34, Lucy Goddard (Hanbury Manor) 34-38, Beth Allen (Falkirk) 36-36 (£400 each) 73 Laura Murray