DAYTONA BEACH (Florida): Malaysia’s Natasha Andrea Oon has clinched her 2024 LPGA Tour card through the Epson Tour’s Race for the Card rankings.
Oon and South Korea’s Jiwon Jeon have secured their spots on the biggest stage in women’s golf with two tournaments still to play on the 2023 Epson Tour season.
They join Race for the Card leader Gabriela Ruffels of Australia, who secured her spot in August following her third Epson Tour victory of the season at the Four Winds Invitational.
“Securing a spot in the top 10 before the season ends is an incredible feat, and we are very proud of Natasha and Jiwon for being two of three to accomplish that this season,” said Jody Brothers, the Epson Tour’s Chief Business and Operation Officer.
“They are both extraordinary golfers who are ready to take on the LPGA Tour next season. We wish them all the best as they pursue their dreams of competing at the highest level.”
The Epson Tour is the official qualifying circuit for the LPGA Tour, where the top 10 players in the Race for the Card at the end of the season will receive LPGA Tour cards for 2024.
Currently No. 2 on the Epson Tour’s Race for the Card, Oon can officially call herself an LPGA Tour member for the 2024 season. The news broke after her maiden Epson Tour victory at last week’s Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout at Mystic Creek Golf Club in El Dorado, Arkansas.
In her rookie season on the Epson Tour in 2023, the 22-year-old recorded seven top-10 finishes to accompany her win, four of which were a share of second or better.
“It’s so surreal, but it’s sunken in for sure,” said Oon. “I’m excited for next year, mostly looking at the players I grew up watching, seeing them in front of you on the driving range on a daily basis, learning through them and how they walk, talk and handle themselves. I am in awe of them for sure, so I’m looking forward to learning from them and looking forward to competing with them.”
Before turning professional in June last year, Oon had a decorated amateur career highlighted by a successful four years at San Jose State University. During her senior season, she was honoured as the 2021-2022 Mountain West Player of the Year and Inkster Award recipient. She was also named to the 2021-2022 Women’s Golf Coaches Association First-Team All-America and was the 2022 NCAA Championships individual stroke play runner-up.
Although Oon knows her dreams will shortly become a reality, the Epson Tour rookie is determined to end her season on a strong note. With two starts left on the schedule, the Malaysian is vying to become a two-time Epson Tour champion and secure both Rookie and Player of the Year honours. She will also be teeing up on home soil at the LPGA Tour’s Maybank Championship this Oct 26-29 at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club.
“It gives me good momentum for sure. What you can get from a win is just feeling good about yourself, knowing that your game is there and knowing that you can do this,” said Oon.
“Gabi (Ruffels) is such a strong player, so just to be in contention with her is crazy. I look up to her, what she’s done for the tour and what she’s done this year. Going into these last two events, I want to really enjoy my time on the Epson Tour because I love the people that work here and play, so I’m going to enjoy it, do my best, and finish out strong.”
Jeon, currently No. 3 on the Race for the Card, will return to the LPGA Tour for the first time since early 2022. She made her LPGA Tour debut in 2020, playing 22 events and making seven cuts before competing on the Epson Tour. The 26-year-old proved she’s ready to head back to the LPGA Tour in 2024, securing two victories (the Inova Mission Inn Resort and Club Championship and the French Lick Resort Charity Classic) on this year’s Epson Tour.
2023 Epson Tour Race for the Card (Top 10 as of Sept 27)
Position Player Earnings (US$)
1 Gabriela Ruffels (AUS) 156,283
2 Natasha Andrea Oon (MAS) 147,780
3 Jiwon Jeon (KOR) 114,219
4 Agathe Laisne (FRA) 109,060
5 Jenny Coleman (USA) 103,833
6 Roberta Liti (ITA) 102,734
7 Minji Kang (KOR) 98,304
8 Jenny Bae (USA) 87,764
9 Robyn Choi (AUS) 86,358
10 Nataliya Guseva 82,984