Golf: Dorset star Georgia Hall was convinced to turn pro by performances against world's best

Bournemouth Echo: FUTURE PLANS: Georgia Hall FUTURE PLANS: Georgia Hall

PARKSTONE golfer Georgia Hall admitted her decision to join the professional ranks was hastened by her recent performances against the world’s best.

The 18-year-old from Wallisdown announced she was to turn pro after finishing tied-29th at the Women’s British Open at Royal Birkdale on Sunday, that effort coming a week after the Dorset star ended tied-33rd in the European Masters.

Hall competed alongside established world stars such as Stacy Lewis, Inbee Park and Karrie Webb across the two events and would have earned around 18,000 Euro had she been a professional competitor – and therefore eligible for prizemoney.

However, while those tournaments did not allow her financial gain, they did clarify to the teenager that she was ready to leave the amateur game behind.

Hall told the Daily Echo: “Playing in those competitions definitely helped me make up my mind that I was ready to go pro.

“I got myself in a decent position in those events so I know I can compete with the best players in the world.

“I really loved playing in those competitions and it was a lot more professional than I am used to. It felt normal to be out there and I was much more comfortable.

“I’ve won a few amateur competitions and I don’t think there is a lot of point in playing those again, but it has been an amazing experience and I will never forget it.

“I’ve wanted to do this for ages and now I just can’t wait. There are things I want to achieve in the long-term, but for the moment I will take one tournament at a time.”

The winner of the Ladies’ British Amateur Championship in 2013, Hall had originally planned to turn pro on her 18th birthday in April before shelving those plans over funding concerns and the Curtis Cup.

She then settled on relinquishing her amateur status towards the end of the year, before making a final decision that she would switch inside the next fortnight.

Hall added: “I’m speaking to some people about funding and the situation is looking better than it was.

“For me to get some TV coverage last week helped and I’ve had a lot of support and tweets.

“I think things are going to be fine and we’ll just have to see how it all goes.”

Hall will rely on invitations to professional tournaments before attending qualifying school for the Ladies’ European Tour at the back end of this year.

Meanwhile, Ferndown’s Hayley Davis was part of the England team that finished fourth at the European Ladies’ Team Championship in Slovenia.

Parkstone’s Sophie Keech helped England girls finish sixth in the equivalent competition in Slovakia.

Keech and Davis are due to open their respective English Women’s Amateur Championship campaigns tomorrow.

The tournament, which takes place at St Enodoc in Cornwall, was won by Davis in 2010, when she was 17.

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