MINCHINHAMPTON golfer Charlotte Ellis enjoyed a major boost on her 'Antipodean Swing' when earning one of only four qualifying places for this week's ISPS Handa Australian Women's Open.
Ellis, from Cockleford, was one of more than 60 hopefuls looking for a late place in the line-up at the Royal Canberra Golf Club and shot an excellent two-under par round of 70 on Tuesday morning.
"For some reason, I knew I had to birdie the last to have a chance of qualifying. Thank goodness, I did," said Charlotte.
She went on play a practice round at Royal Canberra which she described as 'a beaut of a course'.
Charlotte's faces a very strong field in the event which starts on Thursday. Eleven players in the top 30 of the Rolex world rankings – Yani Tseng (1), Stacy Lewis (3), So-Yeon Ryu (7), Jiyai Shin (8), Karrie Webb (12), Catriona Matthew (14), Brittany Lincicome (18), Angela Stanford (19), Lexie Thompson (23), Anna Nordqvist (28) and Brittany Lang (29) – will tee off.
Laura Davies, Sophie Gustafson and Eun-Hee Ji are three of the nine major champions present along with Michelle Wie and Cheyenne Woods, niece of Tiger.
Bad weather at home and when she arrived in Australia a fortnight ago severely hampered Ellis's preparations at the start of her 2013 campaign and she missed the cut in both the Volvik RACV Ladies Masters in Queensland and last week's New Zealand Open.
"My first week on the Gold Coast was tough, with no practice round due to a cyclone and a flooded course," said Charlotte.
"I hit the ball alright but my game was still quite rusty and it was one of those weeks when the putts refused to drop.
"I liked the course in New Zealand much better. Unfortunately, the wind was blowing very strongly on the first day and I was still not completely happy with my swing. That's when the damage was done."
Charlotte, who has a new caddy this year in Texan Jake Cantu, hit three birdies on the back nine of her second round in Christchurch and maintained that form in qualifying for Canberra.