One month ago, Sweden’s Maja Stark ran away with the ISPS Handa World Invitational, shooting a 10-under 63 in the final round en route to a five-stroke win in Northern Ireland. The victory was the sixth professional win of the 22-year-old’s career and ticked off a huge box on her career to-do list – earning LPGA Tour Membership.
“I just always figured that I was going to have to qualify for it and stuff like that,” said Stark, who was in her second season on the LET. “I was talking to my friend Linn Grant and we said, we have four LPGAs in Europe. You win one, I win one. It was obviously, yeah, as if we're going to really win it. But, yeah, no, it was way quicker journey than I expected for sure.”
Stark played in her home country’s Skaftö Open the next week and only then did her new reality truly set in. “It took a while to really settle,” she said. “I didn't even think about it, like get the nice emotions until like one and a half weeks after the win.”
Now Stark has finally joined the LPGA Tour as a full-time competitor starting at this week’s AmazingCre Portland Classic. She already has her schedule planned for the rest of the season, competing in the Tour’s next four straight events in the United States before taking a break during the Fall Asian Swing and returning for the final two Florida stops in November.
Despite holding LPGA Tour rookie status, Stark isn’t focusing on any major season-ending awards. She just wants to win – again.
“I think just not going to try to stress through it and try to win the rookie award and have that as a goal. Doesn't really feel that realistic, and I think it'll just stress me out. I think just try to play well at the tournaments and not really think about the awards that can come,” said Stark, who will play the first two rounds alongside Americans Mina Harigae and Lauren Stephenson. “I could keep going on the LET and try to go for the automatic win, but I feel like I'm here to play the big tournaments and not to win the big awards. Because, yeah, that's kind of what golf is all about, winning tournaments.”