BELLEAIR, FLA | Morgane Metraux finished her rookie season on the LPGA Tour exactly the way she finished her final season on the Epson Tour: with high stakes and great pressure until her last throw.
Last year, Metraux entered the Epson Tour 10th in the Ascensus for the Card race. She finished the championship at T17, crashing it to ninth and earning her LPGA Tour membership for 2022.
Entering the Pelican Women’s Championship, Metraux ranked No. 101 in the race to the CME Globe. In order to retain her LPGA Tour ticket for the 2023 season, Metraux will need to put in a solid performance and break into the top 100.
On Sunday, Metraux scored 6-under 64 in the final round of the season – her best since second round 62 at the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational – to finish off T4 and jump to 85th in the race to the CME Globe, successfully protecting her Tour status. It’s safe to say that Metraux thrives under pressure.
“Obviously this week has been more than just a championship for me, there was a lot at stake,” said Metraux, who came off 18th. “I think yesterday I suffered a little more than that. Today it was like doing it.
“Super, very happy. I didn’t want to go to Q-Series, so I’m glad I can get back to playing the final in Europe now. I really have no words, to be honest. Everything is a little confusing.”
As she said, the request to play to keep her job definitely surfaced in the second round of the tournament. After opening the weekend with a respectable first round 66, Metraux chipped in four bogeys en route to 71 on Saturday.
“When you play to win, you really feel like you’re playing really well if you’re in a position to win the tournament, so you can build confidence in that,” Metraux said. “If you’re playing to keep your job, it means you haven’t done a good job, so I think that’s more pressure. It’s like playing to cut the last hole versus playing to win the championship. Both are pressure, but I think the pressure of making the cut is harder.”
Fortunately, Metraux found a way to live with this strain on Sunday. She ran a clean card, starting with four birds in the top nine to go all the way down to the 7 below. The 25-year-old hit 15 of the 18 greens on the slate and only needed 27 hits to pass the course. Even though she was already in great shape after her turn, she told the pack she needed a few more sparrows before she put her sticks away.
“Instead of thinking ‘I’m in a good place, just make pars and you’ll be fine,'” Metraux explained, “I wanted to keep pushing and tell myself I need more sparrows to get close to the lead.” That was the mentality I had. At one point, I made a few pieces in a row, and thought, “Okay, now it’s time to make birds again.”
Her T4 finish in the Pelican Women’s Championship is Metraux’s career best result. The top ten came in September at the Kroger Queen City presented by Procter & Gamble, where she went to 10 under a tie to finish 10th.
Metraux’s junior season has been turbulent. After four missed straight cuts in the spring, Metraux finished 12th in the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer and managed to bring some confidence into the latter half of the season.
“I had a good first event because I had no expectations,” Metraux said. “Then I was just thinking, ‘Oh my God, this is the best tour in the world; Do I really belong here? Then after that, I started to struggle a bit too, so that played a part in my game. I was able to come home and discover some things and come back. I ranked 12 on ShopRite and that was a turning point for me as I realized that I could do it, I belong here. It really gave me some momentum and confidence for the rest of the season.”
But after a series of three missed cuts in the fall, Metraux took a four-week sabbatical to the Pelican Women’s Championship to work on her game and spend time at home.
“After my last California event, I was so upset with myself and disappointed that I missed a few straight cuts, and wanted to have that break knowing I’d be fine next year,” Metraux said. “I wasn’t able to do that, so it took those four weeks to reset, work on my game, and feel like I was in a good place to come here.”
Something else about the Pelican Women’s Championship was similar to Metraux’s Epson Tour: her father, Oliver. On Saturday, Oliver was in Saudi Arabia, carrying Morgan’s sister’s briefcase, Kim, in the Aramco Team Series. Sunday morning, Oliver was driving to the Pelican Golf Club from Orlando International Airport to see his daughter play her last turn.
Last year, Oliver carried the cans for her during those four stressful rounds of the season-end event. This year, even though he wasn’t a Metraux chariot, he made sure to be by his daughter’s side again when the stakes were high.
Hopefully next year Oliver will be able to witness a stress-free final event. But even if the pressure continues, there is no doubt that Metraux is up to the challenge.