Blomqvist LET Rookie of the Year
The 19-year-old Finn achieved the award in record breaking fashion and with bags of style at the end of season Catalonia Ladies Masters.
Despite bold efforts from her nearest challengers Linda Wessberg from Sweden and Becky Brewerton from Wales, Blomqvist retained her lead after the final event and added her name to a veritable whos who in womens golf of previous recipients of this coveted title, which includes world No. 1 Annika Srenstam, Laura Davies and Helen Alfredsson.
It has been a lot of fun this year and much more than I expected and it means a lot to me to win this award as there were some very good players as rookies this year, said Blomqvist, who finished in seventh place on the order of merit.
In an incredible maiden season, Blomqvist became the third youngest player in the history of the LET to win an event at just 19-years and 128 days old when she cruised to victory at the OTP Bank Central European Open in Hungary, an event in which she equalled the LET record of the lowest ever score of 62 in her first round.
Two weeks later, Blomqvist announced herself on the world stage with an incredible performance in front of millions of viewers around the globe when she carded her second 62 of her fledgling career in the third round at Sunningdale.
In doing so, Blomqvist became the first player, male or female, to shoot ten under par in a major championship and went on to finish in a tie for eighth in her first major.
There were lots of good memories this year such as playing with Annika in Finland at my home course and especially winning in Hungary. But at the British Open, that is my favourite day, for sure. The previous day I shot 78 and I went from being in contention for the title on the first day, to nearly missing the cut.
I was on the range trying to figure out what went wrong and I began crying and my coach was telling me to calm down and when I started to speak again I began to cry again.
But when I found out I had made the cut I actually said to one of the Finnish newspapers that I dont see any reasons why I cant go out and make nine or ten birdies the following day because I had such a good feeling with my game.
It was really exciting and even going into the press centre and being on TV, it was really a lot of fun.
What makes Blomqvists achievements more incredible was that just over 12 months ago, the platinum blonde was playing amateur junior golf, the highlight of which was when she helped steer the European Junior Solheim Cup team to their first victory over the USA when the teams met at Bogskogens GC in Sweden.
One of my team mates at the Junior Solheim Cup was Louise Stahle who played really well in the British Open and in Sweden this year and we laughed about maybe becoming the first junior players to play in the Big girls Solheim Cup next year. I dont think she is turning professional yet, but I know that I want to be playing in Solheim Cup next year.
It is one of my goals but to play in this event, I think I will need to work very hard at my short game so I will be practising very hard during the winter with my coach Pia (Nilsson). I want to play in it, but I have to become a better player, too.
After the victory over the USA in Sweden, Blomqvist turned professional and attended LET qualifying school with great expectations to gain a card with ease. However, all did not go well and she had to settle for a conditional card to play on the LET.
But after spectacular performances with two victories on the Nedbank Womens Golf Tour in South Africa prior to the LET season starting in Europe, the Finn became an obvious choice for sponsors invitations.
I have to say, I was very lucky as I didnt have that may opportunities to play, so when I did get an invitation, I had to play well.
Every tournament I was way down the list and often the last player to get in to the event so I have been really lucky. I thought I might get five or six events and if I played well, I may get some more wild cards, which I did and then of course, the win in Hungary gave me a three year exemption.
Blomqvist, who idolises the Worlds best women golfer and who also shares the same mentor and coach in Pia Nilsson, wants to play with the best in the world and have cards on two Tours next season.
But with her family in Finland and her boyfriend Roope Kakko, a European Challenge Tour player, it will make life difficult for the teenager.
Naturally, Blomqvist will want to play with the best players in the world, but the youngster some pundits are now calling Minni Annika has admitted she loves the atmosphere on the LET and wants to stay as long as possible.
My boyfriend plays in Europe and I already miss him when I am away for one week, she laughed.
I went to LPGA qualifying school last week and I said to myself that I dont want to come here yet because the European Tour is so much fun and the people are so nice. When you go to the range in the morning everyone says hello and its much more fun and I really like that.
Maybe it will happen, but I want to play most of the season in Europe if I can and hopefully I will get two cards.
In presenting the award, Rob Holt, the managing Director for Ryder Cup Wales said of Blomqvist:
We are proud to be associated with this prestigious award and it truly is a fantastic achievement for Minea in her first year.
To go from playing Junior Solheim Cup to where she is now is really an unprecedented occasion and hopefully Minea will get into the main European Solheim Cup team.
Naturally, it would have been fitting for our own Becky Brewerton to bring the award back home to Wales, but she has been pipped by a truly outstanding performance this year by Minea.
It has also been a great rookie year for Becky and we hope her performances will inspire the growth of womens golf in Wales at a young level. But most of all, with such a disparity of nations competing for the best newcomer award, womens European golf has a lot to look forward to in the future.
Lesson with Woods fetches $210K for Harvey relief
LPGA schedule features 34 events, record purse
The LPGA played for $65 million in total prize money in 2017.
Here is the LPGA's schedule for 2018:
Jan. 25-28: Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic; Paradise Island, Bahamas; Purse: $1.4 million
Feb. 15-18: ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open; Adelaide, Australia; Purse: $1.3 million
Feb. 21-24: Honda LPGA Thailand; Chonburi, Thailand; Purse: $1.6 million
March 1-4: HSBC Women's World Championship; Singapore; Purse: $1.5 million
March 15-18: Bank of Hope Founders Cup; Phoenix, Arizona; Purse: $1.5 million
March 22-25: Kia Classic; Carlsbad, California; Purse: $1.8 million
March 29 - April 1: ANA Inspiration; Rancho Mirage, California; Purse: $2.8 million
April 11-14: LOTTE Championship; Kapolei, Oahu, Hawaii; Purse: $2 million
April 19-22: HUGEL-JTBC Championship; Greater Los Angeles, California; Purse: $1.5 million
April 26-29: Name to be Announced; San Francisco, California; Purse: $1.5 million
May 3-6: Volunteers of America LPGA Texas Classic; The Colony, Texas; Purse: $1.3 million
May 17-20: Kingsmill Championship; Williamsburg, Virginia; Purse: $1.3 million
May 24-27: LPGA Volvik Championship; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Purse: $1.3 million
May 31 - June 3: U.S. Women's Open Championship; Shoal Creek, Alabama; Purse: $5 million
June 8-10: ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer; Galloway, New Jersey; Purse: $1.75 million
June 14-17: Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Purse: $2 million
June 22-24: Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G; Rogers, Arkansas; Purse: $2 million
June 28 - July 1: KPMG Women's PGA Championship; Kildeer, Illinois; Purse: $3.65 million
July 5-8: Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic; Oneida, Wisconsin; Purse: $2 million
July 12-15: Marathon Classic presented by Owens-Corning and O-I; Sylvania, Ohio; Purse: $1.6 million
Aug. 2-5: Ricoh Women's British Open; Lancashire, England; Purse: $3.25 million
Aug. 23-26: CP Women's Open; Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada; Purse: $2.25 million
Aug. 30 - Sept. 2: Cambia Portland Classic; Portland, Oregon; Purse: $1.3 million
Sept. 13-16: The Evian Championship; Evian-les-Bains, France; Purse: $3.85 million
Sept. 27-30: Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Purse: $1.8 million
Oct. 4-7: UL International Crown; Incheon, Korea; Purse: $1.6 million
Oct. 11-14: LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship; Incheon, Korea; Purse: $2 million
Oct. 18-21: Name to be Announced; Shanghai, China; Purse: $2.1 million
Nov. 2-4: TOTO Japan Classic; Shiga, Japan; Purse: $1.5 million
Nov. 7-10: Blue Bay LPGA; Hainan Island, China; Purse: $2.1 million
Nov. 15-18: CME Group Tour Championship; Naples, Florida; Purse: $2.5 million
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 4, Jordan Spieth
Masters Tournament: Return to the 12th; faltering on Sunday (T-11)
U.S. Open: 1 over usually good ... not at Erin Hills (T-35)
The Open: Unforgettable finish leads to major win No. 3 (1st)
PGA Championship: Career Grand Slam bid comes up well short (T-28)
TWO REGULAR TOUR WINS
AT&T Pebble Beach
FUN OUTSIDE OF TOUR LIFE
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
No. 3: Dec. 14
No. 2: Dec. 15
No. 1: Dec. 18