A hugely relieved Rebecca Artis is eyeing golf's big time in 2018 after a career gamble that helped her join Australia's select group of stars on the LPGA Tour.
The 29-year-old from Coonabarabran in central west New South Wales earned full playing rights on the world's most lucrative women's tour by finishing fourth at the qualifying school in Florida. It was Artis' fifth straight year at Q-school, one of the most stressful weeks a golfer can endure.
"It's five rounds and if you don't play well, that's your year gone," Artis told AAP. "It's a long, hard grind so it's always a tough week but, I tell you what, when I walked off the 18th green on the last day it was just pure relief."
With her husband Geoff on the bag, it was extra special after the pair sacrificed a comfortable living on the Ladies' European Tour (LET) to pursue their dream. In 2015, her best year to date when she ran down superstars Suzann Pettersen and Lydia Ko to win the Scottish Open, Artis earned more than $150,000 and climbed into the world's top 100.
This year, Artis and her caddie-husband opted to give up Europe to try their luck on the Symetra Tour, the secondary tour in the US in the hope of cracking an LPGA Tour card. Artis tumbled outside the world's top 500 and earned just $US20,463 in prize money.
"It was a big commitment to go from making money like that on the LET to take a chance to play on the Symetra Tour," she said. "But, like Geoff said to me, it's just like an investment. Sometimes you have to take two steps backwards to go three steps forward. You just have to make sacrifices like that."
Artis will be among eight Australians on the LPGA Tour in 2018.
She joins Minjee Lee, Su Oh, Karrie Webb, Sarah Jane Smith, Katherine Kirk, Sarah Kemp - who has conditional status - and rising star Hannah Green, who secured her card by finishing second on the Symetra Tour money list with a three-win rookie season.
Artis has the chance each week to earn five times as much as she did in Europe.
"Next year the average purse out there is about $US1.5 or $US1.7 million," she said. "The biggest purse on the LET is 500,000 euros.
"And not only that, there's about 15 events on the LET schedule at the moment. I think you've got 35 on the LPGA schedule."
But it's starts at the five majors that Artis covets above all.
"It's like any pro, you're wanting to play the majors because they're the best fields in the world," she said.
Artis has never played any of the three US-based major championships but now controls her destiny for those. With strong showings at the Australian Open in February and in Phoenix and San Diego, she can force her way into the first major of the year, the ANA Inspiration in March.
"I can play my way into that. That goes off the money list," she said. "So the LPGA Tour definitely creates opportunities like that. Me playing on the LET, I could never get in to that major.
"I want to play my way into all the majors and I want to play my way into the limited-field Asian events at the end of the year. No cuts, so guaranteed money."