Belgian rookie makes first LPGA paycheck

February 3, 2024

Manon De Roey of Belgium was among more than two dozen rookies making up about up 20% of the field at the 2023 ShopRite LPGA Classic.

The 31-year-old played for the University of New Mexico golf team and represented her country in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Before earning her LPGA card at the 2022 Q-School, she won tournaments on the Ladies European Tour and elsewhere.

I joined her threesome as they began their 7:30 a.m. first tee shift in the first round June 9. She played alongside fellow rookies Bailey Tardy of Georgia and Isi Gabsa of Germany. 

De Roey pulled her first tee shot into the fescue left of the fairway about 100 yards out, and advanced her next shot into the left rough about 50 yards. Her approach to the green finished 40 feet short of the hole, and she made bogey. 

Her second hole was far more routine, making a two-putt par from about 30 feet. However, De Roey struggled on the normally easy par 5 third hole. Her second shot created a nasty fried egg lie on the front face of the right greenside bunker. De Roey’s third shot landed in light rough short of the green. She did well to make bogey from there.

De Roey’s game slowly began to smooth out. She parred the fourth, birdied the fifth with a great approach shot, and parred the sixth through the 14th. Her par putts during that segment were between 1 and 2 feet from the hole. 

A lip-out on the par 3 15th hole led to her only additional bogey. De Roey also scrambled a bit toward the end. She made a sand save from the center front greenside bunker on the short par 3 17th hole and another sandy par on the 18th. Her two-over par total kept her in the mix to make the cut the next day.

We chatted a bit afterward, accompanied by De Roey’s English caddie, Paul Heselden and his wife Jo, the only other spectator to walk the entire round with these rookies.

This was De Roey’s first experience playing the Bay Course at Seaview. “It’s a nice course. I think it suits my game. I’m happy to be here. It was a bit shaky in the start, but I got it back. I’m still in there, and there’s still tomorrow.”

This was only her second LPGA tournament. “It’s my first year. It’s been a bit up and down. It’s a new environment so I just have to get used to it,” she said.

We discussed the eight lip-out putts her threesome experienced on the back nine. De Roey had one of them, and said, “We had a lot of lip-outs in our group, it’s true. The greens get a bit faster throughout the week. If you hit just a little bit too hard, well ...” 

I met De Roey and her caddie later that afternoon at the practice range and observed their relaxed interaction. As she worked her way through the bag, Heselden kept up a steady patter of encouragement and commentary, while also giving De Roey an ever-tightening “fairway target” for her to make, using trees and/or range posts as the edges. 

She was usually up to the challenge, making some frankly beautiful high-flying shots.

She can also go low, however, and made a couple to prove it. “I hit high normally but I have a way to hit lower when I need to. I grip a little bit lower and stand a little bit closer to the ball,” she said.

Heselden has caddied on the LPGA Tour for seven years, with prior experience on the LET and the European Champions Tour. He previously worked for an IT company in England for many years. “I decided to give caddying a try for a year, and it’s turned into ten. I love it,” he said. 

His wife also caddies occasionally. She picked up a job at the ShopRite doing yardage painting on the fairway edges. 

De Roey recently bought a Foresight launch monitor for what she called her “100 yard-and-in work.” She said that part of her game needed the most improvement.

She played better in the second round with a one-under par 70, making the cut with a tie for 61st with twelve other golfers. However, in the final round she faltered with a 77, finishing in last place among those who made money for the week.

That $3,406 check was De Roey’s first payday on the LPGA Tour.

It was also roughly 10% of all the money she made there in 2023. The rest came from the next event after ShopRite, the Meijer LPGA Classic in Belmont, MI. She missed every cut thereafter and failed to keep her LPGA card.

De Roey returned to the Ladies’ European Tour. She did well last fall, including a T6 finish at the Andalucia Open de Espana. Between those results and her prior LET tournament finishes earlier in 2023, De Roey easily maintained her status there for the new season.


  • Fritz Schranck has been writing about the Cape Region's golf community since 1999. Snippets, stories and anecdotes from his columns are included in his new book, "Hole By Hole: Golf Stories from Delaware's Cape Region and Beyond," which is available at the Cape Gazette offices, Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach, Biblion Books in Lewes, and local golf courses. His columns and book reviews are available at

    Contact Fritz by emailing

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