The LETAS Ladies Open is shaping up to be one of the major events of the English golfing season with the news that South African Ashleigh Simon and Australian Karen Lunn have confirmed their participation in the field.
Simon, the 22-year-old Portugal Ladies Open champion from Johannesburg who finished in joint fifth position at the weekend’s Ladies Scottish Open, will be one of the favourites at the inaugural British tournament on the LET Access Series, to be played at Hazlemere Golf Club in south Buckinghamshire from Wednesday 24th to Friday 26th August.
Simon, who won the 2007 Catalonia Ladies Masters in Spain aged 18, is currently ranked 20th on the Ladies European Tour’s 2011 official Henderson Money List following four further top-20 finishes on the LET this season.
Lunn, winner of the 1993 Women’s British Open at Woburn and with nine official tournament wins on the Ladies European Tour will be another key player to watch, as she is currently ranked 31st on the LET after three top-15 finishes this year.
The pair will be joined by Italian Sophie Sandolo, winner of the 2006 Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco, as well as England’s own Henrietta Zuel, who lives in London and won the Terre Blanche Ladies Open on the LET Access Series in France in March.
There are 39 British players competing, with 28 from England, five from Scotland and six from Wales.
Rugby’s Lauren Taylor, who is a member at nearby Woburn Golf Club, is likely to feature. In June, the talented 16-year-old became the youngest ever winner of the Ladies’ British Open Amateur championship at Royal Portrush links in Northern Ireland.
Local professional Victoria Harris, from nearby Maidenhead Golf Club and amateur Lucy Williams from Hertfordshire are also part of the 85-player field. Golf has always been part of the Williams household as Lucy’s father, David, was a Tour player for 17 years and is now a tournament director and referee on the European Tour.
Meanwhile Hertfordshire’s Charlie Douglass is a full-time Ladies European Tour member along with Hampshire’s Elizabeth Bennett from the New Forest, Hampshire-born Danielle Montgomery and Glaswegian Clare Queen.
As well as the best of British talent, the event will attract some of the brightest burgeoning international stars who will travel from all around the globe to participate. There are representatives from 21 different nations including those as far afield as Australia, South Africa and the United States as well as Europe.
The LETAS Ladies Open is the first and only event in the UK this year and a significant milestone for the tour which was launched in 2010 to help elite golfers develop their games in a professional environment. It will give British golf fans the unique opportunity to watch some of the world’s leading elite female golfers with the support of The R&A.
Diane Barnard, Director of the LETAS, said: “It is a great boost for British golf and fantastic for the event to have such a mix of new and established players in the field for the inaugural tournament. With the field having now taken shape, there will be a number of exciting players to watch and I urge all the local fans to come out to support the future stars of the Ladies European Tour.”