From left: Stacey Keating, Amolkan Phalajivin, Minea Blomqvist, Lin Xiyu, Yang Hong Mei and Yang Tao Li enjoying the tropical climate in Sanya.

The Ladies European Tour stays in China this week as the third edition of the Sanya Ladies Open is contested over Yalong Bay Golf Course in Sanya, Hainan.

With 114 players from 23 different countries in action it is all set to be another exciting contest and the order of merit titles are at stake on all three of the sanctioning Ladies European, China LPGA and Ladies Asian Golf Tours.

LET rookie Carlota Ciganda, 22, will be trying to keep the gap at the top of the ISPS Handa Order of Merit wide open after her win at last week’s Suzhou Taihu Ladies Open. She is making her tournament debut and her challengers include Caroline Masson, Lee-Anne Pace, Carly Booth, Stacey Keating, Anne-Lise Caudal, Laura Davies, Ashleigh Simon, Minea Blomqvist, Belen Mozo and the 2011 champion Frances Bondad.

Meanwhile, 16-year-old Chinese professional Lin Xiyu, who tied for ninth as a 14-year-old amateur in 2010 and then tied for fifth on her pro debut in 2011, needs a top three finish to overtake major champion Feng Shanshan at the top of the China LPGA Money List.

Thailand’s Kongkraphan Patcharajutar, who tied for fifth place in 2011, leads the LAGT Money List followed by Chinese Taipei’s Yu Pei Lin. Ciganda appears as the LAGT’s leading money earner on the list although her name will eventually be removed as she is not a tour member.

The players are looking forward to tackling the par-72 (36-36) Robert Trent Jones-designed course, set at 6433 yards for the tournament, which features 98 bunkers and a winding river that awaits wayward shots.

Since its inception in 2000, Yalong Bay has successfully staged ten professional tournaments such as the Sanya Open in 2003, 2004 and 2006, the Volkswagen Masters in 2006, Crowne Plaza Open in 2006; the TCL Classic on the PGA European Tour in 2005, 2006 and 2007 as well as the Sanya Ladies Open in 2010 and 2011.

Owned by China Everbright Group, the course was named as one of the ‘World 100 Best Courses Outside the US’ and in ‘China’s Top 10 Golf Clubs’ by American Golf Digest.

Sitting on the same latitude as the Hawaiian Islands on the southern tip of Hainan, its pristine natural setting is forever bathed in sunshine and it’s perfect for golf, just a stone’s throw away from Yalong Bay with its rolling waves and pristine golden sands.

On the doorstep of the world’s most dynamic economy, Hainan has preserved an idyllic environment in the face of massive change and is China’s tourism gem, with millions of international holiday makers flocking to the island every year.

Authorised by the General Administration of Sport of China, the official organiser is the Multi-ball Games Administrative Center of General Administration of Sport, Sanya Municipal Governmental and China Golf Association. The title Sponsor is Sanya Municipal Government with co-sponsor New China Trust.