Early 2016 Order of Merit leader Beth Allen of the United States will be looking for more success down under when she tees up in the RACV Ladies Masters at Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast in Queensland this week.
The 2015 ISPS HANDA Ladies European Masters winner made a sensational start to the Ladies European Tour season with a tie for 24th in the ISPS HANDA New Zealand Women’s Open at Clearwater in Christchurch followed by a tie for fourth place in the ISPS HANDA Australian Women’s Open at The Grange in Adelaide.
The RACV Ladies Masters first began in 1990 and this week marks a return to familiar territory for many of the players, as Royal Pines has hosted the tournament since 1992. However this year they will compete over the redeveloped 18-hole course and it’s significantly more undulated greens, which presents an exciting new challenge.
There are 147 players from 28 countries ready for the test, including young English player Georgia Hall, who is lying third on the LET Order of Merit after a superb ninth place finish in the ISPS HANDA Australian Women’s Open.
Denmark’s Nanna Koerstz Madsen, currently fifth on the Order of Merit, is another player looking to capitalise on a strong start to the season along with England’s Felicity Johnson, with whom she tied for second place in New Zealand. They will be joined by 2015 LET tournament winners Melissa Reid, Gwladys Nocera, Emily Kristine Pedersen, Celine Herbin, Nicole Broch Larsen and Hannah Burke, along with former winners Cheyenne Woods (2014), Katherine Kirk, née Hull (2009) and Dame Laura Davies (1993, 1994 and 2003).
Last year, Australian teenager Su-Hyun Oh captured her maiden title at the RACV Ladies Masters in only her second start as a professional, with a total of seven-under-par and a three stroke margin of victory over former winner Katherine Kirk of Australia and English pair Charley Hull and Florentyna Parker.
Still only 19, Oh will be back to defend her title on home turf and Justine Dreher of France will be another young player to watch. Dreher finished 10th at Lalla Aicha Tour School and heads the early rankings for the LET’s Rookie of the Year award, after opening her LET career with a fifth place finish in New Zealand.