Nicole Gergely, who became the first Austrian to win a Ladies European Tour title at the 2009 Randstad Open de France Dames, has a new playing partner for next week’s Comunitat Valenciana European Nations Cup.

The inclusion of compatriot Stefanie Michl in the team could strengthen Austria’s chances at the event, since the 24-year-old from Salzburg has had strong finishes at each of the season’s first four tournaments.

Gergely will bring the experience of having played in the last two tournaments along with confidence from her 2009 season, when she finished 12th on the LET’s Henderson Money List with earnings of €102,485.

“I love this tournament and it’s a great event to start the season,” said the 25-year-old from Poels in Styria. “Everything there is perfectly organised and we all enjoy it at La Sella.”

“Normally it was always my first event after a long winter break but this year I already played in Morocco, where I didn’t perform well at all, but it was good to see where I am standing and on which parts of the game I still have to work on. My game is getting better and better and my confidence from last year is coming back, so I am ready to play.

“In the winter time I worked on my technique and the short game, so the whole game is improving. That’s what I am still working on and try to get this feeling on the course too, so the score is good again. I’ve changed my putting set-up so the stroke is more solid, I have more variety in the short game and of course I’m constantly improving my fitness level.”

Michl finished 71st on the 2009 Henderson Money List, but started the 2010 season well, down under, before recording a tie for 15th recently in Morocco.

Despite living some distance apart in Austria, Michl and Gergely have been good friends since their amateur days and believe their games will fit together.

“I am very happy to play with Steffi as we are really good friends and have known each other for a long time,” Gergely said. “As professionals we haven’t played together a lot and we only see each other at tournaments but as amateurs we played for the Austrian national team so we practised and played together a lot. I think we still know each other’s games and I am sure that they will still fit together.”

The Comunitat Valenciana European Nations Cup begins on Thursday 22nd April and finishes on Sunday 25th. There are a number of fun golf games to be played ahead of the event, such as an “Approaching the Sea” challenge at the Marina de Denia and a longest drive competition on the terrace at La Sella Resort.