President of Golfclub Föhrenwald Klaus Schneeberger, LET player Stefanie Michl, Bernd Wiesberger and Dr. Petra Bohuslav

(Golfclub Föhrenwald,Wiener Neustadt, Austria – 8th September 2009) — Austria will become the centre of international golf this week when the €250,000 UNIQA Ladies Golf Open presented by Raiffeisen takes place at Golfclub Föhrenwald in Wiener Neustadt.

The tournament effectively marks the start of a two week festival of golf in Austria. The fifth edition of the highly popular women’s event will be played from 10-13th September.

England’s Laura Davies is expected to entertain fans with her golfing finesse as she attempts to secure the title for the third year running.

In total, there are six of this year’s Ladies European Tour champions in the 126-player field: Davies, Marjet van the Graaff (Netherlands), Jade Schaeffer (France), Johanna Westerberg (Sweden), Diana Luna (Italy), who has won twice, and Becky Brewerton (Wales). Italy’s Federica Piovano, who won the first edition in 2005, will also make a return appearance.

As part of the Austrian government’s trade and tourism campaign for the region (Niederösterreich hinein ins Leben), the area also looks forward to hosting the Austrian Golf Open on the men’s European Tour at Fontana Golf Club in nearby Vienna from September 17th.

Lower Austria, which is one of the nine states in the country and becoming increasingly popular as a golf tourism destination, provides the stage. There are 39 of Austria’s 143 golf courses in this region, and the fact that the two international golf tournaments are among Austria’s pre-eminent sporting events are factors that have helped attract this kind of support from such high government levels.

Vera Shimanskaya with Dr. Petra Bohuslav

At a press conference on Monday, Dr. Petra Bohuslav, Regional Minister for Tourism and Sport, commented (via translation): “We would like to show that Lower Austria is a long-term and reliable partner of the tournament. We are very proud of the fact that the European Tour is also in Lower Austria, especially in the current difficult economic conditions. Nevertheless, we have succeeded accomplishing two high-quality tournaments with high-carat players from all over the world.”

Also in attendance were Klaus Schneeberger, president of Golfclub Föhrenwald, Herwig Straka and Edwin Weindorfer, the organisers of the Austrian Golf Open, Ladies European Tour Tournament Director Yvonne Cassidy and a number of LET players.

Austrian competitor Stefanie Michl was present along with leading German players Martina Eberl and Elisabeth Esterl and Russia’s Vera Shimanskaya, the former gold medallist in Rythmic Gymnastics.

The trio of Austrian professionals competing include Nicole Gergely and Eva Steinberger of Judenburg and Stefanie Michl of Salzburg. Gergely is the most successful this year, with a fifth place finish in Switzerland.

The par-72 Golfclub Föhrenwald will play at 6225 yards for the tournament, with €37,500 for the winner. A Rado ladies’ watch is available as a hole-in-one prize at the 10th, with a BMW 1 series on offer for a hole-in-one at the par-three 16th.

Further information about the UNIQA Ladies Golf Open presented by Raiffeisen can be found at the tournament website: