European number 1 Gwladys Nocera

But with French woman Nocera aiming for her third victory in eight starts this season and coming straight from her second win at last week’s BMW Ladies Italian Open, Ekelundh will face a stern challenge in the week ahead.

Eight of Europe’s top ten are playing in this week’s tournament including four French players: Nocera, who has already won this year in Switzerland and Italy; Stephanie Arricau, the 2006 KLM Ladies Open Champion; Kreutz, a three-time Tour winner and former Solheim Cup player; and Sophie Giquel, who finished runner-up last week in Italy.

Nocera, the European number one, is the woman to beat on the LET after five consecutive top five finishes in her last five appearances and is ripe for her third career victory.

In addition, there is the 2006 Spanish Open champion Lynnette Brooky from New Zealand and Finland’s Riikka Hakkarainen, who won the Tenerife Ladies Open in April, as well as Spanish rookie Tania Elosegui, who leads the Ryder Cup Wales rookie of the Year race. Sweden’s Linda Wessberg rounds out the current top ten places and Rebecca Hudson, who sits in eleventh position on the Money List, is also in the field and will be hoping for a strong finish to move her into the European top ten.