Christel Boeljon will receive a glorious homecoming this week as she returns to Golfclub Broekpolder near Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
Boeljon is currently the Ladies European Tour’s leading player at first on the ISPS Handa order of merit thanks to two victories already this season – in February’s Gold Coast RACV Ladies Masters and then at the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open earlier this month.
The 24-year-old from Alkmaar has since spent two weeks at home preparing for the Deloitte Ladies Open and cannot wait for Friday’s first round.
“Looking forward to competing this week in front of home crowd!” Boeljon said. “It’s always nice to be able to play in a tournament in your home country. Last year was a great success and there were a lot of people watching it. It turned out great and one of the better events on the LET. Of course I will try my best!”
Boeljon tied for ninth in the event last year with rounds of 73, 70 and 74 for a one over par total, but her game has since moved up another level and she will be looking to chalk her third win of the year.
|Christel taking part in the ‘hole in one’ challenge|
Boeljon made history by becoming the first Dutch player to participate in The Solheim Cup last September and was a member of the winning team, having made a significant contribution with her singles win over Brittany Lincicome.
She will also be trying to qualify for next year’s Solheim Cup in Colorado and added: “I’m going to try my best. After playing once in The Solheim Cup I want to play in as many as I can. It’s a long way off but it will be in the back of my mind.”
As well as leading the LET order of merit, her recent win pushed her in to the top-50 in the Rolex World Rankings and her current ranking of 46th is the highest ever by a Dutch player, having eclipsed Joost Luiten, who was 64th earlier this year.
The Deloitte Ladies Open will be held for the 17th time in the Netherlands. In 1986 the first edition was played at Hilversumsche Golf Club. Liz Weima, now tournament director for the Promoter, TIG Sports, was the only home winner in 1994 at Nijmegen. There have only been two winners from the Netherlands in the history of the Ladies European Tour, with Christel Boeljon being the second when she won the 2011 Turkish Airlines Ladies Open.
There are five previous event winners in the field of competitors: Florentyna Parker, who won in 2010 at Broekpolder, Tania Elosegui (2009), Gwladys Nocera (2007 and 2008), Virginie Lagoutte-Clement (2005) and Elisabeth Esterl (2004).
There are 14 of the current top 20 players from ISPS Handa order of merit: Christel Boeljon (1), last week’s winner in Germany Anne-Lise Caudal (2), Diana Luna (3), recent Lalla Meryem Cup champion Karen Lunn (4), Sophie Giquel-Bettan (7), Marianne Skarpnord (9), Felicity Johnson (10), Carlota Ciganda (12), Carin Koch (13), Bree Arthur (14), Gwladys Nocera (15), Rebecca Hudson (16), Ursula Wikstrom (17) and Florentyna Parker (19).
They are joined by multiple LET champions Helen Alfredsson, who recently returned from injury, Trish Johnson (23), Lee-Anne Pace (31) and Becky Brewerton (88).
The Deloitte Ladies Open will be played over 54 holes, from June 1-3, with a field of 126 competitors, reduced to the leading 60 professionals and those tied after 36 holes.
The 6422-yard/5873-metre par-72 course is fairly flat with a number of narrow, tree-lined fairways placing a premium on accurate driving and iron-play.
The prize money of €250,000 will see the winner earn €37,500, while there is also a BMW 6 Series available as a hole in one prize on 16 and an Omega watch on hole nine. If a player aces the fourth, the event organisers will make a €15,000 donation to ‘Make-A-Wish’ Foundation.
Deloitte has been a partner of the event since 2010, when it was first played at Golfclub Broekpolder and became the title sponsor last year.