World-class female golfers have arrived in Abu Dhabi ready for what is shaping up to be an unforgettable showdown in the 2017 Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open (FBMLO).
Staged at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club from Wednesday (November 1), golf fans across the capital will have the chance to see American star and defending champion Beth Allen, be joined by newly appointed Solheim Cup Captain Catriona Matthew, as well as Brits Georgia Hall and Mel Reid. The Swedes will also be looking for podium glory this week with two teenage wildcard picks joining the fray, Amanda Linnér and Julia Engström, who have been invited to this year’s FBMLO by the legendary Annika Sörenstam.
Present at the press conference was HE Aref Hamad Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, who spoke enthusiastically about the four-day event and the future of golf in the country:
“I would like to welcome you all here to the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open this week and thank Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak – Mother of the Nation, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation, and President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood. My gratitude also extends to Sheikha Fatima Bint Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan – Chairwoman of FBMA and President of the Abu Dhabi Ladies Club.
“At Abu Dhabi Sports Council, we continue to align with the emirate’s leadership vision to develop sport and youth activities. The return of the second Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies open is testament to not only the success of the inaugural event, but a clear demonstration of how Abu Dhabi continues to attract global sporting talent to its world-class facilities.”
Adding to this at the press conference was Dr. Mai Al Jaber, Board Member of the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Academy, who commented:
“On behalf of the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sport Academy I would like to welcome everyone to the 2017 Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open. It should not be underestimated just how important a role this tournament plays in the continued promotion of women’s sport in the UAE, and we’re delighted to once again offer a range of health and fitness activities to encourage adults and children from the community to get involved.
“Abu Dhabi has achieved great things in the world of sport and at the same time we observe strong progress in the variety of sports on offer – especially for women. The achievements of the many world-class ladies golf professionals here will help to inspire future generations, as well as setting an example for other countries to follow.”
This year’s tournament is focused on family and community, with a range of fun activities, food trucks and entertainment as well as the world-class golf, making it a perfect day out for all the family, and a great opportunity for youngsters to get into golf and other sports. Golfing fun includes a bespoke crazy golf course, chipping challenge, the regions first-ever ‘paint golf’, and introductory beginners’ sessions, with other sports covered by the FIFA Club World Cup fan zone, and sessions from Abu Dhabi cricket and Troon Fit. Entry is free for all and the organisers hope that friends and families will be encouraged to attend, as part of growing the game of golf in the UAE, especially amongst females, and increasing participation in sport, health and fitness across the board.
FBMLO’s defending winner, Beth Allen, expressed her appreciation to the tournament organisers and looked back fondly on the inaugural edition last year, saying: “It feels great. I always enjoy coming back to Abu Dhabi and I always feel welcome at Saadiyat Beach Club. The conditions are really similar to last year and usually the course is in great condition and I’m sure that the scores will be low. But most of all, I’d love to keep the trophy so I will do my best.’
Davide Lantos, Tournament Director from the Ladies European Tour also expressed his excitement of the tour returning to Abu Dhabi:
“I’d once again like to thank the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy and the Abu Dhabi Sports Council for their continued support. We’ve got a fantastic field this year and one thing is for sure you need to be a fantastic player to win at this course.”
Also at the press conference was Catriona Matthew, the previous Women’s British Open winner, LET player of the year, and recently appointed as Team Europe captain for The 2019 Solheim Cup, who is making her debut appearance at the FBMLO:
“I love Abu Dhabi. Actually I first came here probably seven or eight years ago and I have great memories of it. I came back a couple of times since to train in the winter for the last few years. It’s great to be here and playing in the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open and it’s an ideal backdrop for boys and girls to watch some of the world’s best golfers and hopefully inspire them. I think that the more people we can get to play golf around the world the better and hopefully we will see more local players in this event.”
Over the four-day period, 126 players will compete for a total prize purse of $550,000.
The Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open is sponsored by: FBMA, Abu Dhabi Sports Council, TDIC, Al Masaood, Etihad Airways, Marriott Downtown Abu Dhabi and Omega.
The event is free to attend and ticket registration and more information is available at www.FBMLadiesOpen.com, on Instagram and Twitter (@FBMLadiesOpen), and on Facebook. Visitors can also register on the gate.