South African Nicole Garcia is one of a large group of players who are extremely well prepared for the Sanya Ladies Open starting on Thursday, having spent a week warming up and practising in the tropical conditions at Yalong Bay Golf Club following the Xiamen International Ladies Open.
Many Ladies European Tour players remained in China to make the most of the exceptional golf, fine white sandy beaches and delicious dishes from the sea food restaurants in Yalong Bay last week.
Garcia, who is playing in the Sanya Ladies Open for the second time, had the opportunity to fine tune her game and acclimatise to the hot and humid conditions.
The 25-year-old from Kempton Park said: “It’s been a really good week and we had one day when Typhoon Sarika came through but the girls were just getting settled in so it was perfect.
“We started off the week with a bit of practise as they were kind enough to give us free balls to hit and we could go and play on the course. The condition was amazing, especially after the typhoon came through. We also made our way down to the beach and spent some time together on the beach volleyball court.”
“I think it was definitely an advantage for us to be here for a week, even just to get used to the heat. It did take us a few days to adjust and the first couple of days we were quite tired. Because we spent a bit of time here, we got to see the condition of the course here. I think we’ve all got a little bit of an advantage.”
Garcia, who is ranked 96th on the LET after nine events played this year, hopes to kick on as the LET season enters the final leg of 2016 and she says that the biggest obstacle to overcome is performing under competition pressure.
The other players who have warmed up at Yalong Bay include the recent Xiamen International Ladies Open winner Anne Van Dam from the Netherlands, Amelia Lewis from the United States, Vikki Laing from Scotland, Victoria Lovelady from Brazil, Laura Jansone from Latvia, Agathe Sauzon from France, Sophie Sandolo from Italy, Spanish duo Mireia Prat and Carmen Alonso and Leigh Whittaker, Karolin Lampert, Olivia Cowan and Leticia Ras Anderica from Germany.
Yalong Bay Golf Club is hosting the Sanya Ladies Open for the seventh consecutive year and China’s Xiyu Lin will be targeting her third straight victory.