Golfing greats including Dame Laura Davies, Trish Johnson and Sophie Gustafson have all arrived at Carya Golf Club in Belek, Antalya, to compete in the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open, from Sunday 17th to Wednesday 20th May.
The defending champion Valentine Derrey, who won at nearby National Golf 12 months ago, is aiming to hold onto the title that she won last year by two shots over Malene Jorgensen from Denmark.
The tournament has moved from National Golf Club after six successful and exciting events and will now alternate annually between the National and The Carya: a very different challenge with wider fairways but intricate bunkering and undulating greens.
“I really enjoyed the last course but this is a new one, so it feels like a new event,” said Derrey, 27, from Paris. “I’m playing well and feeling good so let’s stay patient and see what this week brings.”
Derrey’s best result of the 2015 season so far is a tie for 17th at the World Ladies Championship in China and she added: “The season didn’t really start how I wanted and the results aren’t showing how my game is, because I’m playing better than ever. I’ll just keep working on my game, stay patient and not put too much pressure on myself.”
The overall field consists of 126 golfers from 32 countries, with current Order of Merit leader Gwladys Nocera from France, 2010 tournament champion Melissa Reid and Holly Clyburn from England and last year’s two-time winner Kylie Walker from Scotland among the top names competing.
There are seven of last year’s tournament champions in Belek including tour rookie Ssu-Chia Chen who won the Xiamen Open, Spanish Open winner Connie Chen, Italian Open champion Florentyna Parker, Slovak Open winner Camilla Lennarth and Nanna Koertz Madsen from Denmark who won the Lalla Aicha Tour School in December. The tour’s current leading rookie, Koertz Madsen is expected to make her mark after three top 20 finishes from four tournaments, including two top-fives, in Morocco and New Zealand.
The world famous Carya Golf Club, which opened in 2008 and sits on Turkey’s Mediterranean Coast, plays host to the event for the first time and is one of the best known and most popular clubs at the very heart of Turkey’s golf coast. It will be set up as a par 73 at 6562 yards, or 6001 metres, for the Ladies European Tour event.
This annual tournament, supported again by Turkish Airlines, has helped to raise the profile of golf within Turkey and the sport continues to gain in popularity.
Chairman of Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort, Fikret Öztürk, commented: “After six spectacular events held at National Golf Club, this year will be another challenge for the professionals. The wonderful layout of the course and the mild southern European climate will make this event an even more unforgettable experience.
“In addition to the charm of the destination and one of the highest money prize (500,000 euros) tournaments, this event proves to be increasing in popularity. The tournament will start on Sunday and end on Wednesday, as well as being broadcast live – which will bring added attention to ladies’ golf.”
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