World No 40 Sophie Gustafson has never tasted Turkish delight, but she is hoping to experience it with victory at the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open this week.
The Swede is visiting Turkey for the first time and will be one of the star attractions at National Golf Club in Belek, Antalya.
The long-hitter is relishing the thought of negotiating the demanding course, which is hosting the event for the third time.
“I’ve heard it’s a really tough course but I enjoy playing tough courses so it should be a great challenge,” she said.
The four-time European No 1 hopes to build on the momentum of her recent team win at the European Nations Cup in Spain and said that a second straight victory on the Ladies European Tour would be “sweet.”
“I’m fairly happy with my game. It’s still very much “work in progress” but I feel I’m on the right track with what I’m doing and I feel I have a plan so it’s coming together nicely. I find it very hard to rate my own game and compare it to past years. The competition has obviously gotten much tougher so if I can win once in a while, I find that very satisfying. I’ll keep working on my stuff and hopefully it will all come together this summer.”
National Golf Club has been set up as a par-73 at 6220 yards, or 5685 metres, for the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open and is in its best ever condition, according to Tournament Director, Tony Martin from Promoter, Mineks International.
He commended the head green keeper, Alper Ateş, for his sterling work over the last 12 months.
Martin said: “The course is in superb condition. The greens are running very fast and all of the comments from the players have been very positive. In the first year, the greens were a bit bouncy and not holding the ball, but the surfaces are much better. National Golf Club is never easy, but it’s fair and if you play well, you can score well.”
Denmark’s Iben Tinning set the course record with a five under par 68 in the first round of the 2010 tournament. Meanwhile, Sweden’s Lotta Wahlin’s win at the club in 2008 was remarkable in many ways, as she took the lead in the first round with a two under 71 and extended that lead every round, finishing on a seven under par winning aggregate, which left the rest of the field 12 shots in her wake.
England’s Melissa Reid mastered the narrow tree lined fairways from day one of the 2010 event and managed to earn her first professional title with a two stroke victory on a total of three under par. The only other players finishing under par were joint runners-up Tinning and Christel Boeljon, meaning that any sub-par scores will likely place a player well and truly in the hunt this week.