Gwladys Nocera starts this week with one objective: to win her national title at the Lacoste Ladies Open de France.
The 41-year-old from Moulins has already amassed 14 LET victories and more than 2 million euros since turning professional at the end of 2002, placing her in fifth position on the LET’s all-time career money list.
Since 2005, she has made four appearances for Europe in The Solheim Cup and only six weeks ago represented France in the historic Olympic golf competition in Rio de Janeiro.
Currently ranked 29th on the Order of Merit following 11 starts this year, with her best finish T6th in Scotland, she is now looking to lift her first trophy since the 2015 Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco.
Only four Frenchwomen have won their national Open: Céline Herbin (2015), Stephanie Arricau (2004), Patricia Meunier-Lebouc (2000) and Marie Laure de Lorenzi (1988, 1993 and 1995).
Nocera commented: “I really would like to win this one, it’s always been the plan for me. I’ll do my best but I’m not the only one that wants to win it. Having Lacoste as a sponsor for nearly 15 years, they have spoiled me and they are the best sponsor you can get. Being near Biarritz, where my family are, is always special. It’s a special place for me and everything is combined for a good week so now I have to let the clubs talk.”
The 26th edition of the championship marks its fifth consecutive staging at Le Golf de Chantaco, where the recent winners are Herbin (2015), Azahara Muñoz (2013 and 2014) and Stacey Keating (2012).
The club, in picturesque Saint-Jean-de-Luz, is a special place for the 19 French players in the field of 78 competitors with a rich and proud sporting history.
Nocera continued: “For us French players it’s just fantastic. People know golf, people know sport and that culture is everywhere. I think it’s really cool and you can’t get a better place. It’s perfect.”
Established in 1928 for Simone Thion de la Chaume, illustrious golfer and wife of René Lacoste and mother of the famous golfer Catherine Lacoste, the course presents a technical test with narrow fairways meandering up and down hilly terrain lined by more than 1000 trees and several water hazards. Designed by the British architect Harry Colt, the club has an allure and spirit which can be described as ‘golf chic’ and members of the Lacoste family, including the 1967 US Women’s Open champion Catherine Lacoste, are always present.