(23rd September 2009) — Exactly two years out from The Solheim Cup at Killeen Castle in Ireland, due to be played from September 23-25, 2011, the challenge posed by Ireland’s women golfers on the Ladies European Tour has never looked stronger.
At last week’s Randstad Open de France Dames, three Irish players finished inside the top 15 places and all three admitted that they are being driven by their desire to make Europe’s 2011 Solheim Cup team.
Carlow’s Rebecca Coakley, who had entered the final round two shots off the pace, managed a season-best share of seventh spot. Tara Delaney, also from Carlow and Dubliner Hazel Kavanagh finished together in a tie for 15th on five under par.
Kavanagh, who tied for third place in Austria the previous week, is currently the highest ranked Irish player at 40th on the Henderson Money List.
She said: “At the moment I think we’ve all taken a few steps forward. It’s the countdown now to The Solheim Cup in a few years time and points will start counting. I think all of us want to be on The Solheim Cup team so our own agenda is to play well ourselves and hopefully one of us will make it.”
Coakley said: “I think Irish golf gets stronger year by year. The more we can perform then the more young girls will be inspired to take the game further and treat it professionally.
“It would be very special for me to be able to play in 2011; to be at home and have my friends and family around me. To me that’s an ultimate goal.”
First year tour player Delaney said she was, “definitely happy,” with her career best finish in France.
“It was the first tournament that I played reasonably well all four days so I was very happy,” she said.
“I’ve been working on a few things and I was a bit unsure of what would come from what I was doing. I had to stick at it. I knew I was close to playing some really good golf.
“I think mentally I had to keep going through when it wasn’t going so well. I had to keep believing that what I was doing was the right thing.
“A lot of people back home are really happy to see the Irish up there. I can’t pin point why but they all work really hard on their own individual games.
“Hazel has been out here a while now and it’s good to see her do well. I’m really delighted for her, Rebecca too. It’s probably her fifth year and it’s good to see the hard work they’ve been doing paying off. It gives me hope that I can be up there finishing third and doing well too.”
This week the Irish contingent will tee up in the Tenerife Ladies Open at Golf Costa Adeje where England’s Rebecca Hudson defends the title in a quality field.