England’s Felicity Johnson may have endured a disappointing start to her 2010 season, but she is confident that she is just about the turn the corner as she attempts to defend her maiden title at the Tenerife Ladies Open this week.
The 23-year-old from Harborne, Birmingham, is attempting to become the first player in the tournament’s history to win the title two years in succession.
After a successful 2009 season, finishing 15th on the Henderson Money List, Johnson has recorded three top 20 finishes in 2010 and lies in 51st on the ranking, with a season best tie for 12th at the Women’s Australian Open.
Yet after a tie for 20th at last week’s Portugal Ladies Open, where she had two rounds in the 60s, she feels confident that she is about to kick-start her season.
“I played well last week so my confidence is growing and I’m just looking forward to getting started,” she said.
“I think last week was good for me. I wasn’t enjoying my golf completely and last week I really enjoyed it and could go out there and play golf and not worry about how my swing was.
“The season has been disappointing so far but hopefully I’ve turned the corner and the hard work is paying off now.
“I think I got a bit too technical and started to worry about every little detail. I’m quite a feel and flair player so I just need to go out and let the golf take care of itself. I’m good enough so it’s just a matter of putting the right work in and the results will happen. I’m working hard and have just got to be patient. Hopefully it will start again this week.”
Johnson won last year at Costa Adeje in the south, but this year the event has returned to Buenavista Golf in the north-west of the island.
The last time the tournament was staged at Buenavista in 2004, Italian Diana Luna claimed a two stroke victory but she is absent due to the arrival of her first child at the end of April.
Johnson has enjoyed playing the Seve Ballesteros designed course for the first time.
“It’s great to be back in Tenerife where I won my first event,” she added. “It’s a special place for me.
“It reminds me of Adeje, which is nice. There are lots of similarities such as the greens, the stone walls and the layout. There are six par fives; six par fours and six par threes which is the same as there. It’s a score-able course but it’s difficult at the same time.
“A lot of it is positioning on the greens. The grain will have an effect on the greens and you might be better to have a 20 foot putt into the grain rather than an eight foot putt down grain.
“It’s important for your approach shots and chipping to be aware of where the grain is and to leave yourself a make-able putt.”
Spain’s Raquel Carriedo won the inaugural event in 2002, while Germany’s Elisabeth Esterl won in 2003; Italian Diana Luna won in 2004 and Frenchwoman Ludivine Kreutz triumphed in 2005.
Now in its ninth year on the LET schedule, the event boasts one of the strongest fields in its history with four previous winners of the title in the field, hoping for repeat success.
Finland’s Riikka Hakkarainen, the 2006 champion, is joined by the 2007 winner Australian Nikki Garrett and the English duo of Rebecca Hudson and Felicity Johnson who won the title in 2008 and 2009 respectively.
There are also five of this year’s tournament winners in the field, with Germany’s Anja Monke who won her third LET title in March at the Lalla Meryem Cup; Melissa Reid who won her maiden title at the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open, her compatriot Florentyna Parker who claimed her first LET trophy at the ABN AMRO Ladies Open in Holland, South African Lee-Anne Pace who broke into the winners’ circle at the Deutsche Bank Ladies Swiss Open and Australian Karen Lunn, who claimed her ninth LET victory at the Portugal Ladies Open last week.