Zuzana Kamasova is ready to take centre stage this week when the second Allianz Ladies Slovak Open takes place at her home golf course, Gray Bear Golf Club at Tále ski, golf and hotel resort, from 26-29 May.
|The ninth green at Gray Bear GC|
The 33-year-old from Bratislava became the first ever Slovakian winner in the history of the Ladies European Tour when she claimed the Lalla Meryem Cup at Golf du Soleil in Morocco a month ago.
Now she is preparing to play the leading role again as the LET’s sole representative in her home event, being played in the beautiful Low Tatras mountains near the city of Brezno.
There will be additional pressure, but Kamasova is relishing the experience, hoping to improve on last year’s performance when she tied for 30th place. She said: “It’s going to be a busy week for me, but I am ready for it.
“I’m really looking forward to it because this year the course is in better shape than it was last year; the weather should be good and it’s the second time around.
“I know it will be good competition, like last year and there are big names coming as well so it’s really exciting. I just want to be happy with what I do and if things go my way, I saw it in Morocco. If it goes your way, it goes your way. It’s just putting it all together.”
She says that her game has improved, along with her confidence. Prior to her maiden win, she held only a career money status on the Tour, with very limited playing opportunities.
“I sort of proved it to myself, because I think there are a lot of people on my team, friends and family, who have a much better belief in me that I did in myself. Winning definitely proved to myself that, yes, you can do it and now just do what you are doing. You enjoy the moment and take the best out of it and that’s what I did.
“If I can play the sort of golf I played in Morocco, I am going to be super happy. I missed the cut in Germany and in Turkey but my overall game is getting better. Numbers don’t always show it. In Germany I hit the ball really well and I struggled on the greens. I know the greens at home a little better so I’m hoping to drop a few putts.”
|The 14th fairway at Gray Bear GC|
She will be joined in the 126-player field by last year’s inaugural event champion Maria Hérnandez, of Spain, who claimed her maiden title with a winning 72-hole total of eight under par 280, 12 months ago, when there were frequent heavy showers throughout the tournament. Runner-up Kristie Smith of Australia has returned after earning her first LET title at February’s Pegasus New Zealand Women’s Open, along with England’s Laura Davies, who finished third last year.
In addition, recent event winners Ashleigh Simon and Christel Boeljon are also teeing up, along with Helen Alfredsson, Trish Johnson, Lee-Anne Pace, Becky Brewerton, Gwladys Nocera, Florentyna Parker, Melissa Reid, Anja Monke and Linda Wessberg. They will all be hoping to master the tricky Bob Walton and Skip Malek-designed course and win the €52,500 first prize.
“From my perspective as a player, Gray Bear Golf Course is a very challenging golf course and you need your overall game. You cannot just hit it anywhere,” Kamasova said. “You do get your breaks but you have to play smart. I think for a player and us professionals, we like challenges. I think it’s a good tournament, challenging golf course, good prize money (€350,000) and that’s what draws people as players. You want to play and win on a golf course that is really challenging. You do need all these shots. You don’t get a flat lie. You get all these side hill lies and everything. It is in the valley and on the side of a mountain.”
The 6305-yard/5764-metre par-72 course is in much better condition than last year and Kamasova continued: “Last year we had much tougher winter, there was a lot more snow and it was a lot colder. It was changing weather whereas this winter was a little mild, there wasn’t as much snow and it was open two weeks earlier than last year. Two weeks can do wonders with a course, especially set in the mountains.”
Although she is the country’s sole representative on the LET, Kamasova will be one of three Slovakian players in the field. Professional Vicky Tomko was invited to compete, while amateur Natalia Heckova qualified to play and both will be hoping to make the halfway cut to the leading 60 competitors and ties. There are also two players from the neighbouring Czech Republic: LET rookie Klára Spilková and fellow professional Daniela Prorokova, who received an invite.
|The seventh green at Gray Bear GC|