Sisters Anastacia and Maria Kostina are missing the Duramed FUTURES Tour’s event this week in Daytona Beach, Fla. to represent Russia in the VCI European Ladies Golf Cup, being staged at La Sella Resort near Alicante in Spain.

“I’m so happy about this and it’s important that we go,” said Anastasia Kostina of Nakhabino, Russia. “I played for the Russian National Team for seven years and I love these kind of team events. It will be fun to play it with my sister.”

Kostina said she was upset about it at first because a tournament representative called her parents at home and told them about the event and requested that their daughters play. The sisters were already in the United States, preparing for the Duramed FUTURES Tour season to start. And then when the tournament organisers contacted the sisters directly and urged them to compete, Kostina said they were told their expenses would “be taken care of” by the tournament.

“With the cost of plane tickets, we had no hope of going, but they told us not to worry about the money and that they would take care of our hotel and travel expenses,” said Anastasia. “They just kept saying, ‘You gotta come.’”

So the last piece of the puzzle was to secure their travel visas for the trip to Spain. Last week, Anastasia was in the tournament field in Lakeland, Fla., while Maria, who was practicing in Palm Springs, Calif., drove to the Spanish embassy in Los Angeles and secured their travel visas for the trip.

“My sister was doing all the paperwork for two days and calling embassies and finally, it was approved,” said Anastasia, who played in three team championships with her sister as amateurs. “I’m excited to play with her again and to be able to represent Russia.

Kostina added that “people in Europe seem to be more interested in us going to this tournament than people in Russia,” but she acknowledged that a big part of their motivation is to help golf become a more accepted and popular sport back home. Even apparel maker Cutter & Buck, is getting involved. The company is making the Kostina sisters matching outfits with the Russian flag on them for the competition.