The Ladies European Tour is all set for its first foray into South America when the Lalla Aicha Tour School Pre-Qualifier D gets under way in Colombia in a fortnight’s time.
A total of 26 players from 14 different countries will tee up at Golf Club La Padera de Potosi in La Calera on 26-29 November, seeking to advance to the Final Stage of qualifying in Morocco from 18-22 December and ultimately earn their place amongst the best players in the world on the Ladies European Tour in 2016.
The Ladies European Tour is extending its global presence ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games by expanding the qualification system and the unique brand of the Lalla Aicha Tour School, which is named in honour of HRH the Late Princess Lalla Aicha of Morocco. Colombia is the third country to host an Official LET International Qualification event, joining Morocco and China.
The event has attracted six entrants from South America, including three players from the home nation. Laura Sanchez Zuluaga, Eileen Vargas and Maribel Lopez Porras from Colombia will compete along with Andrea Gomez Lloret from Mexico, Andy Jun from Paraguay and Karen Gutierrez from Panama.
The United States of America has the most representatives with nine players in the field: Maia Schechter, Lucy Davies, Sydney Cox, Kate Scarpetta, Brooke Baker, Lauren Mielbrecht, Samantha Troyanovich, Molly Aronsson and Kristen Park.
There are two players from the United Kindom (Lauren Horsford) and Mavis Knight) and France (Emilie Alonso and Patricia Beliard).
The other countries with one representative in the field are Chinese Taipei (Mayko Chwen Wang), Trinidad and Tobago (Monifa Sealy), Germany (Greta Isabella Voelker), Norway (Jeanette Marita Engzelius), Switzerland (Sabina Imboden), India (Rhea Nair) and Latvia (Krista Puisite).
“We are delighted with the number and diversity of applications that we have received in the first year and are pleased to see strong representation from South America,” said Maria Salgado, marketing director of the Ladies European Tour. “The introduction of a qualification tournament in South America reflects the global reach of the Ladies European Tour and our strategy to create a development pathway from entry level golf to the heights of professionalism, inspiring women and juniors to play golf in all parts of the world.”
Sebastian Pinzón, La Padera de Potosi Event Director, said: “We are extremely proud to be hosting the first Ladies European Tour event in South America, which is a fantastic opportunity for the talented young women golfers in our region to test themselves against the best and follow their dreams to compete on a truly global tour. This will no doubt inspire women and juniors in our country to take up golf, which is a fast growing sport in Colombia, currently experiencing rapid business and economic growth.”
Felipe Harker, Executive Director of the Colombian Golf Federation said: “We are very happy that Ladies European Tour is bringing the Q-School to our country and to La Pradera in particular. We continue to build a mutually beneficial relationship between Colombia’s women golfers and the LET. Golf has been growing significantly in our country and this event is the perfect next step”.
Joaquin Moreno, President of La Pradera Country Club said: “We are very excited at the prospect of the best women golfers in the region coming and playing our beautiful course. It’s a big opportunity for us to establish our credentials as a host of major golfing events. The board of directors and I are committed to make the event a great success and we are excited to be developing an enduring and warm relationship with The Ladies European Tour”.
The LET works closely with national federations to provide playing opportunities for amateur golfers at LET events, and by encouraging LET members to share their knowledge, experience and skills.
About the Ladies European Tour (LET)
The Ladies European Tour is a company limited by guarantee, not having a share capital, and its objectives are to promote world-wide interest in the game of golf, to maintain high standards in the promotion, development and conduct of ladies’ professional golf activities, to provide opportunities in tournament play and golf promotion for women golf professionals, to co-operate with organisations engaged in golf promotion whose objectives are compatible with those of the Ladies European Tour and to protect and further the mutual interest of the Tour and its Members. Formed as the WPGA in 1978, the first series of golf tournaments took place in Great Britain in 1979. Now in its 37th year, in 2015 the Ladies European Tour features more than 20 tournaments in 18 different countries globally. With a strong base in Europe, the LET has in recent years expanded into new territories such as Dubai, India, New Zealand, South Africa, Turkey and China. In 2015, the international schedule began in Australia and concludes in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The Tour’s 300+ Members represent 40 different nationalities. In 2010, the LET launched the LET Access Series, the official feeder tour to the Ladies European Tour, formed to give players not part of a major tour an opportunity to compete and progress on to the Ladies European Tour. In January 2013, Ivan Peter Khodabakhsh became Chief Executive Officer of the Ladies European Tour, whose headquarters are located at Buckinghamshire Golf Club in Denham, near London, England.