|Nikolaus Pelzer (DGU), Laura Davies and Gabriele Volz (UniCredit) before the Pro Am|
Laura Davies is looking for a German double when she tees up at this week’s UniCredit Ladies German Open presented by Audi in Munich.
The 79-time tournament champion is hoping to retain the title she won so impressively at Golfpark Gut Häusern 12 months ago.
The 47-year-old Englishwoman came from nine shots behind at the midway point, finishing with a 68 for an 11-under 277-total to end two ahead of compatriot Melissa Reid and three ahead of third-round leader Ashleigh Simon of South Africa.
“I’m looking forward to it. The course is in, if anything, better shape than last year, because we had so much rain. It’s the same layout: good memories from last year,” said Davies, after playing in the Pro Am with one of her Liverpool heroes, Karl-Heinz Riedle.
“The course is playing a lot shorter. We got pin high on 16, obviously one, seven, it’s going to be a fun tournament.”
She rated the event as one of the best in Europe: “Look at the infrastructure. You’ve got all these lovely villages; lots of galleries. There are really good sponsors: Audi, driving us around, allowing us to drive their fabulous cars. It’s just got a nice atmosphere to it.”
She has recently taken delivery of an Audi RS5, to which she upgraded from the Audi A5 convertible she won last year.
Davies added that Germany’s Sandra Gal may be the favourite after winning the Kia Classic in March. The world No.34 is playing in her homeland for the first time since turning professional three years ago.
“There are so many good players here this week I’d say it’s impossible to say who the winner is going to be. Sandra Gal maybe would be a pick because she just won in America. I’d put Sandra Gal out there as the one to beat.”
Gal hopes that she can enjoy the same sort of success as compatriot Martin Kaymer, the recent World No.1 and Ryder Cup player.
She joined the Ladies European Tour after her victory in America and now has a chance to play for Europe’s Solheim Cup side in Ireland this September.
Gal said: “It is a great honour to represent Europe and I would love to do it. If I carry on playing well, I hope I will get the chance to play.”
Alexis ‘Lexi’ Thompson will also make her event debut and her first start since she lost a share of the 54-hole lead at the Avnet LPGA Classic in Mobile, Alabama, a month ago.
The 16-year-old American made a strong run at winning the Evian Masters in France last year before finishing in a tie for second.
She has a chance to become the youngest ever winner on the Tour as she is currently younger than Amy Yang, who holds the record for winning the 2006 ANZ Ladies Masters aged 16 years, six months and eight days.
The tournament takes place over four rounds from Thursday to Sunday, with live television coverage on Sky in Germany.