View of the 18th green and fairway from the clubhouse
Italian Diana Luna, the 2011 champion, arrives at the Pro Am party

The best golfers from Europe have assembled at Golf Gerre Losone, in Ticino, Switzerland, this week for the third biggest tournament on the Ladies European Tour schedule: the Deutsche Bank Ladies Swiss Open.

The field of participants is stronger than ever and teeming with big names who will all be vying for their share of the €525,000 prize pot.

Located at the foothills of the Swiss Alps, Golf Gerre Losone is indisputably the most spectacular course on the Ladies European Tour schedule and many of the players cite it as their favourite venue. The internationally renowned competition is being played on the same course for the seventh straight year.

After heavy rain over the weekend and on Tuesday, organisers took the decision to reduce the two Pro Ams to nine holes on Wednesday, but high pressure is forecast to move in on Thursday, meaning that warm and sunny weather continues into the weekend.

Laura Davies, one of three LET life members in the field, with 79 career victories, said: “It’s great to be back and I love this week. I’m looking forward to some good weather. I’ve never won in Switzerland so that would be nice and I was second in 2006 on my first time here, so it’s a course that sets up well for my game.”

Helen Alfredsson, another life member of the LET in the field, with 21 career wins, commented: “It’s so lovely to be back in Europe. I was in the States for 27 years and although I’m Swedish feel very much European.

The clubhouse at Golf Gerre Losone

“I’ve never been here before but it looks stunning with the mountains. I’ve never won in Switzerland so the goal for all of us here is, of course, to win!”

Trish Johnson, also with 21 career victories, is another life member and she commented: “This is one of our major tournaments and I’d love to win it. It looks like finally we are going to get four good days and the sponsors deserve it.

“My season so far has been good but up and down, one good week followed by one bad week, so this one is supposed to be a bad week but hopefully it will break the trend.”

England’s Sophie Walker is one of many players who rate this event as the highlight of the LET schedule.  

Local Swiss rookie professional Anaïs Maggetti

“The best event of the year: I love it here!” she said. Her compatriot Henni Zuel added: “I look forward to this event every year. It is one of the best: thank you!”

Italian Diana Luna is defending the title she won by a stroke over 2010 event winner Lee-Anne Pace, Frenchwoman Sophie Giquel-Bettan and Australian Kristie Smith last year.

Luna and Pace are joined by fellow former event champions Marianne Skarpnord and Gwladys Nocera, who won in 2009 and 2006 respectively.

There are also five of this year’s event champions teeing up, namely Lalla Meryem Cup winner Karen Lunn of Australia, Scottish champion Carly Booth, Frenchwoman Anne-Lise Caudal, who won in Germany, Spanish rookie Carlota Ciganda, who won in Holland and last week’s Slovak Open winner Line Vedel from Denmark.

Local Swiss rookie professional Anaïs Maggetti will play in a prominent group for the first two rounds with Davies and Ciganda, while Swiss star Caroline Rominger will also attract a large gallery of home fans.  

Leading players pose before the Pro Am party