Paula and baby son Izan

The 27-year-old from Barcelona, who topped the European ranking in 2002, finished tied for third in February’s MFS Women’s Australian Open and joint 18th in the ANZ Ladies Masters, with combined earnings of €26,024.40 from the two tournaments.

She leads the New Star Money List by €2,621.77 from Finland’s Minea Blomqvist, while Scotland’s Clare Queen, Wales’ Becky Brewerton and Spain’s Marta Prieto complete the top five places respectively.

Marti plans to play in Europe this year and will travel with her baby son Izan, who was born on 2nd July 2006 and with her mother or her mother-in-law and partner Ivan.

She said: “I want to regain confidence, be at the top of the ranking and get into The Solheim Cup team once again.” (Marti was a member of the European Solheim Cup Team, when the event was played at Interlachen G&CC, Minnesota, USA, in 2002).

“After a year of not competing I didn’t imagine I would be first on the ranking but I’m not surprised either. The season has just started; two good places and I’m at the top. The truth is that really motivates me. It means having good schedules and playing with the best. If at the end of the season I finish first, perhaps that would surprise me, especially because of how long I’ve been away from competition.”

Sweden’s Louise Stahle leads the race to become the Ryder Cup Wales Rookie of the Year in association with the Bill Johnson Trophy entering the European leg of the 2007 LET season. She is closely followed by New Zealander Sarah Nicholson, South Korea’s Amy Yang and Australia’s Kristie Newton. Yang won the ANZ Ladies Masters as a 16-year-old amateur last year in February but she only played in one tournament as a professional in 2006: the Dubai Ladies Masters at Emirates Golf Club. The LET has therefore deemed that she be given “rookie” status in 2007.

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