|Klára Spilková of the Czech Republic tees off on the 16th hole|
A field of 131 competitors from 32 different countries will tee up in the Sberbank Golf Masters from Friday, as the Ladies European Tour (LET) returns to Golf Park Plzeň – Dýšina in Pilsen for the second successive year.
This is the Tour’s 13th stop of 2014 and its fourth visit to the Czech Republic. The past three tournament champions are all competing and Ann-Kathrin Lindner of Germany will attempt to retain the title she won by a stroke from Diana Luna and Alexandra Villatte at the same venue last August, while England’s Melissa Reid and Jade Schaeffer of France are looking for repeat success following their victories at Albatross Golf Resort near Prague in 2013 and 2012.
There are four of this year’s champions in the field with Scotland’s Kylie Walker, winner of last week’s Ladies German Open presented by Marriott and the Deloitte Ladies Open in Holland, England’s Florentyna Parker, who triumphed in Italy, Sweden’s Camilla Lennarth, who won her first title in Slovakia and Frenchwoman Valentine Derrey, winner of the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open.
There are 27 past Ladies European Tour champions, including South African Lee-Anne Pace, Gwladys Nocera of France, England’s Trish Johnson and Holly Clyburn, Welshwoman Becky Brewerton, Sweden’s Sophie Gustafson, Italian Diana Luna and Norwegian Marianne Skarpnord, amongst other notable names.
Klára Spilková heads the 12-strong contingent from the Czech Republic, which includes two professionals and 10 amateurs. The other professional is Daniela Prorokova, a regular on the Ladies European Tour Access Series (LETAS), while the 10 amateurs include Adela Cejnarova, who finished in a tie for sixth place on the same golf course in the recent LETAS Pilsen Golf Challenge.
Sweden’s Emma Nilsson triumphed in that event and secured her invitation, along with recent LETAS winner Isabella Ramsay, who won in Belgium.
With live television coverage over the weekend to a global audience in more than 50 different countries, this is sure to be a step up for those players, who will experience playing in a full field Ladies European Tour event.
In addition to the €250,000 prize fund and winner’s cheque for €37,500, there is the prospect of a BMW Z4 for a hole-in-one on the 13th and an Omega watch for an ace on the 11th or 15th during the competition.
Changes to the 5,360 metre par-71 (36-35) golf course since last year’s tournament include a new tee 30 yards back from the original on the 146-metre par-3 fourth hole, as well as a new tee 30 yards further back on the par-4 eighth hole, which is a severe dog-leg right.
The weather forecast for the tournament is favourable, with mainly dry and sunny conditions, albeit with the chance of isolated showers or thunderstorms over the weekend.
For Friday’s first round, sunny skies will greet the area with highs of 24C and a light east-north-easterly breeze at 5-10 miles per hour.
Highs of 27C are forecast for the second round on Saturday, with cloudy conditions, highs of 25C and the chance of scattered showers for Sunday’s third and final round.