(Fairhaven, Lancashire July 28 2003) Laurette Maritz of South Africa fired a seven under par 67 in the final qualifying for this week’s Weetabix Women’s British Open with a seven under par 67 at Fairhaven GC near Blackpool. The 39-year-old from Johannesburg rattled in six birdies, an eagle and a bogey around the par 74 links to finish three shots clear of compatriot Mandy Adamson.

Thirteen players qualified from 67 starters aiming to plunder the coffers at this £1.05million event which is in its third year as a major championship in women’s golf.

Welsh player Karen Davies fired a three under 70 to qualify in third place alongside Denmark’s Karen-Margrethe Juul, a former Helen Holm Trophy winner, Diane Irvin from the USA and last years Wales WPGA Championship of Europe winner Asa Gottmo from Sweden.

One shot further back and the last of the qualifiers were the English trio of Georgina Simpson from Dewsbury, Sarah Heath from Shifnal and Alex Keighly, the diminutive Yorkshire woman who will head into the event with a good chance of winning the coveted Smyth Salver, the prize for the leading amateur. They sit alongside Dane Christina Kuld, Sweden’s Filippa Helmersson, Frenchwoman Florence Descampe and Scotland’s Kathryn Marshall.

But some top names on both the LPGA Tour and Ladies European Tour failed to qualify. Fourteen American players declined to play in the final qualifying event, including Kris Tschetter, Jill McGill and Cindy Shreyer, all of whom preferred to stay in the USA.

England’s Wendy Dicks qualified as the first alternative after an eight woman playoff, ALPG Players Champion Tamara Hyett is the second reserve and the final two players are Alexandra Armas from Spain and Nicole Dalkas from the USA.

The first round begins on Thursday morning over Royal Lytham and St Annes GC with the first prize of £160,000 going to the winner.