Carly Booth at LET Q School for 2010
The Ryder Cup Wales Rookie of the Year Award can boast many luminaries of women’s golf as former winners and gives an accurate indication of whom to look out for in future years. Past recipients include Annika Sörenstam, Helen Alfredsson, Laura Davies, Trish Johnson, Karrie Webb, Laura Diaz, Suzann Pettersen, Minea Blomqvist, Melissa Reid and of course last year’s winner, Anna Nordqvist from Sweden who shot to stardom in 2009 with two victories and a Solheim Cup appearance.

This year there is a diverse class of first year competitors on the LET who between them represent 14 countries and speak a number of different languages. The USA leads the way with eight rookies, while there are six representatives from England, five from Korea and three from each of Spain and Sweden. There are two each from Australia, Japan and Scotland, with one from each of Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Wales.

The start of the Ladies European Tour season at the Pegasus New Zealand Women’s Open, hosted by Christchurch, is just weeks away and here is the third part of a four part series detailing the new players to watch out for in 2010.

Carly Booth, 17, ScotlandGreat things have been expected of Carly Booth since becoming the youngest ladies’ club champion in Britain at the age of 11 at Dunblane New. At 12, she played with Sandy Lyle in the British Masters Pro-Am and at 14 she appeared in her first professional event, the Scottish Open, and finished 13th. She was rated the No1 junior in Europe after winning the European Junior Masters in 2007, the same year she lifted the Scottish Under-18 and Under-21 titles. In 2008, she became the youngest player to represent Great Britain & Ireland in the 76-year history of the Curtis Cup, facing the Americans in the 35th staging of that match at St Andrews. She also played at the Junior Ryder Cup in 2006 and 2008 and won the Daily Telegraph Finals in 2007 and 2008. Now she’s become the youngest-ever Scot to qualify for the LET. She has a golf scholarship to complete at Glenalmond School. She started there after returning from America, where a stay at David Leadbetter’s Academy in Florida was followed by a spell at a school in Arizona. As a youngster, Booth was able to practise on the course made exclusively for her and her brother, professional golfer Wallace, by her father Wally at the family farm near Comrie. Wally was a British wrestling champion.
Emelie Lind, 24, SwedenEmilie Lind earned the 15th full card at LET Qualifying School and joins the LET more than a year after joining the professional ranks. The Stockholm born player turned pro on 1st May 2008 and has concentrated on playing the Swedish SAS Masters Tour, where she won the 2009 Landeryd Masters 09 and was 5th at the Siydalaro Gard the same year. Emilie represents Viksj GK in Sweden. She started playing golf aged 9 and enjoys shopping, travelling and all sports.
Mallory Blackwelder, 22, USABlackwelder, who was born in Dunedin, Florida, is part of the first mother-daughter pair to be members of the LPGA Tour. Her mother, Myra Blackwelder, played from 1980-97. Her father, Worth Blackwelder, is Juli Inkster’s full time caddie. Blackwelder started playing golf at the age of 11 and enjoyed a successful amateur career, winning once (Women’s Western Amateur Championship) and finishing runner-up (Trans-National Amateur Championship), both in 2007. She is a two-time collegiate winner, once while playing for the University of Kentucky (2009) and once while playing for the University of Florida (2005). In 2004, Blackwelder was the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) Bluegrass champion. She competed on the CN Canadian Women’s Tour in 2009. Blackwelder’s hobbies include going out to eat with friends, watching sports, reading and watching movies.
Diana D’Alessio, 35, USADespite a successful 12 year professional career, D’Alessio can be classed as a rookie on the Ladies European Tour since she will be playing in her first season as a member. She has played on the LPGA Tour since 2000 and enjoyed her career best finish of 2nd at the 2006 Honda LPGA Thailand Classic. As an amateur, D’Alessio was the New Jersey State Amateur champion and Women’s Metropolitan Golf Association (WMGA) Stroke Play champion, a title she captured again from 1995-96. These days she enjoys cooking, tennis, mountain-biking and shopping.
Monica V.Christiansen, 22, DenmarkMonica earned her LET membership at the tour’s qualifying school for 2010 and is well known in Denmark for penning her own column in one of the country’s biggest newspapers. She says that her dream is to play on the European Solheim Cup Team and she admires Tiger Woods for his focus and determination. She is coached by James Petts, who coaches a number of other players on the LET including Iben Tinning and KM Juul among others. Christiansen was born in Helsingor and enjoys running with 90s music and dance music on her MP3 player.
Alison Walshe, 24, USAAlison Walshe was born in Galway, Ireland, but grew up in Westford, Massachussetts, after her family emigrated when she was very young. She played for the USA against GB and Ireland in the 2008 Curtis Cup at St Andrews, and was unbeaten in her four matches as the USA retained the trophy. Walshe played her collegiate golf at the University of Arizona, where she was a three-time All-American with 10 individual wins and played for the U.S. World Amateur Championship. Walshe turned pro in February 2009 and spent her debut season plying her trade on the Duramed Futures Tour in the USA, where her best finish was a tie for 2nd at the 2009 Texas Hill Country Classic in San Antonio, Texas.
She finished ninth on the Duramed FUTURES Tour season-ending money list to earn membership to the 2010 LPGA season. At college, her major of interest was Interdisciplinary Studies. She lists her hobbies as going to the beach, spending time with friends, travelling and supporting Boston sports teams, especially the Red Sox.
Kym Larratt, 22, EnglandKibworth’s Kym Larratt is the daughter of European Seniors Tour professional Bob Larratt and is hoping to follow his success in her first season as a professional. Kym started playing golf at the age of 13 and says that she was influenced by her father and Annika Sorenstam. Her hobbies and interests include going to the gym, following Leicester Tigers Rugby Club, going to the cinema and seeing friends.
Pernilla Lindberg, 23, SwedenLindberg, the winner of the 2008 Amateur World Championship, played her collegiate golf at Oklahoma State University, where she won three times. She was named a First-Team All-American in 2007 and 2009, and was the 2007 NCAA West Regional champion, and in 2006, she was named the Big 12 Conference Newcomer of the Year. A member of the Swedish National Team, which won the European Ladies Team Championship in 2006 and 2008, Lindberg has one top-10 finish on the Ladies European Tour (LET) and five top-10 marks on the Duramed FUTURES Tour. Lindberg started playing golf at the age of four and her hobbies include alpine skiing and working out.
Mollie Fankhauser, 28, USAMollie Fankhauser turned professional in May 2004 and played on the Duramed Futures Tour from 2005 until 2007, earning two wins at the 2006 Team WLF.org Golf Classic and at the 2007 Hunters Oak Golf Classic. She competed on the LPGA Tour in 2008 and 2009 with a career best tie for seventh at the 2008 Bell Micro LPGA Classic. At Final LET Q-School for 2010, she entered a play-off and secured the 30th and final card in exemption category 8a. As an amateur, Fankhauser recorded four top-10 finishes on the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) circuit and earned honorable mention AJGA All-American honors in 1998. She competed in four U.S. Women’s Amateur Championships (1999-2002) and was a Quarter finalist in 2002. She was a member of the 2002 U.S. Curtis Cup Team. While at The Ohio State University studying history, Fankhauser won six collegiate tournaments. She started playing golf aged 5 and enjoys music, travel, gardening and being with family.