The Queens presented by Kowa will take place for the third consecutive year at Miyoshi Country Club near the city of Nagoya, in Aichi Prefecture, Japan, from Friday to Sunday. For the first time, the Ladies European Tour is sending out Gwladys Nocera, one of the LET’s all-time greats, as its playing captain for the unique team match play event, featuring four teams of the best nine players from the ALPG, JLPGA, LET and KLPGA.
Qualified players for the LET team are from Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Nocera, a veteran of four Solheim Cups and a 14-time tournament winner, who set the LET’s all-time low scoring record of 29-under-par for four rounds, has quickly gained the respect of her team as they get to know each other better.
“I think everyone is very happy and proud to be able to represent the LET as part of a team. It’s a fantastic way to finish the year as part of a fun and enjoyable tournament together and this is a unique opportunity,” Nocera said.
TEAM LET PROUD TO REPRESENT THE TOUR
Captain Nocera is joined in Japan by Lee-Anne Pace, Mel Reid, Florentyna Parker, Holly Clyburn, Olafia Kristinsdottir, Felicity Johnson, Annabel Dimmock and Carly Booth. Qualification for the event has been the number one goal for several players since the start of the year.
Parker, who made her Solheim Cup debut as a member of the European Team at Des Moines in Iowa this summer, commented: “I loved playing here last year and it was my goal to be playing here again. This is my favourite annual team event.
“Every year I set it as a goal to come here. I’ve been here the last two years and I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s a bonus for the end of the year, meaning that you’ve had a great season. You have the best players from each tour and to compete as part of a team is a great bonding experience.”
ALL FOR ONE. ONE FOR ALL
Team sports are about fun, friendship and making brilliant memories, so it’s little wonder that the players are enjoying the unique bond of belonging to a team.
There are six first-timers in Pace (South Africa), Clyburn (England), Kristinsdottir (Iceland), Johnson (England), Dimmock (England) and Booth (Scotland) on the LET squad.
Dimmock said: “The last time I played in a team was at the Junior Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in 2014. I haven’t played in a team for a really long time and everyone is gelling well in our team, which is good. I think everyone is a bit more relaxed and there is lots of banter being thrown around and it’s nice that the caddies are involved as well.”
Kristinsdottir commented: “I’ve never played for an international team before but I think the last team event I played in was representing Iceland in the 2014 World Amateur Team Championships in Karuizawa, Japan. Japan is one of my favourite countries. The food is great, people are good and honest and the venue is cool. I think it’s fun, because usually we’re competing against each other and now we’re rooting for each other. You are always friends, but it’s different and you make stronger friendships as part of a team.”
Clyburn said: “The last time I played on a team was at the UL International Crown last summer. It’s great to be around good friends in a strong team. Spirits are high at the moment and Gwladys is doing a great job in allowing us to do what we want to do but also keeping us together, especially in the evenings.”
Booth said: “The last team event I was in was in Holland. It was me, Kylie Walker and Laura Murray for Scotland. We won against England, Germany and Denmark. Before that it was my amateur days, playing in the Curtis Cup and Home Internationals.
“It’s nice to be playing in a team event because you miss that when you turn pro, the team bonding. It’s the excitement between you all. Golf is an individual sport so it brings us together. I like the team thing.
“I’m quite an aggressive player and I buzz on this kind of event. I think they bring out the best of me because it reminds me of how I was when I was a young girl, wearing my face paint for Scotland and being fearless, which you can afford to be in match play.”
Pace said: “The last time I played in a team event was when I was an amateur, so 17 years ago, approximately. We played in the Commonwealth and the World Team Championships in Puerto Rico and Malaysia. It’s a lot of fun, as you get to know each other on a different level and bond more. Florentyna and I played foursomes today in practice and really enjoyed it. I think we’ve got a great team. Everybody’s fun, including our captain, Gwladys. It’s nice to see a different side of her as well.”
HOW IT WORKS
The Queens presented by Kowa is a three-day match play event featuring four teams of nine players. Each team shall be allocated points in accordance with its respective match results, with 2 points for a win, 1 point for a half and 0 points for a loss. The format of play for day one (Friday) will be eight four-ball matches. Day two (Saturday) will feature 18 singles matches. The first and second day’s play will be known as “Qualifying Rounds.” Based on the points’ totals from the first two days, the third day’s play will see “The Championship Final” contested by the first and second placed teams over four foursome matches, as well as the “Third place final” between the third and fourth placed teams, played over four foursome matches.
STATS TO KNOW
Mean Average age per team
Mean Average World Ranking per team
Mean Average number of wins per team
1st place JLPGA
2nd place KLPGA
3rd place LET
4th place ALPG
1st place KLPGA
2nd place JLPGA
3rd place LET
4th place ALPG
4&3 – Largest margin of victory in a foursome match, returned by Kim and Lee, who defeated Oh and Smith (2016)
6&4 – Largest margin of victory in a four-ball match, returned by Matthew and Hall who defeated Kirk and Hibbert (2016) and Watanabi and Kikuchi, who defeated Reid and Davies (2015)
7&6 Largest margin of victory in a singles match, returned by Sakai who defeated Campbell (2015)