Melissa Reid will return to competitive action on Friday when the Sicilian Ladies Italian Open gets under way at Il Picciolo Golf Club in Castiglione di Sicilia.
Reid is still on a high after playing a key role in Europe’s Solheim Cup victory a fortnight ago, but the 23-year-old Englishwoman is determined to put in a strong showing in Italy at the last event of the season on European soil.
“I had a week off after Solheim which was nice because I was absolutely shattered after winning in Spain as well and Solheim really took it out of me, but it was nice to have a week off and I’m looking forward to playing again,” said Reid, who claimed her third career title at the Open de Espana three weeks ago.
With five events yet to take place on the 2011 Ladies European Tour, Reid will have a prime opportunity to make up ground on the current Henderson Money List leader Ai Miyazato in Italy.
With season’s earnings of €258,981 from 15 tournaments, she is ranked second on the standings, €104,098 behind Japanese Miyazato.
Reid said: “I will probably have to win three more tournaments including Dubai to catch Ai and win the Henderson Money List but it’s definitely one of my goals from the start of the year. It should be a good battle with a few that could get close including Caroline Hedwall and Diana Luna’s quite high up there as well, but if I play well I will give myself a chance.”
An appearance in Malaysia on the LPGA next week will be followed by a fortnight playing LET tournaments in China and Reid will then skip India before playing the season-ending Omega Dubai Ladies Masters, which concludes on December 17.
“I might set goals for next year before Dubai and have a solid look at things and a proper review then. Before that I’ll be looking forward to playing this week,” she said.
Il Picciolo Golf Club, set at altitude in eastern Sicily next to Mount Etna, previously hosted the Ladies European Tour three years in succession from 1995-1997 when Denise Booker, Laura Davies and Valerie van Ryckeghem won the title respectively.
Most of the 108 competitors in this week’s field will be playing the golf course for the first time, including the 2009 Italian Open champion Marianne Skarpnord from Norway, who won the title at Le Rovedine Milano.
She is joined in the field by the 2007 title holder Trish Johnson, 2006 winner Gwladys Nocera, and last week’s Lacoste Ladies Open de France champion Felicity Johnson as well as Lalla Meryem Cup victor Zuzana Kamasova and Diana Luna, ranked fourth on the Henderson Money List after two wins on Tour so far this year in Germany and Switzerland.
Luna was defeated at the first extra hole of a play-off in France on Sunday and will be determined to make amends in front of her home gallery. She is one of 15 Italians in the field hoping to make their mark along with Giulia Sergas, Veronica Zorzi, Stefania Croce and Sophie Sandolo.
Becky Brewerton of Wales, Lee-Anne Pace from South Africa and United States duo Christina Kim and Laura Diaz are among the high profile players who will tee up in the €200,000 strokeplay event.
Tournament action gets under way from Friday to Sunday, witha cut to the leading 50 professionals and ties after two rounds.