|Two-time winner in 2008 Amy Yang|
The Tour’s return to Europe in early April saw the English duo of Trish Johnson and Rebecca Hudson become the winners of the inaugural VCI European Ladies Golf Cup at La Sella Resort in Valencia, Spain.
From here it was a short hop across to Catalonia for an unofficial invitational event, played over 36 holes. Lotta Wahlin’s early win offered a taste of what was to come, with two official victories later in the season.
The Tour was well and truly underway with the first full field event of the year, the Open de Espana Femenino. Sweden’s Emma Zackrisson was considering quitting golf when she won her first professional title in six years on tour.
In April 2008, the LET moved its headquarters from Tytherington in Cheshire, England, to the Buckinghamshire Golf Club in Denham, England. The Buckinghamshire is a prestigious golf club conveniently located in the English countryside on the outskirts of west London, just two miles from the M25. The move has provided the LET with an excellent opportunity to develop the business.
|Rebecca Hudson, who won back-to-back in Tenerife and England|
Hudson carried her form into the next week’s Ladies English Open, played in contrasting conditions at The Oxfordshire, to win back-to-back and make it a hat-trick of career victories on the LET in total.
Next up was the revamped AIB Ladies Irish Open at Portmarnock Links, which was the only natural links the LET visited in 2008. Norway’s Suzann Pettersen was the favourite and duly collected her second title of the year.
On to the rolling countryside of Tuscany and Germany’s Martina Eberl came up trumps with her second career win at the BMW Ladies Italian Open.
Helen Alfredsson, Europe’s effervescent captain at The 2007 Solheim Cup, captured the Evian Masters. She defeated South Korea’s N-Yeon Choi at the third extra hole, claiming her third Evian Masters title and the highest first prize all year: €316,875.00.
South Korea’s Ji Yai Shin came from a shot behind to win the Ricoh Women’s British Open by three strokes at Sunningdale Golf Club in England.
There was a last hurrah for Annika Sorenstam in her native Sweden at Scandinavian TPC Hosted by Annika. However, Amy Yang shot a final round of nine-under-par 63 to win by six strokes over Norway’s Lill Kristin Saether.
At the S4C Wales Ladies Championship of Europe at Machynys Peninsula in Llanelli, Lotta Wahlin fought through strong winds and heavy rain to claim her second official title of the year. She defeated Germany’s Martina Eberl at the second extra hole of sudden death, in what was her first play-off on the Ladies
Gwladys Nocera claimed her third title of the year at the SAS Ladies Masters in Norway. Haga Golf Club coped tremendously with torrential down pours in the run up to the event, allowing the tournament to go ahead as scheduled.
The Nordic swing continued with the Finnair Masters at Helsinki Golf Club in Finland. The Finnish pair of Minea Blomqvist and Ursula Wikstrom delighted the home galleries with their final round duel. Blomqvist eventually claimed a one stroke victory over Wikstrom on home soil.
Annika Sorenstam made her last appearance in Europe at the Nykredit Masters in Denmark, where Martina Eberl pipped English rookie Melissa Reid to the title. It was Eberl’s second victory of the year.
Back in Austria for the UNIQA Ladies Golf Open presented by Raiffeisen, England’s Laura Davies successfully defended the title at Golf Club Fohrenwald in Wiener Neustadt.
Davies, who began the final round tied for the lead with Swede
Emma Zackrisson, shot a four-under-par 68 in cold conditions to finish on 15-under-par, three ahead of Lisa Hall, for her 70th victory worldwide.
The LET returned to Scandinavia for the inaugural Goteborg Masters at Lycke Golf Club, which was co-designed by Helen Alfredsson. Gwladys Nocera won her fourth title of the year with the best 72-hole score in the LET’s 30-year history. She finished with a six-under 66 at Lycke Golf Club to close the tournament at 29-under-par 259, breaking Laura Davies’ previous record in relation to par of 25-under 267, set at the 1995 Guardian Irish Holidays Open at St Margaret’s.
Nina Reis from Sweden also tied the record for the LET’s all time lowest round set by England’s Kirsty Taylor at the 2005 Wales Ladies Open at Machynys Peninsula with an 11-under-par 61.
Germany’s Anja Monke claimed her maiden tour victory at the Vediorbis Open de France Dames at Le Golf D’Arras, Northern France, by a two stroke margin.
Then, an elite field of Europe’s best 40 golfers competed for a first prize of €100,000 at the Madrid Ladies Masters, from 2-4 October. Gwladys Nocera secured her fifth victory of the year at Casino Club de Golf Retamares, defeating Spanish favourite Paula Marti by four strokes.
Nocera now leads the New Star Money List, which was her goal at the beginning of the year and she looks well placed to earn the tour’s official top spot in December.
She and Europe’s finest women professionals garnered more titles and set new records in 2008 – but the best part is that the season is not yet over.There are four events remaining in China, Korea, India and Dubai.
China and Korea will represent the first time that the LET has travelled to either country.
Meanwhile the tour will return to India for the EMAAR-MGF Ladies Masters in Bangalore, India, from 4-7 December.
This will be followed by Annika Sorenstam’s farewell tournament, the Dubai Ladies Masters, from 11-14 December.
Annika will also play in China and will be a huge asset to the event. In terms of quality, the best could well be yet to come.
Fabulous facilities, golf and entertainment all point to a thrilling climax to the 2008 LET season. Join the LET to celebrate Annika’s illustrious career at the third Dubai Ladies Masters, which will serve as an emotional goodbye before the iconic Swede steps away from the game.