In an effort to earn more Solheim Cup points, England’s Florentyna Parker (pictured above, right) is targeting a top-10 finish in this week’s SGF67 World Ladies Championship with SBS, the second event on the 2017 Ladies European Tour schedule, starting on Friday at Mission Hills Resort Haikou in Hainan, China.
Parker is in fourth position in the European points standings and targeting a debut Solheim Cup appearance as part of Annika Sorenstam’s team at Des Moines in Iowa.
Eight players will automatically qualify after the Ricoh Women’s British Open for the 12-member team that plays against the United States from August 18-20, including four from the points standings and four from the rankings, while Sorenstam will have four captain’s picks.
Parker had eight top 10s, including two second place finishes and a season-ending tie for third at the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters in 2016, before starting her 2017 campaign with a tie for 13th at the Oates Vic Open in Australia.
“I want to continue where I left off in Dubai and I need as many top 10s as possible, or even a win,” said the 27-year-old two-time LET tournament winner, who earned trophies at the 2010 ABN AMRO Open and 2014 Ladies Italian Open. “Last year, I did everything but win and so it would be great if I did that this year and capped it off with a place on The Solheim Cup team. It’s everybody’s dream to represent their continent and play in The Solheim Cup as a professional. I played in two PING Junior Solheim Cups, so it would be a great honour.
“I haven’t played much yet this year, but I went to Australia and finished tied for 13th. I was obviously disappointed it wasn’t a top 10, because I played quite nicely and I’m just a bit rusty on the short game. This week, the Blackstone is a really tough course and we’ll play against some excellent players from Korea and China, so I’ll need to be playing well. I hope I can put it all together over three days.
“The courses at Mission Hills are absolutely beautiful and I love the Blackstone. I’ve played three of the courses in this resort, but the Blackstone is the most challenging and it’s a great test of golf. I’ve never done particularly well at a World Ladies Championship, but this year with The Solheim Cup I need to start performing well again, so I’d be very pleased with a top 10 finish.”
Ahead of the tournament, Parker was joined by Chinese competitors Jia Yun Li, Ye Li Ling and Zhang Yue, 15, for a photo shoot at Mission Hills’ brand new leisure and entertainment park, Centreville, which opened on 1st October 2016 and includes a shopping mall, hotels, restaurants, office space and a convention centre.
The players took turns to hit golf balls into a lake in the centre of the development, during a dancing fountain show, with the dramatic combination of music, water and lights resembling the performances at the Dubai Fountain and the Fountains of Bellagio.
Several of the 126 competitors in the field are enjoying their return to the tropical Mission Hills Resort Haikou, which hosted the World Ladies Championship from 2012-2015, before the event was played at the Mission Hills Dongguan Resort in 2016, when South Korean Lee Jung-Min emerged as the winner.