From left: Austrian professional Stefanie Michl and amateur Marina Stütz at Golfclub Föhrenwald.
Golfclub Föhrenwald, which hosts the UNIQA Ladies Golf Open presented by Raiffeisen in Austria, will partner with Golf Club Murhof through the European Ladies’ Team Championship, it was announced at a press conference on Friday.
Austria’s two largest women’s golf events are taking place this summer: firstly the amateur event at Golf Club Murhof from 5-9 July, followed by the UNIQA Ladies gulf open, presented by Raiffeisen, at GC Föhrenwald from 2-4 September.
The €200,000 Ladies European Tour event will attract a high quality field of competitors including England’s Laura Davies, who won the event for the third time in 2010, after wins in 2007 and 2008. She was also second in 2009 after losing out in a play-off to Sweden’s Linda Wessberg.
Trish Johnson, Becky Brewerton, Lee-Anne Pace, Ashleigh Simon, Christel Boeljon, Kristie Smith, Zuzana Kamasova and Karen Lunn are amongst those who have entered so far, along with Wessberg and the 2005 champion Federica Piovano. Austria will be represented by Nicole Gergely, Eva Steinberger and Stefanie Michl among others, while the leading amateur at the European Ladies Golf Amateur Team Championship 2011 in Murhof will receive a wildcard for the UNIQA Ladies Golf Open 2011, presented by Raiffeisen, at GC Föhrenwald.
Gerald Stangl from the Murhof group commented (via translation): “Through co-operation with the UNIQA Ladies Golf Open we want to create a bridge between the lady amateur and professional game from which both sides can profit.
“The high level of the amateur game has already been proven at Föhrenwald with Marina Stütz and it is only a matter of time before those amateurs will graduate to the professional level at Wiener Neustadt.”
Elgar Zelesner from GC Föhrenwald highlighted the advantages of the co-operation with the Murhof group: “It is important to give the best amateur players the chance again to compete on the same stage as the professionals,” he said. “We have done this regularly over the last few years. Steffi Michl began in such a way with us in 2005 at Föhrenwald. The same applies for Marina Stutz, who started with a 66 at the 2010 event and tied for 15th place, which was a great performance.
“We have therefore decided that the best amateur player at the European Ladies Team Championship 2011 in Murhof will have the opportunity, by means of a Wildcard, to play the UNIQA Ladies Golf Open, presented by Raiffeisen.
“Our president, Klaus Schneeberger, will hand the wildcard over to the best amateur player. In addition, in coordination with ÖGV Sport director Niki Zitny, the winner of the International Amateur Championships of Austria, played from 28-31 July, will also earn a wildcard for the UNIQA Ladies Golf Open, presented by Raiffeisen.”