Defending champion Kylie Walker is relishing her return to The International in Amsterdam for the Deloitte Ladies Open, taking place from 19-21 June.
The 28-year-old from Glasgow claimed her maiden professional title at the venue last year with a birdie on the second playoff hole against Nikki Campbell and Malene Jorgensen. It led to her going on to claim a second victory at the Ladies German Open, before she eventually finished the season ranked 11th on the order of merit.
“I’m really excited about going back and it will be the first time I have gone back to a tournament as a defending champion so it will be a really nice experience,” said the Mar Hall player, currently ranked 23rd on the order of merit after seven tournaments, including the recent Turkish Airlines Ladies Open where she finished tied for third behind Melissa Reid and Gwladys Nocera. “I do enjoy the whole thing about having more attention for doing well.”
“Last year it was massive: a big turning point in my career and then to go on and have another win last season as well, I definitely think that Holland spurred that and gave me great confidence going forward.
“We had good weather so the crowds were brilliant and I felt like I had so many people supporting me. It is so good looking back because the crowds were big and it made such a great atmosphere for the closing holes and the play-off.”
This is the third year that the tournament will be played at The International, which opened in November 2012, just before Holly Clyburn claimed her maiden Ladies European Tour title at the venue in her rookie season of 2013.
Conveniently located adjacent to Schipol Airport, the links style course, which runs through a dramatic dunes landscape, has won acclaim from many Ladies European Tour members over the past two years.
“I’ve got great memories of the golf course: I love it and it’s such a great track,” continued Walker, whose brother Kris will again act as caddie. “The golf course is a really good, tough test and you need to be hitting it well off the tee but your irons need to be good as well because the greens are big and quite slopey, so you need to hit it in the right spots.”
She is feeling even more confident this year. “I feel like my game has really come on and I feel fully fit and healthy. My driving has got better, I’m using the latest PING G30 driver and I see a big difference in my driving since putting that in the bag at the start of the year. I’m hitting it a bit longer, a bit straighter but I feel like I can shape it the way I want to and I’ve got good control.”
At ninth on the LET’s points’ list, Walker is now attempting to qualify for a debut Solheim Cup appearance in Germany this September. Depending on how Melissa Reid performs, the Scot could move into fifth place on the list from which the top four will qualify with a victory worth 40 points in the Netherlands.
However, Gwladys Nocera and Melissa Reid, the LET’s No1 and No2 respectively, are both former Dutch Open champions competing to cement their own places on the European side.
Reid claimed the Deloitte Ladies Open at Broekpolder GC in Rotterdam in 2011, while Nocera won the KLM Ladies Open at Eindhovensche Golf Club in 2007.
Other notable names in the field include Dame Laura Davies, Trish Johnson, Becky Brewerton, Florentyna Parker, Camilla Lennarth and the 2013 champion Holly Clyburn, but the largest galleries are almost certain to belong to the groups featuring the star Dutch players: Dewi Claire Schreefel who won last year’s Helsingborg Open and former European Solheim Cup team member Christel Boeljon.