|Marianne Skarpnord in Switzerland|
It all started with the ANZ Ladies Masters in Australia, where local player Katherine Hull was proclaimed the 2009 season’s first official tournament winner. Another highlight was Laura Davies’ 72nd career win at the Women’s Australian Open at Metropolitan Golf Club in Melbourne.
After Australia, the tour moved back to Europe for the Comunitat Valenciana European Nations Cup, a 20-nation team event, where Christel Boeljon and Marjet van der Graaff became the season’s first two maiden champions.
Norway’s Skarpnord then claimed her first title at the Deutsche Bank Ladies Swiss Open, holding off the challenge of Melissa Reid at Golf Gerre Losone.
Frenchwoman Jade Schaeffer denied Spain’s Paula Marti in a playoff to win for the first time at the HypoVereinsbank Ladies German Open in Munich before Tania Elosegui, of Spain, earned her first LET win in the ABN AMRO Ladies Open at Eindhovensche Golf in the Netherlands the following week.
Johanna Westerberg, of Sweden, won her first title in Portugal, holing a stunning bunker shot to deny Elosegui in a play-off at Golden Eagle.
Diana Luna, from Italy, returned to her winning ways when she claimed her second LET victory at the AIB Ladies Irish Open supported by Failte Ireland. The following week, she went on to win the SAS Ladies Masters in Norway.
|Felicity Johnson in Tenerife|
England’s Felicity Johnson earned her first win at the Tenerife Ladies Open at Golf Costa Adeje before Spain’s Azahara Munoz defeated Nordqvist in a playoff and earned a maiden victory on her professional debut.
At the final event on European soil, Norway’s Marianne Skarpnord rolled in a six-foot birdie putt at the third play-off hole to clinch her second victory at the Carta Si Ladies Italian Open, denying Laura Davies.
Then two South Korean players earned their first professional titles at the LET’s two week stretch in Asia. Suh Bo-Mi won the Suzhou Taihu Ladies Open in China, before Kim Hyun-ji triumphed at the Daishin Securities Tomato Tour Korean Ladies Masters the following week.
The unity and cooperation shown by the professional players, amateurs, partners and sponsors, who hail from different countries, speak different languages and enjoy diverse cultures, is something of which politicians can only dream.
There is no reason to believe that the season’s climax at the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters will be any less eventful. Sophie Gustafson starts the week in pole position on the Henderson Money List, while Nordqvist is poised to take the Ryder Cup Wales Rookie of the Year Award.
Watch out for Matthew, a class player who is well within reach of grabbing pole position on the LET ranking and Gustafson, who will be doing her best to stop her.
In the year of the first time winner, can we expect another surprise champion? The list of possible candidates is too long to list here, so stay tuned to see the story unfold.