It was another thrilling year on the Ladies European Tour in 2018, with two new European major champions in Georgia Hall and Pernilla Lindberg, Anne Van Dam picking up a brace of Spanish trophies and Bronte Law breaking an LET record by making nine birdies in a row.
The 2019 season gets under way next week in Abu Dhabi and promises much excitement, with momentum building towards The Solheim Cup in Scotland. We look ahead to another exciting year on the Ladies European Tour.
Return to the UAE
The 2019 season opens early with the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open at the stunning Saadiyat Beach Golf Club in Abu Dhabi, on January 10-12, where Aditi Ashok from India will defend the title she won at the same venue in late 2017.
Saadiyat Beach is a picturesque design with a multitude of undulations and Aditi will be looking to summon her short-iron accuracy and putting prowess on the firm and testing greens in the desert sunshine.
Along with the new date, the tournament will be the first women’s professional golf event to be played under The R&A’s new Rules of Golf, implemented from 1st January 2019, which promises plenty of intrigue.
The Ladies European Tour heads Down Under joining the Australian Ladies Professional Golf tour for three consecutive events next month. The swing tees off with the Australian Ladies Classic – Bonville, at the magnificent Bonville Golf Resort, on 20-24 February, followed by the ActewAGL Canberra Classic at Royal Canberra Golf Club on 1-3 March and then the Women’s New South Wales Open, at Queanbeyan Golf Club, on 8-10 March, where rising English star Meghan MacLaren (below) will defend her crown on a new course.
Cape Town Calling
The prestigious Investec South African Women’s Open will return to Westlake Golf Club in the City of Cape Town in mid-March when the cream of the Ladies European Tour will meet with the leading lights of South African women’s golf for the co-sanctioned championship. Home heroine Ashleigh Buhai, who completed a hat-trick in 2018, will be looking to make it four.
New tournament, new format
The LET players will join the European Challenge Tour and Staysure Tour for the inaugural Jordan Mixed Open presented by Ayla in early April, at Ayla Golf Club, on the Red Sea. The event is the first of its kind where men and women will compete against each other in the same field, for the same trophy and same prize money, building on the success of recent mixed events such as the Golf Sixes and European Team Championships. This truly unique event will see players from the three tours competing together in three-balls.
More Moroccan Magic
Another highlight on the schedule will be the Lalla Meryem Cup on 25-28 April, which is a co-located event with the men’s European Tour, at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam in Rabat. Following on from wins by the likes of Ariya Jutanugarn, Charley Hull, Klara Spilkova and Jenny Haglund, this event is building a tradition of first-time winners, which is apt. Morocco has also hosted the LET’s Lalla Aicha Tour School for the last seven years and has become known as a golf-star factory.
Dash to the Desert
The Ladies European Tour will return to Emirates Golf Club on 1-4 May, for the Omega Dubai Moonlight Classic. A familiar venue, but a new name and plenty of innovation will make this a stand-out event, as it will be played under floodlights: another first on the LET.
For the second successive year, the Jabra Ladies Open will be a Dual Ranking event with the LET Access Series and will double as the European qualifier for the Evian Championship, in France. Not only will the players have the incredible opportunity to play on the major golf course but they will also have the chance to seize a potentially life-changing victory, as experienced by Frenchwoman Astrid Vayson de Pradenne (above) in 2018.
The Ladies European Thailand Championship will be played for the third successive year at Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club in Pattaya in mid-June. This is the scene of the then 15-year-old amateur Atthaya Thitikul’s historic victory in 2017, which was followed by another Thai triumph from Kanyalak Preedasudjit in 2018.
Major Glory on the Line
The season’s final two majors take place in Europe for consecutive weeks. The Evian Championship will move to July 25-28, reclaiming its place in the beautiful French summer. Along the shores of Lake Geneva and at the base of the Alps, the week in Evian-les-Bains, France, promises to be one of world-class glamour and competition.
The women’s major season will culminate on 1-4 August at the newly named AIG Women’s British Open, to be held at Woburn Golf Club, near Milton Keynes.
From there, the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open, at Renaissance Golf Club on 8-11 August, will ensure three straight weeks of world-class women’s golf in Europe, building up to the highlight of the year, in Scotland.
The Solheim Cup
The PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles will host the 16th Solheim Cup, marking the Cup’s return to Scotland for the first time since 2000 and we can expect to see a passionate crowd of 100,000 people roaring on the best golfers from Europe and the USA. Gleneagles was the site of the 2014 Ryder Cup, which saw the European Team earn a 16½-11½ victory over the United States. The European Solheim Cup Team, captained by Scotland’s own Catriona Matthew, hopes to take inspiration from that victory as they face off against the Americans, with three-time Captain Juli Inkster at the helm, who took their own 16½-11½ victory at the 2017 Solheim Cup. The Americans will head to Gleneagles as the two-time defending champions, having mounted a furious Singles comeback in Germany in 2015 to take a one-point win.
Back to Bordeaux
The Europeans will be hoping for plenty of reason to celebrate when they return to Golf du Médoc in Bordeaux for the Lacoste Ladies Open de France, played in one of the most famous wine-growing regions in the world. Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall, the star of Europe’s first away victory in the 2013 Solheim Cup in Colorado, came flying through the field last year and will surely be a contender.
Estrella Damm Mediterranean Ladies Open
Golf Club de Terramar in the sea-side town of Sitges, near Barcelona, is another superb spot for celebrating! Will the 2018 champion, Anne Van Dam, return as a Solheim Cup player? After her two victories in Spain, the superb ball-striker is a shoe-in for the European team.
More heroism in India
The LET will return to DLF Golf & Country Club on October 10-13, where Welshwoman Becky Morgan will defend the title. This will be the ninth year of the LET sanctioning the tournament, which has made a huge contribution to the development of women’s professional golf in India.
Return to the Costa del Sol
For the second straight year, the LET season will conclude with the Andalucía Costa del Sol Open de España, which returns to Aloha Golf Club on 28 November to 1 December. However, there is plenty to look forward to over the next action-packed 12 months and it all starts in Abu Dhabi next week. The countdown begins now…