The LET will count 21 Spanish members amongst its membership in 2018 and half of those players qualified through Lalla Aicha Tour School.
There are five new members from Spain who will be looking to make a name for themselves in the season ahead and they are Piti Martinez Bernal, Eun Jung Ji Kim (known as Jeny Ji), Camilla Hedberg, Natasha Fear and Gemma Fuster Anglada.
Spain is the perfect country for golf and the young players have all been inspired by watching or playing in the Estrella Damm Mediterranean Ladies Open in Sitges and the Andalucía Costa del Sol Open de España Femenino in Malaga, which were organised by Alicia and Iñigo Garrido through their events company Deporte and Business, with the assistance of new LET Board member Marta Figueras Dotti, in 2017.
Carmen Alonso, who tied for second at Lalla Aicha Tour School, said: “It’s great to have more Spanish players on the tour. We practice together and are happy for each other.”
There is no doubt that there is an exceptionally strong spirit amongst the Spanish players. Jeny Ji, (below), who was born in South Korea but raised in Gran Canaria, learning her golf at El Cortijo Golf Club, was amongst the players who attended the LET’s Rookie Orientation at La Sella Golf Resort in Alicante.
She said: “It’s awesome to have more Spanish players on Tour, because it’s good to have more people that you know around you. There’s more of a connection and the Spanish girls are really united and have a lot of good vibes around them. There are quite a few tournaments in Spain now, so they can invite you to play to develop your game before you even become a Tour professional.”
Gemma Fuster Anglada, (below), from Barcelona, received an invitation to play in the 2017 Estrella Damm Mediterranean Ladies Open and made the cut, which encouraged her to pursue her ambitions.
She said: “Last year I made the cut in Sitges and it was a really great experience, so I was so excited. I hope to play in some tournaments this year on the LET in addition to playing on the LET Access Series.”
Natasha Fear, (main photo, top of page) from La Sella Golf Resort in Dénia, Alicante, turned professional in November 2016 and spent a year on the LET Access Series before attending LET Lalla Aicha Tour School. She cannot wait to play in her first LET event.
“It’s good to have more tournaments in your own country and especially for young players who will see those on TV and I think it’s great that we have more Spanish players on the tour, because we are all such close friends, so it’s nice to have friends around when you get started,” she said, adding that she had been inspired by Severiano Ballesteros, who was a good friend of her coach, Jose María Carriles.
The LET has a strong history in Spain and its first tournament played outside the British Isles was the 1982 Spanish Open at Sotogrande, won by US legend Rosie Jones. Indeed, the first Spanish winner on the Tour was Marta Figueras-Dotti, who won the Women’s British Open at Royal Birkdale as an amateur the same year.
Since then there has been a roll call of great winners including Tania Abitbol, Xonia Wunsch, Amaia Arruti, Marina Arruti, Raquel Carriedo, Paula Martí, Ana Belen Sanchez, Tania Elosegui, Beatriz Recari, Azahara Muñoz, Maria Hernandez, Carlota Ciganda, Nuria Iturrios and now, there is the scintillating prospect of a new generation of champions.
In addition to those names mentioned above, the Spanish members of the LET in 2018 include Marta Sanz Barrio, Luna Sobron, Belen Mozo, Silvia Banon, Mireia Prat, Elia Folch, Noemi Jimenez Martin and Maria Beautell.