|LET stand-out Stacey Keating of Australia, ranked 6th on the 2012 ISPS Handa Order of Merit after securing her first two victories, in Tenerife and France.
The 2013 Ladies European Tour tees off in three weeks with the Volvik RACV Ladies Masters at RACV Royal Pines Resort in Queensland, Australia, from February 1-3.
However, record numbers of international players are set to warm up at the first three events on the ALPG Tour’s 2013 Club Car Series starting next week.
The inaugural The Vintage Pro-Am will launch the 2013 ALPG season on 14-15 January when a field of 64 professionals will compete for $30,000 prize money. The star-studded field includes leading Australians Stacey Keating, Sarah Kemp, Kristie Smith, Sarah-Jane Smith and Julia Boland. Meanwhile the event will be the first home tour professional event for Ladies European Tour rookies Whitney Hillier and Breanna Elliott who recently turned professional after representing Australia at the 2012 World Cup.
Adding international star flavour to the Hunter Valley event is English legend Laura Davies, the 80-time tournament winner who has committed to play in every event on the 2013 ALPG schedule. Davies will join a host of new ALPG International Members including American Esther Choe who topped the money list on the 2012 Symetra Tour (development tour for the LPGA).
Players then move to the Macarthur region, south west of Sydney, for another first time event on the ALPG Tour schedule when the Ingham Antill Park Ladies Pro-Am will be played on Thursday 17 January. Joining an already strong contingent of 72 players will be Swede Caroline Hedwall, the Ladies European Tour’s 2011 Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year. Hedwall made headlines in 2011 when she birdied the final hole of the Bing Lee Samsung Women’s New South Wales Open to snatch victory from the then 13-year-old Kiwi amateur star, Lydia Ko. Hedwall went on to add four European Tour titles in 2011. In 2012 she returned from two months out through injury to successfully defend her Austrian Open title.
Other players who join the Tour at Antill Park and are expected to feature on leader boards include Norway’s Marianne Skarpnord, Americans Lacey Agnew and Beth Allen, and Australian star, Karen Lunn.
The Mount Broughton Classic will complete a busy week of play when the 36-hole event is played in the southern highlands on the weekend of 19-20 January. Another $30,000 is up for grabs with a 72 strong field competing for their share of the money along with valuable Club Car Series points.
The 2013 Club Car Series offers a fifteen thousand-bonus pool to the leading six players at the end of the series, which concludes at the Women’s Victorian Open to be played at 13th Beach Golf Links from 21-24 February, after the Volvik RACV Ladies Masters, ISPS Handa New Zealand Women’s Open and ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, from February 14-17.