|This year, the 2010 winner Laura Davies is targeting her second NZ Women’s Open crown as well as the Ricoh Women´s British Open and continuing her outstanding record as the only player to have competed at every Solheim Cup since 1990 by qualifying for the 2013 European Team.
British golf legend Laura Davies has no plans to retire anytime soon.
The 49-year-old, who has won 82 titles worldwide, is one of the four previous champions returning to compete in the ISPS Handa NZ Women’s Open hosted by Christchurch at the Clearwater Golf Club from February 8 – 10.
The 2010 champion believes she has many more good competitive years ahead of her as she eyes another year on the LPGA Tour and Ladies European Tours – she has won the LET order of merit a record seven times.
“I don’t have any thoughts of retiring at all,” said the four-time major champion.
“I am still feeling good and I am still competitive. I love playing golf so no, I have no thoughts of stopping anytime soon.
“There are always lots more to achieve and I am not one to sit back and reflect. I want to achieve more. I want to win the Nabisco Championship (major). I still haven’t won that trophy so that is high on the agenda.
“I still want to win the British Open. There are always lots to do and still achieve. I want to win the New Zealand Open again too. Every time you turn up to play an event you have to be there to play your best and to win otherwise there is no point really.”
Davies, who many believe is one major title or two LPGA titles away from being inducted into the World of Golf Hall of Fame, claimed the title at Pegasus three years ago when she held off Australian Sarah Kemp down the stretch.
“I have nothing but great memories from 2010. I had a really good battle with Sarah Kemp and had to play really well to win. The wind was blowing and the course was playing tough.
“I remember I was hitting the ball very well. It was a good victory and it is always good to come Down Under and get some points early in the season. That is what I will be doing.”
The change of venue poses Davies a few problems. She openly admitted in 2009 when the Clearwater Golf Club staged the inaugural championship that the course did not suit her eye.
“Clearwater doesn’t really suit my eye but what can you do? I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed when I heard that it was moving from Pegasus because I enjoyed the test there and I felt it suited the longer hitters better than the course at Clearwater.
“But it is the same as any tournament you have to adapt and adjust. I will get there and have a good look at the course and form a game plan that is going to work and I am definitely hoping for a better week than when we played there for the first New Zealand Open.”
Davies has a record that suggests she is pretty good at adapting and adjusting quickly to courses that don’t suit her eye. She is looking for a fast start to 2013 to press her claims for a place in Europe’s Solheim Cup team – the women’s equivalent to the Ryder Cup.
“The Solheim Cup is always one of my goals. I haven’t missed one yet and I am very keen to be part of the European team this year.
“I am not there yet I am in ninth position on the order of merit and I have some work to do. No one wants to rely on a captain’s pick to make the team. That is another reason I am coming down to New Zealand really. I want to get some early momentum in the season like I did in 2010 and if I can replicate that it will be a pretty good year.”
The avid fan of Liverpool Football Club is also looking forward to seeing the recovery of the Garden City. When she won in 2010 the city of Christchurch was in perfect condition.
Later that year it suffered an earthquake in September and then in February 2011, the day after the NZ Women’s Open, the city was rocked by an earthquake that left the city in ruins.
“I have really enjoyed staying in the city and going to the bars but I don’t think that will be happening this year which is a shame. I think we are staying further out so it is a good chance to see another part of Christchurch and I look forward to that.
“It is a beautiful city and the people have always been very supportive of me when I play there. I have nothing but good memories of coming to New Zealand. It is going to be another special week and it is great to see this event going from strength to strength to strength because we love coming down. “
The ISPS Handa NZ Women's Open hosted by Christchurch has attracted a world-class field including the previous four champions of the event and World No.1 amateur Lydia Ko.
Also in the field for the championship from February 8 – 10 at the Clearwater Golf Club are former major champions Anna Nordqvist and Sophie Gustafson (both of Sweden).
World No.16 Angela Stanford and Cheyenne Woods, the niece of Tiger Woods, are other notable players in a field that will include 32 LPGA Tour Players. The all-star cast will also include European No. 1 Carlota Ciganda. It is the strongest field ever assembled for the NZ Women’s Open.
“The quality of the field is great for the spectators and also for the sponsors it just makes the NZ Women’s Open a really special event. Having world class players and major winners in the field is brilliant and the fans in NZ are in for a good week. I would love to add my name to that trophy for a second time.”
Tickets are available at the gate.