|The 2012 champion Anne-Lise Caudal and Cheyenne Woods with the tournament mascot 'Birdie' at a press conference on Tuesday
This week’s defending champion, Anne-Lise Caudal from France, believes that the UniCredit Ladies German Open presented by Audi is the best tournament on the Ladies European Tour schedule.
“At this tournament, we have big crowds, prize money, the gift from Audi, so it’s the biggest tournament in Europe that we play,” she told media at Golfpark Gut Häusern near Munich on Tuesday.
Caudal defeated Laura Davies with a birdie on the second extra hole in a sudden-death play-off at the venue last year.
Although the course was bathed in sunshine on Tuesday, it is recovering from heavy rain at the weekend and Caudal said: “The course is playing a bit longer because it’s a little bit wet.”
The Ladies European Tour has returned to the venue for the sixth staging of the tournament, taking place from Thursday, 30th May to Sunday, 2nd June.
A field of 126 players is teeing up in the 350,000 euro event and the winner will earn 52,500 euro, along with an Audi Q5, worth around 50,000 euro. Once again, a fabulous Audi R8 Spyder is the hole-in-one prize on hole 15 is worth nearly 160,000 euro.
Tournament President, Jürgen Danzmayr, a member of the Management Board of UniCredit Bank AG, commented: "The success story of the UniCredit ladies German open presented by Audi will continue this year with another celebration!”
Tournament Director Gabriele Volz from UniCredit concurred: “We and all our partners have always believed that we can achieve something big.”
The impressive number of spectators is an incentive for the players. Last year a total of 36,500 fans lined the fairways and followed their favourite competitors.
The tournament programme includes a Bavarian welcome evening and a players’ night in downtown Munich which gives the tournament a unique atmosphere.
The event always attracts a high quality field of competitors as mentioned by DGS tournament director Nikolaus Peltzer, who said: "Michelle Wie came to Gut Hausern in 2008 and we’ve welcomed Laura Davies, Helen Alfredsson, Sophie Gustafson, Lexi Thompson and now Cheyenne Woods this year, to name a few players, not forgetting the top German players such as Sandra Gal, Martina Eberl, Caroline Masson and Anja Monke.”
Over the last five years, there have been as many different champions with Amy Yang, Jade Schaeffer, Laura Davies, Diana Luna and Anne-Lise Caudal respectively. Schaeffer, Davies, Caudal and Luna, who played four rounds of the event without a bogey in 2011, have returned in an attempt to win for a second time.
While there hasn’t yet been a German winner, Martina Eberl-Ellis tied for third in 2009 and Caroline Masson was fourth in 2011. Hopes hang on Masson’s shoulders after a solid start to the year.
She will be joined by German national team members Isabell Gabsa and Ann-Kathrin Lindner, as well as Nina Holleder and Leigh Whittaker from The 2015 Solheim Cup venue St Leon-Rot, among others.
There are only five events remaining before the deadline for The 2013 Solheim Cup team qualifying with the chance for players to improve their positions on the standings ahead of the announcement on 4th August at the Ricoh Women’s British Open.
A European winner can earn 40 Solheim Cup points, with 24 points for a second position. Last week’s runner-up in Holland, Charley Hull, is 22.41 points behind fourth ranked Caroline Masson of Germany. Another second place would lift Charley into fourth position and into the qualifying spots, if Masson finishes outside the top 10 this week.