The LET’s Rolex Rookie of the Year race is still wide open with four events remaining on the 2013 calendar. It looks like it’s coming down to England’s Holly Clyburn vs. Charley Hull who lead the rankings by a fairly large margin. Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn is out with a shoulder injury, but it’s all to play for as fourth placed Germany’s Ann-Kathrin Lindner is €37,500 behind second ranked Hull.
So far this year, there have been five first-time winners on the LET as follows:
Lydia Ko (and youngest winner aged 15) ISPS Handa New Zealand Women’s Open
Ariya Jutanugarn Lalla Meryem Cup
Holly Clyburn Deloitte Ladies Open
Ann-Kathrin Lindner HONMA Pilsen Golf Masters
Rebecca Artis The Helsingborg Open
So will the Sanya Ladies Open produce another first time LET tournament champion this week?
Australian Nikki Campbell and Chinese pair Xi Yu Lin and Jia Yun Li have chances.
The LET spoke to leading rookie Holly Clyburn ahead of the Sanya Ladies Open this week.
Holly, is this your first time in China?
No, it’s my second time in China, but my first time in Sanya. My first visit was to Shenzhen in 2010 with the Faldo Series.
What do you think of Sanya?
It’s nice. It’s like a tropical island. The beach is nice and the golf course is nice. The weather is a bit sticky but it’s a nice play and I’ve really enjoyed my stay up to now.
You are in your rookie season. What are your goals this year?
At the beginning of the year it was just to retain my card and do good in events but now it’s changed because I’ve had such a fantastic year and having a win in May helped me. My expectations have changed slightly and I’m leading the rookie of the year so I’d like to finish that off. That’s my target for the next four tournaments really.
What are your expectations for the Sanya Ladies Open?
I’m coming into this tournament quite fresh because I’ve had three weeks off so I’m very excited to get back out into tournament mode. I’m fresh and I’m fit so I’m excited to see what my game is like after three weeks because it feels great. The first three days I’ve been out here have been nice and the golf game is coming on slowly.
How have you prepared?
It’s been nice to be back and home and do normal things and see family and friends and then start off with the golf game practice again in cold England. I like to go to the gym and I watch my sister play netball a lot. I play a lot of tennis with her as well. I do a lot of activities outside of golf.
What do you think about Yalong Bay Golf Course?
It’s attackable in areas and there are plenty of birdie opportunities out there this week. It’s playing a length where you can hit driver everywhere and make birdies from pitching in from short distance. I’m liking it. I played the back nine this morning and played it attackable and it’s nice. I’m just excited to get out there tomorrow morning now.
The grain is okay because you can see that. The greens are not very fast, they are pretty slow and on the front nine there is a lot of sand on them so it’s very hard to putt on sand. You don’t know how the ball is going to react so you’ve got to be patient on the greens and take the good with the bad.
Do you have a goal or a position in mind this week?
I take every day as it comes. I see each week that I’m a contender and I proved that when I won in May but I take every day as it comes. After two days if I’m in contention I see if I can close it out but if not then I fight to the end and see where I can finish in the tournament.
What about your caddie?
I’ve got Olly on the bag this week who normally caddies for Melissa Reid so it’s nice to have someone to talk to out there who has a good knowledge of golf is good at his job and works hard. You’re away from home for a couple of weeks so it’s nice to have someone that you know who you can talk to when you’re on the road.