Solheim Cup winner Cristie Kerr from the United States and four members of the European team have made the short trip from Germany to play in the Lacoste Ladies Open de France, starting on Thursday at Golf de Chantaco in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, Aquitaine.
The defending champion Azahara Muñoz is joined by her Spanish Solheim Cup partner Carlota Ciganda and fellow team mates Charley Hull from England and Gwladys Nocera, who will be teeing up on home soil.
Winner of the last two editions at Chantaco, Muñoz will be looking to win for the third year in succession. Only Frenchwoman Marie-Laure de Lorenzi and England’s Trish Johnson have won the title three times, although not consecutively. The world’s number 26, Muñoz will be among the favourites for the title, as will the in-form Ciganda.
The 14-time Ladies European Tour champion Nocera, who won the Lalla Meryem Cup in March, will be among the 19 French players competing for their national title, while Hull will be looking to claim her second victory having won in Morocco last year.
Lacoste ambassador Kerr will make her tournament debut in the 25th staging of the Lacoste Ladies Open de France and the former world number one is expected to pose a formidable challenge. The 37-year-old has earned 17 tournament victories including two majors: the 2007 US Women’s Open and the 2010 LPGA Championship. She is also the highest ranked player in the field at 15th in the world.
In addition to the stars of The Solheim Cup, the field of 78 players features four other Ladies European Tour winners in 2015: Beth Allen of the United States (ISPS Handa Ladies European Masters), Australian Rebecca Artis (Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open), England’s Hannah Burke (Tipsport Golf Masters) and Nicole Broch Larsen of Denmark (Helsingborg Open), who tied for 11th place at the Evian Championship a fortnight ago, which was the best performance from a European player in the final Major of the season.
Australian Stacey Keating, winner of the event when it was first played at Chantaco in 2012 and three-time French Open winner Trish Johnson will be looking for repeat success in the Lacoste Ladies Open de France, while the talented young Danish duo Nanna Koerstz Madsen and Emily Kristine Pedersen, who tied for 25th in the Evian Championship, will continue their rivalry in the race to be crowned Rookie of the Year.
– but the sailors praise the new boats