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Golf - 08. May 2008.

LET visits Turkey

(Turkey – Tuesday 6th May 2008) – The Ladies European Tour visits Turkey for the first time in its 30-year history this week for the €250,000 Garanti American Express Turkish Open at National Golf Club in Belek, Antalya.

A field of 126 players will tee up in the 72-hole stroke play event with a cut to the leading 60 players and ties after 36 holes.

England’s Lisa Hall, the ANZ Ladies Masters champion will be among the favourites for the title along with last week’s Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open champion Gwladys Nocera from France and Sweden’s Emma Zackrisson, who claimed the Spanish Open a fortnight ago.

With its tight tree-lined fairways and abundance of water which comes into play on 10 holes, National Golf Club is a resort course which places an emphasis on accuracy and a deft putting stroke. This may suit England’s Rebecca Hudson, who last week was hailed as perhaps “the best putter in the world” by Sky Sport’s expert commentator Mark Roe, due to the yardage of putts that she has made in LET tournaments since the beginning of the season.

However, playing at 6,419 yards, the National is a course which also requires length and solid iron play. Most players have predicted a high winning score this week, particularly if the wind picks up.

“The course is in great condition but it’s very challenging. It’s quite narrow compared to the other two courses we have played so far,” said Zackrisson. “I heard some people said level par could win but I hope someone can shoot a couple of shots under par.”

Maria Boden, who was the runner-up last week in Scotland, added: “I agree. It is challenging and very narrow. It is also pretty long, especially on the back nine. I think whoever stays on the right side of the fairways and hits the greens will win the tournament. It’s going to be fun to play and I’m looking forward to nice weather. I think a few people will be below par but it depends on the weather. It could be around par.”

National Golf Club was designed by David Jones and David Feherty and opened in November 1994. As the first real championship golf course in the Antalya region, which is the main golf tourism area in Turkey, the club has hosted two European Seniors Tour events. The first, in 1996, was won by Bobby Verwey and the second, in 1997, was won by Tommy Horton. The signature hole is the 159 yard par-three second, which is played over a lake to the near-island green.

The inaugural Garanti American Express Turkish Open is the seventh event of 29 on the 2008 LET schedule. Nightly highlights will be broadcast on NTV in Turkey, while viewers in the UK can tune in to watch the event on Golf Night on Sky
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