Top ladies event coming to Stoke-by-Nayland

GIRL POWER: Female golfing stars such as Caroline Martens are set to show off their skills at Stoke's pictured iconic 18th hole
GIRL POWER: Female golfing stars such as Caroline Martens are set to show off their skills at Stoke's pictured iconic 18th hole

Stoke-by-Nayland Golf Club are set to host some of the top emerging female golfers in the world when they stage a new tournament this year.

The WPGA International Challenge will take place across three days in September on the Gainsborough Course and will be the only Ladies European Tour Access Series (LETAS) event to be staged in the UK this year.

LETAS is the feeder tour to the WPGA European Tour, with the top five players at the end of the season earning full-time tour cards at the highest tier.

It comes as the directors of the family-run club on the Essex and Suffolk border have decided to showcase women’s golf, ending their successful three-year run of hosting the PGA European Challenge Tour’s English Challenge event.

Family director Tamara Uwin said: “We are not doing the men’s (event) this year as we feel we can only concentrate on one at a time and we wanted to put our efforts into a new event.

“It is the first time the ladies tour (LETAS) has been held in the UK and it is always nice to be at the forefront of that.

“There will also be a Pro-Am as well and it is quite different for businesses to be able to play with a professional women’s player.”

The 52-hole free-to-watch event will see 120 players — including 20 WPGA members and 20 elite female amateurs, thanks to the England Golf — competing for a share of the €25,000 prize money from September 26-28.

Susanna Rendall, managing director of Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf and Spa, said: “We feel privileged to have been selected as the first venue in the UK to hold this prestigious event and very much look forward to welcoming these talented golfers here from all over the world — and to playing our part in helping to promote women’s international golf.”

Players such as Norway’s Caroline Martens, who was playing on the WPGA European Tour only last year and finished ninth at the Ladies’ British Masters in August, and Devon’s Fern Grimshaw, who won the WPGA Order of Merit in 20111, are set to play in the inaugural event.

Suffolk is set to be represented by former Ladies’ British Open Amateur champion Julie Otto, who was brought up in Felixstowe.

Di Barnard, tour director of the LETAS, said: “We are looking forward to working with the PGA and also the venue, Stoke-by-Nayland Hotel Golf and Spa, which will offer first class facilities for the players.”

Stoke-by-Nayland have invited school groups to their previous showcase tournaments and provided free golf lessons at their driving range, with details ahead of this year’s event yet to be finalised.

For information about golfing events around the tournament, or booking a team in the Pro-Am tournament on Wednesday, September 25, which will be followed by a gala dinner and prize giving, email or call 01206 265815.

n A second-round five-over-par 76 by Stoke-by-Nayland’s Jamie Moul cost him making the cut at the Challenge Tour’s Telenet Trophy in Lasne 
Belgium after Thursday’s 66 had left him two shots off the lead.

The 28-year-old will look to make amends when he tees off in the tour’s next event, the Fred Olsen Challenge de España in La Gomera in the Canary Islands, today.