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Golf Australia Express : Issue 5
KILLEEN CASTLE LADIES IRISH OPEN THIS YEAR marks the 15th running of the Ladies Irish Open—an event that’s struggled for a regular fixture on Tour since its inception in 1983. But its chequered past will soon be forgotten as a host of top European and American women golfers set to grace Killeen Castle this week. Attracting the strongest field in its history, the 2011 Irish Open will surely be a fiercely fought contest and far from a regular Tour outing. With Killeen Castle hosting another big event, the Solheim Cup, next month, many of the two teams’ candidates will be on show. Americans such as Kraft Nabisco champion Stacy Lewis, three-time Solheim Cup player Angela Stanford and Irish fan favourite Christina Kim will be there. As expected, a strong European representation will be on show. These include one of the most successful golfers of all time, Laura Davies, who will be joined by her English compatriot, Melissa Reid, recent winner of the Deloitte Dutch Ladies Open. Diana Luna from Italy and Swedish rookie Caroline Hedwall, both having won twice already this season, bring good form into the event. So too does Sweden’s Maria Hjorth who captured the Avnet LPGA Classic, and Germany’s Sandra Gal, winner of the KIA Classic. And let’s not forget Sweden’s Sophie Gustafson who attempts to defend her Ladies Irish Open crown. With all the focus on the Solheim Cup representatives, will the large galleries witness someone new bolt from the pack to be crowned the winner at Killeen Castle. OTG Fine weather and sunshine throughout the day greeted the players for the final round and scoring was expected to be hot. The girls didn’t disappoint. The massive galleries were treated to a terrific display of golf, which started with an impressive 64 from Veronica Zorzi, comprising of 10 birdies and 2 bogeys. The Italian moved to 5-under for the event and tied for 12th place. Soon after, Australia’s Katherine Hull matched Zorzi’s 64, in the process elevating herself to a tie for fifth at 9-under. England’s Melissa Reid shot a 6-under 66 to move into outright fourth. Marianne Skarpnord from Norway and Korean In Kyung Kim tied for second place shooting at 11-under. But in the end it was experienced campaigner Sophie Gustafson [right] who prevailed. Holing a seven-foot downhill victorious putt for a birdie proved Gustafson was ready to take hold of her crown at Killeen Castle. PEEK THE A LADIES IRISH OPEN PREVIEW August 5-7, 2011 Killeen Castle,County Meath, IRE Purse €400,000 Defending Champ: Sophie Gustafson(SWE) THE EVENT