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Notes and news from the Evian Tour

Head wins a new kitchen in Morocco

England’s Johanna Head notched her first victory in three years at the Princess Lalla Meriem Cup played over the red course at Dar es Salam GC outside Rabat.

The 29-year-old from Ascot, whose only professional victory came at the 1999 Malaysian Open, carded rounds of 75, 68 and 69 to close on seven under par, five shots clear of her nearest challenger, former Curtis Cup player Rebecca Hudson who carded a final round 72 in her first professional event.

Despite opening with a two over par 75, Head responded with an impressive five under par 68 on Saturday to lead by two shots from Hudson and German rookie Martina Eberl.

And in the final round, Head, using her partner Terry Munday to caddie, used all of her Tour experience and patience to shake off the two rookies, rattling off three birdies in four holes from the 11th to reach six under. Her final birdie was the pick of the bunch, a nine wood to 12 feet at the long par three 17th.

“It feels great,” said Head, who won $11,000 and a jewelled bracelet worth $20,000.

“Now we can afford to have our new kitchen done, we’ve been thinking about it for a few months and the only way we could get it was to win here.”

Silvia Cavalleri from Italy tied for third place with Solheim Cup star Karine Icher. Eberl closed in fifth place and Sweden’s Maria Hjorth tied for sixth with Johanna’s twin sister Samantha Head, who won the Tour school on the Japanese LPGA Tour last week.

News and Notes:

Carriedo and Marti receive Royal awards

Paula Marti and Raquel Carriedo, Ladies European Tour number one players for 2002 and 2001 respectively, have been awarded the Spanish Royal Order of Merit for Sports in the bronze category – the equivalent to a British MBE.

The Spanish pair were nominated for their services to golf and for putting Spanish women’s golf back on the map having won six events between them over the last two seasons and representing Europe in The Solheim Cup.

Both players can take much of the credit for highlighting Iberian success in women’s golf, with two Tour events in Spain resulting from their success and profile.

Tennis player Arancha Sanchez-Vicario is the only other female sports personality to receive this award.

Marti and Carriedo will be presented with their medals from King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain at the Royal Palace in Madrid on January 5th 2003.

Hudson signs first sponsor with TSB

England’s Rebecca Hudson has secured her first sponsor for her rookie season on the Evian Tour. The 23-year-old from Doncaster, who gained a conditional card for 2003, will represent Lloyds TSB bank and will wear their logo on her shirts and sweaters.

New greens at Barseback

Organisers of The 2003 Solheim Cup at Barseback G&CC are taking no risks with the quality of the putting surfaces for next year’s clash between Europe and the USA.

After the debacle at Loch Lomond in 2000, when the greens had to be painted during the event after the Head green keeper applied too much fertilizer and burned them, The Swedish Golf Federation, the Ladies European Tour and Barseback have opted to remove the existing greens and import new turf from lush mountain slopes in Austria, apparently perfect turf for golf greens.

The greens will be ready in spring for the club members and the Men’s European Tour will be the first to road test them when the Volvo Scandinavian Masters is played six weeks prior to September’s “Ryder Cup with lipstick”.

Tinning receives awards

Denmark’s Iben Tinning received four prestigious nominations in her homeland for her outstanding season on the Evian Tour. The 28-year-old from Copenhagen become the first Danish female professional to win a Tour event anywhere in the world when she lifted the Ladies Irish Open title at Killarney and won the following week at the La Perla Italian Open.

And when she qualified automatically for The Solheim Cup, winning two points at Interlachen, Tinning’s success caught the attention of the sports mad Danish public and has prompted the Danish Golf Union and potential sponsors to re-establish the Women’s Danish Open for the 2003 season.

The bubbly brunette received nominations for Den Gyldne Golfbold (The Golden Golf ball), Årets Sportsnavn (Best Sports performance of the year), the Hans Just Prisen and the Årets Fund (Best new talent) which will be shown on DR1 National TV on December 28.

Icher splits from caddie

Karine Icher from France will begin the 2003 Evian Tour season without her long time caddie Jean-Michelle Neuville, one of the most animated bagmen on the Tour.

In a highly successful partnership, the 23-year-old from Châteauroux won the 2001 Tour school, the 2001 Mexx Sport Open and 2002 Spanish Open titles and represented Europe at The 2002 Solheim Cup with Neuville on the bag.

But with Neuville’s wife having their second child in the autumn, the gregarious Frenchman wanted to spend more time with his family. And with Icher failing in her bid to play on the LPGA full time, the pair separated on good terms. Icher will start next season with her boyfriend Frederik Bonnargent on the bag when the Tour begins at the ANZ Masters on Australia’s Gold Coast.

Rebecca Hood-son

Having a nickname on Tour is a rite of passage for all players and England’s Rebecca Hudson is no exception when she was christened with a new moniker at the Hassan II Trophy in Morocco, her first event as a professional.

Arrow straight hitting with both her woods and irons prompted one golf journalist to label her “Rebecca Hood”, the female equivalent to the most famous of archers, Robin.

“Well, I suppose it’s better than Little Red Riding Hood,” laughed Hudson.

Ellen Smets voted Belgian Player of the Year

Ellen Smets, the 26 year Belgian professional who captured her first ever
card for the 2003Evian Tour after finishing 13th at the Qualifying School in
Grenoble, has been voted Belgian Ladies Golfer of the Year at the Minolta
Golf Awards Gala evening in the Château du Lac Hotel in Genval.
Smets amassed 164 points in the voting system and won by a large margin
beating promising Belgian junior Justine Barbier by 42 points. Lara Tadiotto
and Valerie Van Ryckeghem, who have been struggling on the Evian Tour last
season finishing 67th and 76th in the rankings, were 3rd and 4th with 80 and
71 points respectively. The jury consisted of 400 Belgian PGA Professionals, Presidents of
Belgian Golf Clubs and the Belgian golf media.
It was a glorious day for Ellen Smets who also got voted PGA Trainee of the
Year.

"This is a great boost towards next season", Smets said. "The response
has been terrific. The publicity I had on the Belgian television and radio
and press will definitely help me to make my budget. My target for 2003 is
well defined: I want to play all the events on the Evian Tour, I want to
finish in the top-90 at the end of the season and I want to have one very
good tournament result. I do not want all this just for myself, but I want
it also to show that this Award of Golfer of the Year was no fluke."
The Belgian Golfer of the Year (men) was won by Nicolas Vanhootegem. Belgian
top mental coach Jos Vanstiphout got the Personality of the Year Award.

 

 

 

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