Home hope Ursula Wikstrom is excited at the prospect of capturing The Women’s Bank Open by Catmandoo hosted by HLR Golf Academy when the event debuts on the LET Access Series this week.
Wikstrom has traditionally played extremely well on home soil in the Finnair Masters, finishing second in the 2008 event behind fellow Finn Minea Blomqvist at Helsinki Golf Club, where she also tied for second in 2005.
She will be looking to go one place better when she tees up at Hill Side Golf Club, half an hour from the capital, from August 9-11 this week.
The tournament will combine competitive golf with fundraising and will form part of a charity campaign run by the Finnish Golf Union and the Women’s Bank Charity, which was launched four years ago to create jobs and support for women in developing countries.
The main sponsor of the event, HLR Golf Academy, is run by former LET player Hanna-Leena Ronkainen, who played on Tour under her maiden name of Salonen.
Wikstrom, 32, from Vantaa, said it would be exciting to work with the Women’s Bank Charity: a charitable fund that uses its donations to enhance women’s rights, skills and livelihoods.
“The tournament is linking with a charity called Women’s Bank so I think it is nice be a part of that and of course it is always nice play at home,” Wikstrom said. “The course is less than hour away from my home, so I can stay at home. My dad is coming to caddie and mum is coming to look after my son, Erni. I have never played the course before, so I will see it on Tuesday or in the Pro-Am.”
The professionals in the field of 104 players representing 20 different countries will be competing for a prize fund of 30,000 euros.
However, there are 35 amateurs in the field including 30 host tour amateurs from Finland, China’s Xin Ying Wan, American Anna Christina Kindgren, Swede Daniela Holmqvist and German pair Ann-Kathrin Lindner and Nina Holleder.
Ladies European Tour professional golfers Bree Arthur of Australia and Jenni Kuosa of Finland will be teeing up along with four of this year’s event champions: Frenchwoman Marion Ricordeau, who won the Terre Blanche Ladies Open in France; Norwegian Cecilie Lundgreen, who won the Kristianstad Ahus Ladies Open in Sweden; Scotland’s Pamela Pretswell, who won the Ljungbyhed Park PGA Ladies Open in Sweden and Russian Anastasia Kostina, who won the Golfstream Ladies Open in Ukraine.