Olympic hopeful Chloé Leurquin will fly the Belgian flag with pride when she tees up at Royal Waterloo Golf Club looking for a dream home victory in the Citizenguard LETAS Trophy, on July 14-16.
Leurquin, who has been a member of the club for 12 years, since the age of 14, is thrilled to have the opportunity to play in front of her home gallery. She said: “I’m excited to play at my home course as I only live two minutes away and it will be really nice to sleep in my own bed.”
The Ladies European Tour (LET) Access Series will pay its first visit to Royal Waterloo, which hosted the Belgian Ladies Open on the LET from 1985-1987, won by golfing legends Laura Davies, Penny Grice-Whittaker and Marie-Laure de Lorenzi. The stunning La Marache Course, where the Challenge Tour’s Telenet Trophy has been played four times, in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013, won by Nicolas Vanhootegem, François Calmels, Andrew Tampion and Daniel Gaunt respectively, will host the international field of competitors from the LET Access Series.
“La Marache is a really good championship course; the greens are very tricky and I think they will play fast. It’s a parkland course with a mixture of narrow and open parts and the rough is likely to be quite long. I think I have a chance to win but I’ll have to play well. There are a lot of good players and hopefully it will be a great week for me. I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself but I’ll do my best,” she said.
Leurquin, who won the final event of the 2013 LET Access Series, the Mineks Ladies Classic in Turkey, to graduate to the LET in 2014, enters her home tournament in a rich vein of form. She is currently 28th on the LET Order of Merit after recording her career best finish of eighth at the recent Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco, which means that she has already qualified for the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open at Dundonald Links and Ricoh Women’s British Open at Woburn.
Ranked 54th on the Women’s Olympic Golf Ranking, from which the top 60 players qualify to play in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in August, Leurquin's qualification on July 11 is perfectly timed for her to celebrate with her home supporters at the Citizenguard LETAS Trophy.
It will be a doubly special return to Rio for Leurquin, who was born in the city when her father was working there as a consultant.
“It’s going to be special because I will turn 26 during the Olympics and it’s going to be my birthday on 9th August,” said Leurquin, who plans to attend both the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. “I think it’s so special to be at the Olympics that I want to do everything. Golf is back in the Olympic Games and it’s going to be special with all the sports together. It’s going to be a great experience and a great event.”
She believes that golf is growing in popularity in Belgium thanks to the success of stars including Nicolas Colsaerts, who also plays at Royal Waterloo and Thomas Pieters from Antwerp, who have both qualified for the Men’s Olympic Golf Competition.
She concluded: “I really feel that more people are interested in golf because more general interest magazines and newspapers are asking for interviews with me, Nicholas (Colsaerts) and Thomas (Pieters). Now we have role models and we didn’t have that 10 years ago, so now it’s getting more and more popular. I think it’s great that golf is in the Olympics because it shows that it’s a real sport.”
Leurquin is one of the new generation of fresh, approachable and inspiring players who is ready to connect with billions of potential new fans when golf is played as an Olympic sport.