Access Series ready for grand finale in Valencia

  Pamela Pretswell misses final event due to illness           Photo: João Moniz

It’s ‘make or break’ time on the Ladies European Tour Access Series this week as the season reaches its climax at the Banesto Tour Valencia in Spain, where 84 players will be gunning for glory.

There will be numerous battles within the €20,000, 54-hole stroke play tournament, running from November 8-10. At the end of the week, the top three players on the 2012 LETAS Ranking will earn a Ladies European Tour card for next season.

At present, Scotland’s Pamela Pretswell, Marion Ricordeau of France and Norway’s Cecilie Lundgreen are in the top three spots and it is unlikely that Pretswell and Ricordeau can be caught. However, eight players are capable of toppling Lundgreen: Scotland’s Katy McNicoll is only 186.85 points behind the Norwegian and 5,000 points are available for the winner.

McNicoll is followed by fifth ranked Antonella Cvitan, sixth ranked Anastasia Kostina, seventh ranked Julie Tvede and Viva Schlasberg in eighth place.

Players in fourth to 15th positions on the Final 2012 Ranking will have the opportunity to progress to the final stage of LET Lalla Aicha Tour School, thereby skipping the first stage and so there will be a fight to the finish between the likes of ninth ranked Sohvi Harkonen, Pamela Feggans, Tamara Johns, Caroline Afonso, Ana Larraneta, Danielle McVeigh and Benedicte Toumpsin.

Second placed Ricordeau can still win the Order of Merit as Pretswell is missing the final event due to illness.

Pretswell, a member of Great Britain and Ireland’s winning Curtis Cup team at Nairn, claimed a two stroke victory at the Ljungbyhed Park PGA Ladies Open in Sweden in May, becoming the first amateur to win an event on the Ladies European Tour Access Series since the tour was launched in 2010.

The Ladies Norwegian Challenge at Hauger Golf Club was her first event as a professional and she said that she had gained a tremendous amount of experience from playing alongside the other professionals on the Access Series.

Pretswell moved ahead of Ricordeau on the order of merit after the Frenchwoman skipped the Azores Ladies Open to play in the Lacoste Ladies Open de France on the Ladies European Tour the same week. Ricordeau won the Terre Blanche Ladies Open in March and has only played in 11 events against Pretswell’s 12.

Ricordeau will be concentrating on earning a second victory this season at Golf Club Escorpion and also bidding to top the LETAS Order of Merit, but will face a stiff challenge with eight of this year’s LETAS champions competing. 

Austrian professional Christine Wolf will be full of confidence following her recent victory in Crete while Anna Rossi and Marjet van der Graaff join the list of this year’s champions in the field.

Curtis Cup players Kelly Tidy and Holly Clyburn have received invitations to play in the event along with fellow Englishwoman Charlotte Wild and will be warming up for next month’s LET Tour School in Morocco.

There is a large contingent of 23 Spanish players who will be doing all they can to challenge for the title, with former Solheim Cup player Ana Belen Sanchez among them.

Considering the gap between Pretswell and Ricordeau is a mere 2,005 points, there is definitely all still to play for.