Australian Stacey Keating returns to Chantaco Golf Club this week, to defend the LACOSTE Ladies Open de France in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, Aquitaine.
An opening round of eight under par 62 helped Keating secure her second straight Ladies European Tour victory 12 months ago. The 27-year-old from Cressy in Victoria completed a fairytale victory with rounds of 71, 69 and 64, two weeks after winning her first title at the Tenerife Ladies Open, when boyfriend Darren Peters was also on the bag.
“Obviously it was a lot of fun for me last year. I had one of my best rounds: 62, and to come from behind and shoot 64 to win is always nice. I also stayed in housing for the week where Darren and I got spoiled which always makes for a great relaxed week,” Keating said.
Keating was handed the trophy by Sophie Lacoste, President of Lacoste SA in the presence of the recent victorious European Ryder Cup Captain José María Olazábal and former women’s world number one Lorena Ochoa, who competed in the tournament, making the win all the more special.
“I thought my day couldn't get any better and I got to meet the European hero!” Keating continued. “It was a great honour to receive the trophy from him and to have pictures with him and Lorena is something I will never forget. I'm obviously looking forward to playing this week where I have so many good memories and would love to be able to put myself in contention, but I’ll just take each round as it comes and enjoy the week!”
Keating, who joined the Ladies European Tour in 2011, enjoyed a stunning 2012 season, claiming two victories on her way to finishing sixth on the ISPS HANDA Order of Merit. Currently ranked 14th on the LET after 12 tournaments played in 2013 Keating has recorded four top ten finishes including a season-best of third at the New Zealand Women’s Open.
On her performance overall, she commented: “I had a good start to the season but have struggled of late I feel with a very scattered season, a lot of breaks, but overall I'm very happy with things and looking forward to the last couple of months of the Tour.”
The LACOSTE Ladies Open de France is the last LET tournament in Europe before the tour moves to Asia and the Middle East to contest the final four events of the season.
Steeped in history, Chantaco will provide the perfect setting for the drama to unfold. Since 1928 many golfers have shared their passion for the game in this historic club set in the heart of the Basque country. The course designed by Harry Colt is a great test for all golfers, requiring accuracy and strategy, and players can enjoy the wonderful parkland environment in the foothills of the Pyrenees.
Keating is a massive fan of the layout and added: “I love the course!! I recall the greens were in great condition last year and a few little hills about, which will keep the caddies on their toes!”
The field of 78 competitors also includes five members of the victorious European Solheim Cup team. French No.1 Karine Icher will be joined by Spanish duo Azahara Muñoz and Carlota Ciganda, English rookie Charley Hull and assistant captain Carin Koch from Sweden. They will be joined by South African Lee-Anne Pace, ranked third on the Order of Merit and local player Anne-Lise Caudal from Saint-Jean-de-Luz, among other notables.
The tournament will be played over four rounds of stroke play from Thursday 26 to Sunday 29 September, with a cut to 50 professionals and ties after two rounds and will be broadcast live on television. In addition to the first prize of €37,500, the winner will earn a Richard Mille – RM 007 watch worth €38,500.