Leading European Tour stars confirmed for RACV Gold Coast Challenge
Less than a month out, tournament organisers of the RACV Gold Coast Challenge have received a huge boost with Ladies European Tour stars Aditi Ashok and Florentyna Parker confirming their entry into the tournament.
Eighteen-year-old Ashok is coming off a superb rookie season on the Ladies European Tour in 2016, which saw her win two tournaments (Hero Women’s Indian Open and the Qatar Ladies Open), represent India at the Rio Olympic Games, capture the LET Rookie of the year award and finish 2nd on the LET Order of Merit. Ashok finished off her superb season at USLPGA qualifying school, finishing in 24th place and securing a conditional card for the 2017 LPGA Tour.
For those who had been following the teen sensation from Bangalore as an amateur her success in the professional ranks in 2016 had come as no surprise. From the moment the youngster won the 2013 Asia Pacific Junior Championship as a 14 year old she was on the golfing radar, progressing through the amateur ranks to represent India at the Espirito Santo Trophy in 2012 and 2014, before her final year as an amateur in 2015 which saw her capture the prestigious St Rule Trophy at St Andrews, the Southern India Ladies & Junior Girls Championship, the Ladies' British Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship and the Thailand Amateur Championship.
Ashok turned professional in late 2015, and made history be becoming the youngest and first Indian to win the LET Lalla Aicha Tour School and therefore secure her Ladies European Tour card for the 2016 season. This win also made her the youngest winner of a Qualifying School for any international tour.
The talented youngster made her professional debut here in Australia at the 2016 Oates Victorian Open.
Englishwoman Florentyna Parker is also coming off a stellar 2016 season on the Ladies European Tour. The 27-year-old, who was born in Germany to English parents finished 3rd on the LET Order of Merit in 2016 and has been a model of consistency throughout her 8-year career on the Ladies European Tour.
She finished second in the LET ‘Rookie of the Year’ race in 2009, with her maiden win coming the following season at the ABN AMRO Dutch Open. The next 3 seasons saw the Englishwoman record twenty top 20 finishes, before her second LET victory finally came at the Italian Ladies Open in Perugia in 2014. Parker secured the win with an ‘albatross’ during her final round, the first ever to be recorded in Ladies European Tour history.
While Parker was disappointed not to add another victory to her resume in 2016, her consistency once again shone through as she bagged 8 top 10 finishes. She finished 2nd at both the Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco in May and the Lacoste Ladies French Open in September and finished the season in style with a 3rd place finish at the Dubai Ladies Masters.
Parker has shown a liking for RACV Royal Pines in the past, finishing 2nd in 2015 and then T12th in 2016 on the redesigned Graham Marsh layout.
Ashok and Parker will join a high-quality field in 2017, already confirmed are former world number one's Jiyai Shin and Laura Davies, along with Aussie stars Katherine Kirk, Sarah-Jane Smith, Rebecca Artis, Sarah Kemp and Stacey Keating.
For more information go to https://alpg.com.au/gcc
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