The Ladies European Tour’s 2019 season tees off today with the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open (FBM Ladies Open) in Abu Dhabi, held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak.
The Ladies European Tour (LET) event returns for a third time to the award-winning Saadiyat Beach Golf Club and will be played from 10 – 13 January 2019.
Kicking off both the 2019 Ladies European Tour (LET) calendar as well as Abu Dhabi’s 2019 golf season, the event also begins a fortnight of thrilling golf action in the emirate, preceding both the fourth hosting of the Gary Player Invitational, set for Sunday 13 January as well as the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA, confirmed for 16 -19 January. Under a new format, the FBM Ladies Open will also be the first Tour-sanctioned, entirely pro-am tournament to be held in the United Arab Emirates.
In its strongest field to-date, defending champion Aditi Ashok will be joined by Beth Allen (USA), who won the inaugural FBM Ladies Open in 2016, British star Charley Hull (England) as well as Becky Brewerton (Wales), Catriona Matthew (Scotland), Becky Morgan (Wales), Anne Van Dam (The Netherlands), Caroline Hedwall (Sweden), Astrid Vayson De Pradenne (France), Jenny Haglund (Sweden), Meghan MacLaren (England), Camille Chevalier (France) and Florentyna Parker (England). Solheim Cup team members Jodi Ewart Shadoff (England) and Emily Kristine Pedersen (Denmark) are also on the list to tee off in Abu Dhabi.
Ashok, who arrived in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday evening from India, won her third title at the venue just over a year ago. She said: “It feels great to be back. I’ve had three wins on the Ladies European Tour but this is only the second time I’m defending. I’m actually looking forward to the experience and it’s great being back at Saadiyat. I really like this golf course.
“I think it looks like a course where you can score but it does have some demanding approach shots and it’s more than meets the eye. When you first see it, you think there’s nothing to it, but then you realise you’ve got to be sharp with your iron game and precise to not drop shots. That’s what I like about it.”
His Excellency Aref Hamad Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council said: “The Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open continues Abu Dhabi’s rich tradition of not only hosting world-class sporting events but also of providing a global stage to talented female athletes.”
“We, at the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, believe strongly in the power of sports to foster collaboration, leadership and confidence and the FBM Ladies Open is an exemplary showcase of talent, fortitude and teamwork.”
Under the new format, 56 professional golfers will join forces with 56 amateurs to form team pairings. While all teams will compete on day one and day two of the tournament, day three will see only the top 15 teams advance for their chance to secure a podium finish. The top LET Professionals will still battle it out for the FBM Ladies Open individual title, which was won by American golfer, Beth Allen in 2016 and India’s star player, Aditi Ashok in 2017.
Along with on course action, the event will also salute the skill and spirit of the UAE Special Olympics Golf Team with a golf clinic, led by a selection of top LET Professionals to enable UAE’s ‘determined ones’ to sharpen their skills and discuss tactics and strategy with the world’s leading golfers. The female pro golfers are also scheduled to come together to coach young UAE-based girl and young women golfers as part of its #ThisGirlGolfsUAE activation, that seeks to encourage the sport amongst girls in the emirate and beyond.
“I am really looking forward to playing in Abu Dhabi on such a beautiful golf course, as well as in an exciting new event format,” said British star Charley Hull, who is set to make her Abu Dhabi debut at the tournament.
“It’s a big year for us with the Solheim Cup taking place in September at Gleneagles, so I want to get a strong start to the new season on the Ladies European Tour and this is the ideal opportunity.”
“Also, as someone who has always encouraged more young girls to play golf, I am excited to be part of a tournament that has championed the sport passionately in this region both amongst young female golfers and older athletes.”
The Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open is organised by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy. The 2019 edition of the event has been sponsored by Aldar, Abu Dhabi Ports, Al Masaood and Jumeirah. Spectators can catch the action for free, 10th-12th January at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club on tournament days.
For further details on the FBM Ladies Open, visit www.fbmladiesopen.com.
Full list of players can be found here.
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