Agadir to make golf history

Golfing history is set to be made at the Moroccan city of Agadir from March 31 to April 3, it has been has announced.

Mens and women’s golfing history is set to be made at the Moroccan city of Agadir from March 31 to April 3, it has been has announced.

For the first time ever the Ladies European Tour and its male equivalent, the European Tour, are scheduled to run Tour events in the same city in the same week.

The Ladies Tour will be staging the €325,000 Lalla Meryem Cup -, an event ranked tenth in terms of prize money on the 2011 LET at Golf du Soleil in Agadir with Germany’s Anja Monke defending the title she won last March.

On the men’s European Tour, in the meantime, the Trophée Hassan II, which retains its original ‘Alliance’ (Pro-Am) format for the first two rounds, will be played over two outstanding venues, the unique Golf du Palais Royal, designed by Robert Trent Jones Snr and considered by many to be one of the finest courses in the world, and the superb new course, Golf de L’Ocean.

Although it has been played since 1993, this is only the second year that the Lalla Meryem Cup will feature on the Ladies European Tour schedule.

Monke won in its first appearance on Tour last year, coming from one shot behind going into the final round at Royal Golf Anfa Mohammedia and then firing a closing 69 to capture her third LET victory by a a stroke from Sweden’s Carin Koch.

Her victory provided the springboard for a superb 2010 season in which she posted three additional top ten finishes and then went on to finish 11th on the Henderson Money List with seasonal earnings of €125,393.

Other players in this year’s field will include Pegasus NZ Women’s Open winner Kristie Smith of Australia, Trish Johnson, Becky Brewerton, Virginie Lagoutte-Clement, Karen Lunn, Florentyna Parker, Tania Elosegui and Marianne Skarpnord.

Among the rookies who will make their Ladies European Tour professional debut at the event will be the 16-year-old Czech player Klara Spilkova, the LET’s youngest ever member.

Spilkova, who qualified at Tour School in December and is still studying at high school in Prague, said:”My goal is to play as good as I can, to make cuts and finally to win at least one tournament,”said Spilkova.

“I am very excited. Being a professional has always been my dream. I am looking forward to a completely new experience. It is my first tournament of this season and I would like to play in a new environment. I will try to play my best golf and I am very much looking forward to the season.” added Spilkova, who started to play golf aged four with her brother Lukas at the Golf Club Erpet Praha.

She went on to earn an exemplary amateur record, which included victories at the 2010 Austrian and Czech women’s amateur championships.

She is joined by fellow LET rookies Jaclyn Sweeney of the United States, Australian Stacey Keating, Sweden’s Louise Larsson and Lucie André of France, among others.

Amateurs and professionals will be privileged to play on these stunning facilities, thanks to the patronage of the Moroccan Royal Family, which has been such a generous supporter of golf, since the original event was hosted by HM late King Hassan II in 1971.

The 2011 prize fund has also been increased to €1,500,000, with players and VIP guests being hosted at the superb ocean-facing Sofitel Hotel. A Royal Air Maroc charter has been arranged on Monday March 28 to take players direct from Malaga to Agadir, and then returning to London Gatwick following the conclusion of the event on the Sunday.

The defending champion is Rhys Davies, whose phenomenal season last year was launched with his victory in the 2010 Trophée Hassan II in Rabat, where he held off the challenge of Louis Oosthuizen, who went to achieve Major Championship success by winning The Open at St Andrews last July.