Davies seeking fourth Austrian title

Laura Davies will be going for her fourth win in five years when she tees it up in this week’s UNIQA Ladies Open.

English veteran Laura Davies will be attempting to win the title for the fourth time in five years when she tees it up in this week’s UNIQA Ladies Open in Austria

If you add her runner-up finishes in 2006 and 2009 and a tie for third place in 2005 to her victories in 2007, 2008 and 2010, it is easy to see see why this tournament, hosted once more by Golf Club Föhrenwald near Vienna is one of her favourite events on the Ladies European Tour.

Davies, who has played in six of the seven editions of this event, once commented that you could land a jumbo jet on the par-five 18th, however, finding the lake on the right of the green can result in disaster as she found to her cost in 2009 when she lost to Swede Linda Wessberg at the third extra hole of a play-off.

“I’ve won three times and if I hadn’t put my ball into the water on 18 in the play-off;if I hadn’t done that; it could have been four,” said Davies, now aged 47.

“But I’ve only got good memories round here and I think my worst finish is third, so in six years that’s a good result.”

From her 79 career titles, Davies has won three events four times: the Italian Open (1987, 1988, 1992 and 1996), the English Open (1992, 1993, 1995 and 1996) and the Standard Register Ping on the LPGA, which she won four years consecutively from 1994-1997.

She won five titles on the LET last year, but is yet to win in 2011 and admits that now is the time to end the dry spell with her 12th appearance for the Europeans at the Solheim Cup just around the corner.

“On the edge of The Solheim Cup, over the next three weeks, I’d love three really strong finishes.” she said.

“Recently I’ve not done very well at all: I’ve missed four cuts in America, made one last week and didn’t do very well at the weekend. Results wise, I’ve not played well the last six months but playing-wise, I’m hitting it really well. It’s just my putting that has been letting me down. I did most of my qualifying last year but hopefully this week will be a spring board to my form returning.”

There’ll be two other European Solheim Cup Team members in the field this week – England’s Melissa Reid, who tied for third in Austria last year, and LET Rookie Caroline Hedwall from Sweden, who will be make her debut in this tournament..

Home hopes will rest on the shoulders of the eight Austrian players in the field, including professionals Stefanie Michl and Nicole Gergely as well as amateurs Marina Stutz, Nina Muhl and Christine Wolf.

Irish amateur Leona Maguire has received an invitation to play as has the young Spanish professional Carlota Ciganda, while six of this year’s LET tournament champions will further enhance the field of 108 players.

Australian Kristie Smith, Slovakian Zuzana Kamasova, South African Ashleigh Simon and Becky Brewerton of Wales join Hedwall and Reid, while Wessberg will be hoping to wrest the title back from Davies.

Format of play will be 54-holes of strokeplay with a cut to the leading 50 professionals and ties after 36 holes.