New Turkish Ladies Open home Carya ready for challenge
Özgür Korkmaz BELEK
The Carya Golf Club, opened in 2010, recently became the first course in Europe to boast a fully flood-lit, 18-hole course for night golf and have similarities with British inland courses. The venue will host the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open in May, with a total prize of 500,000 euros up for grabs.
The Ladies European Tour (LET) will once again visit the Mediterranean resort of Belek, one of Europe’s top golf destinations, when Carya Golf Club hosts the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open May 17-20.
This year, the seventh edition of the LET’s Turkish competition saw a venue change; it will be held at Carya Golf Club instead of its traditional home of the National Golf Club.
The event’s prize has doubled from the previous tournaments to 500,000 euros, making it one of the top prize events of the 2015 LET and increasing interest in the tournament. So far, 173 golfers have applied to compete for the title’s 80,000 euro prize money.
The 126 names expected to compete at Carya include Laura Davies of England, a previous world number one and the winner of more than 80 professional tournaments, her fellow countryman Trish Johnson, last year’s champion, Valentine Derrey of France and English Melissa Reid, winner of the 2010 tournament.
Wildcard for three Turkish amateurs
Three Turkish amateurs will also be able to compete in the event, thanks to wildcards granted by the organizers. Two of the players will be chosen by the Turkish Golf Federation (TGF), while the third choice will come from the National Golf Academy, which aims to give local children of the Belek region a chance to become golfers.
This year’s tournament will be jointly promoted by Mineks International and Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort.
Speaking to a group of journalists invited to Belek over the weekend, Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort Chairman Fikret Öztürk stated his pleasure in hosting the 2015 Turkish Ladies Open.
“The tournament raises awareness about our country in the international arena. It will also help introduce the Belek region worldwide and its high quality golf courses,” he said.
Öztürk said Belek’s recognition as an exclusive golf destination should increase, in addition to his desire for an assessment of broad areas in Antalya in order to build more golf courses.
“Golf encourages tourists with high incomes to travel to Turkey,” Öztürk said, calling on Turkish Airlines to increase the number of direct flights to Turkey from destinations in Europe, especially during the winter months.
Also new to this year, the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open will tee off on a Sunday and end on a Wednesday.
“The tournament will finish on a Wednesday, instead of the traditional Sunday, because we are competing with so many other major sporting events for TV coverage,” Bülent Göktuna, chairman of Mineks International and the president of National Golf Club said in a statement.
“This will give us a massive increase in television exposure worldwide, with live coverage on Sky Sports and the Golf Channel. The event will be broadcast to more than 50 countries.”
The Carya Golf Club, opened in 2010, is a classic heath land design with similar features to the best British inland courses. It hosted the European Challenge Tour in 2012.