Boeljon defends title in Belek

Boeljon defends title in Belek

BELEK - Hürriyet Daily News
Boeljon defends title in Belek

Christel Boeljon of the Netherlands tees of in the final round of the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open, which was held at the National Golf club in Belek. Boeljon the event at seven under par to defend her title. Company photo

Christel Boeljon of the Netherlands finished par in the last round of the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open yesterday, on a sunny day at the National Golf Club in Belek, to clinch the title for the second time in a row.

The 25-year-old Beoljon finished the four-round event at seven under par, three strokes ahead of runner-up Ursula Wikstorm of Finland, in Turkey’s up-and-coming golf destination Belek. Carin Koch of Sweden and Spain’s Carlota Ciganda shared the third place at two under par.

A total of 250,000 euros in prize money was distributed to the players in the Turkish leg of the Ladies European Tour (LET). Professional golfers from around the world agreed that Belek, which hosted the event for the fourth time this year, has become a great destination for golf.

“It is one of the best tournaments in the season; the golf course was pretty tough but in great shape, the result to make the cut is really high, so it is showing how competitive the is course,” 24-year-old Benedicte Toumpsin, the only golfer from Belgium, told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday. She also said the course at the National Golf Club was in a great condition. “I think the greens were much better than last year. And it’s always a pleasure for us to come to the event of Bülent Göktuna and his tournament director Tony Martin,” she added.

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Göktuna, the head of the tournament´s Turkish promoter Mineks International, said many successful golfers from 33 countries came to the tournament this year. “Golf used be known as a men’s game, but that has changed,” he said. Göktuna also mentioned the difficulties he has faced on the way to making Turkey a center of attention for golf.

“We cannot find any sponsors for golf tournaments; when we ask for it, all of the companies come up with excuses like ‘we are over our budget.’ So many times they don’t even respond our demands. They are all supporting football teams and organizations in Turkey, but we have all witnessed the situation with football in Turkey recently,” Göktuna told the Daily News over the weekend.

The LET did not want to bring the tournament to Turkey at first, Göktuna said. “They [LET officials] had reservations about Islam and Turkey. They offered to organize a men’s golf cup first to see how it would go, but a men’s tournament needs a budget of seven or eight million dollars, which we could not afford,” he said, adding “they were trying to free people from their prejudices.”

Göktuna also said Turkey has to realize that the money spent on this event will be returned handsomely, “Because this value-added sport not only brings thousands of athletes from all around the world to Turkey, but also millions of people watch it from their homes globally. Turkey is competing to host the Olympics, and golf is one of the main branches in the games. That’s why [golf events] can have an amazing effect on the people who vote for host countries.”