PGA breaks new ground with LETAS event



The Professional Golfers’ Association is increasing its support of the women’s game with the launch of a new tournament on the Ladies European Tour Access Series (LETAS).

This exciting development in women’s golf will see The WPGA International Challenge supported by Stoke by Nayland Hotel Golf & Spa added to the LETAS schedule and played at the venue on September 26-28.

The 54-hole tournament, which is the only event on the LETAS schedule to be played in the United Kingdom, will feature an international field of 120 players competing for a share of the €25,000 prize fund.

There will be an opportunity for 20 WPGA members to compete in the event. Winners of each of the remaining five WPGA One Day Series events will qualify plus Suzanne Dickens, winner at Little Aston yesterday, with the remaining places secured via a qualifying Order of Merit over the same period.

In addition, with the support of England Golf, 20 elite female amateurs will also compete in the event.

The new tournament, which will provide additional playing opportunities for elite WPGA members and leading English female amateurs, has been widely welcomed by all involved in bringing the event to fruition.

Di Barnard, Tour Director of the LET Access Series said: “We are delighted to announce the addition of the WPGA International Challenge to the 2013 LETAS schedule. There is a very strong golfing community in the UK and a large representation of players from this region on both the LET and LETAS.

“We are looking forward to working with the PGA and also the venue, Stoke by Nayland Hotel Golf & Spa, which will offer first class facilities for the players.

“The LET Access Series was formed to create additional playing opportunities for female golfers and also to provide an important link between elite amateur and professional golf. We are also delighted to have the support of England Golf and will welcome a number of elite English amateurs to compete in the event.”

The PGA’s chief executive, Sandy Jones, commented: "We have been discussing with LET for some time the concept and creation of this event. It therefore gives me much pleasure to now be able to announce the WPGA international challenge on the LETAS schedule.

“The event will of course give a high quality playing opportunity to members of the WPGA and this is something that we strive to do. 

“I am also very pleased to say that we are presenting the event at Stoke by Nayland, a venue that is well known to us and has partnered the PGA on many past occasions to stage great golf events. “Being within the UK it presents for our elite level women golfers a great chance to progress their tournament careers and I take this opportunity to wish them all good luck and success. "

The opportunity for England’s leading women amateurs to get valuable experience has been praised by Nigel Edwards, performance director at England Golf.

He said: “England Golf is delighted to be a partner with the LET Access Tour. The Access Tour provides a valuable opportunity for our top players as they progress from their amateur career by providing entry to competitive professional events.

“Stoke by Nayland will provide a challenging venue and we know the team there will bring experience from their previous support of the European Challenge Tour and Senior Tour and deliver an excellent event for players and spectators alike.”

Situated in an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ on the Suffolk/Essex border,  Stoke by Nayland has the experience of staging European Challenge Tour, European Senior Tour and PGA Europro events, and is looking forward to gracing the international golf stage once more as the only UK destination on the 2013 LETAS schedule.

Susanna Rendall, managing director of the family-owned Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf & Spa, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be hosting the WPGA International Challenge here this September.

“We feel honoured and privileged to have been selected as the first venue in the UK to hold this prestigious event and very much look forward to welcoming these talented golfers here from all over the world - and to playing our part in helping to promote women’s international golf.”

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