Rookies ready for Canberra Classic challenge

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Sweden’s Linnea Ström got to check out the kangaroos during practice for the Ladies European Tour’s Canberra Classic at Royal Canberra. Picture by TRISTAN JONES

THE Ladies European Tour rookies who made a great start to their 2019 seasons in the Pacific Bay Resort Australian Ladies Classic – Bonville are looking for more success in this week’s ActewAGL Canberra Classic.

Rising European stars Linnea Ström and Esther Henseleit both secured top-10 finishes on their LET debuts at Bonville Golf Resort, with Sweden’s Ström leading the way in solo eighth and Esther Henseleit from Germany sharing ninth place.

Ireland’s Leona Maguire tied for 20th, India’s Diksha Dagar tied for 44th, Emie Peronnin from France shared 57th and India’s Tvesa Malik ended in equal 61st.

This week, they are joined by Nigerian Georgia Oboh and Filippa Moerk from Sweden, as well as Kent’s Sian Evans and Astha Madan, who played in Bonville.

Oboh and Moerk are both making their LET debuts as rookies.

Moerk, who finished seventh at the final stage of Lalla Aicha Tour School in December, said: “It feels super fun, because this has been my goal for a long time and I’m very excited. I’m just looking to hit it straight and on the fairways, on the greens and make lots of birdies and play my best.”

Linnea Ström has always been an inspiration to Moerk and both players had their first look at Royal Canberra Golf Club on Tuesday, where Ström finally saw kangaroos for the first time.

Ström, who has Solheim Cup player Sophie Gustafson on the bag, said: “I like the course and it’s nice with not too much wind. I feel like we’ve been playing in a lot of wind recently.

“The greens are good and the ball is rolling well. There are some wide holes and some narrow where you need to place the ball well from the tee box, so I think it will be a fun week.

“I’m happy with last week but I still feel like I have more to give so I’m looking forward to this week and putting some scores out there. I think the course suits me and hopefully I can strike the ball well.

“Sophie and I are getting to know each other better as well.”

The last rookie to win on tour was Camille Chevalier at the 2017 Hero Women’s Indian Open, but the rookies will face a tough task in dethroning the defending champion, Jiyai Shin.

The former world number one from South Korea won the title impressively at Royal Canberra in 2018 and has since racked up 17 top 10 finishes including four wins on the LPGA of Japan.

Some of the other players in the field include last week’s winner and order of merit leader Marianne Skarpnord, last week’s runner-up Hannah Green and Anne Van Dam, who leads the European Solheim Cup team rankings.

Also in the field are Sarah Kemp, Rebecca Artis, Beth Allen, Caroline Hedwall, Madelene Sagstrom, Leona Maguire and Dame Laura Davies.

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