Long drivers of the Ladies Tour

Players take to the road to avoid volcanic disruption

Tue, 20 Apr 2010

Long drivers of the Ladies Tour

Golfers from across Europe and even as far as Russia have been making epic treks across the continent in order to play in the Comunitat Valenciana European Cup, which starts on Thursday.

After the volcanic ash cloud grounded planes, the players took to the road to reach La Sella Resort in Dénia, Alicante, Spain, for the four-round tournament.

Of the 36 players in the 18-nation event, only Ricoh Women’s British Open champion Catriona Matthew of Scotland is in doubt after her flight from Liverpool was cancelled earlier. However Vikki Laing is on site at the tournament and may now represent Scotland alongside Krystle Caithness.

With planes grounded, England’s Melissa Reid and Karen Stupples drove approximately 1500 miles from the UK as did Breanne Loucks from Wales. Her playing partner, Becky Brewerton, was already in Spain at her holiday home.

One player, Jenni Kuosa, is driving 3,800 kilometres from Helsinki in Finland and due to arrive on Wednesday morning to partner Ursula Wikstrom, who drove from Switzerland, along with Gwladys Nocera and Jade Schaeffer, from France.

Russian Maria Verchenova took a train from Moscow to Vienna and is still travelling over land to meet playing partner, Anastasia Kostina, who took a convoluted route from Miami in Florida, to Valencia in Spain.

The Irish team of Hazel Kavanagh and Rebecca Coakley took a three day trip from Dublin via the Holyhead ferry and then the Eurotunnel.

Bettina Hauert and Anja Monke, who has replaced Sandra Gal, drove from Germany and Nicole Gergely from Austria. Her playing partner, Stefanie Michl, is due to arrive from Miami into Valencia at 11.40pm on Wednesday night. 

Dutch duo Christel Boeljon and Marjet van der Graaff set off from Holland by car over the weekend determined to arrive in time to defend their title. The Italians Veronica Zorzi and Giulia Sergas took two days to make their journey and the Swiss duo Caroline Rominger and Frederique Seeholzer had a relatively short 12-hour drive, but Danes Iben Tinning and Lisa Holm Sorensen are still en route.

Australian Karen Lunn, who had the furthest to travel, coming from Sydney, was the first player on site despite lengthy delays in Abu Dhabi. Her playing partner Karrie Webb arrived in Spain on Saturday and even had time to enjoy a football match between Real Madrid and Valencia at the Bernabeu Stadium.

There were no problems for the United States team of Beth Daniel and Meg Mallon, who arrived on Saturday, while Sweden’s Sophie Gustafson and Anna Nordqvist both had simple journeys coming from Jamaica, where Nordqvist won the Mojo6 tournament on Sunday.

Norway’s Cecilie Lundgreen flew in from her home in Zimbabwe, while her playing partner Caroline Martens drove from an LET Access Series event in north-western France.

“With such a big field it’s amazing that all the players wanted to come here and Catriona is still trying to come here,” said Alicia Garrido Villacieros, event co-ordinator of the European Nations Cup.



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