Great crowds at Ladies Open de France lays down gauntlet to Irish spectators

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Great crowds at Ladies Open de France lays down gauntlet to Irish spectators

Image from French Ladies Open via Ladies European Tour website

The KPMG Women’s Irish Open returns this week after a 10-year absence but can the crowds at Dromoland Castle match last week’s turnout at the Lacoste Ladies Open de France?

Irish sports fans tend to flock in great numbers to support their own and they’ll need to in order to match the atmosphere last week at Golf Barrière in Deauville where a huge gallery followed the final group on Sunday.

It was a history-making day on the Ladies European Tour where overnight leader and tour Rookie, Ines Laklalech became the first Moroccan, first Arab and first North African woman to win an LET event.

The 24-year old from Casablanca got the better of England’s Meghan MacLaren on the first playoff hole to claim an understandably emotional first victory on the circuit.

“It feels amazing,” said Laklalech. “It’s special to hear it. I don’t have any words to describe this.

“I’m surprised because the last time I was in contention was in Sweden at the Skaftö Open and I lost it over the last few holes. I was just too tense physically and I was very, very surprised with the way I felt physically today. I didn’t control anything. I felt sure that the past experience in Sweden would help me today and it did. I just played my game, played quite well and I’m just so happy.

“Of course going to the tee box in the playoff I felt very nervous but I hit a good shot and it was unfortunate how it ended, because Meghan didn’t have a good lie, but I feel like this is a two-in-one. I experienced a play-off and a victory at the same time. This is definitely something that I will remember for the rest of my life.”

The new champion won’t be competing this week at Dromoland where a whole host of stars are set to descend on the pristine Clare parkland.

The field will be headlined by our own Leona Maguire with the current world number 16 joined by Scandinavian Mixed winner Linn Grant, defending champion Catriona Matthew, the big-hitting Anne Van Dam and the highly-talented Pia Babnik.

MacLaren will also return to action, hoping to go one place better than her narrow French playoff defeat.

“Those are the fine margins that we win or lose by and it’s a golf tournament, so it happened to me today,” said MacLaren. “Ines is a great player. We played together at Q School and she’s gritty and not going to go away. She deserves it today.”

  • Full Women’s Irish Open entry list HERE

Tickets to see the stars of the Ladies European Tour in action at the KPMG Women’s Irish Open are now on sale at www.womensirishopen.ie. Four-day tickets are priced at €35 while single-day tickets will cost €15. Under 16s attending the event will also be admitted free of charge.

 You can watch the Women’s Irish Open live on RTÉ News this Thursday and Friday, with live coverage on RTÉ One on Saturday and Sunday.

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