A new Ladies European Tour season gets underway next week with the Investec South African Women’s Open at Westlake Golf Club, the first event on the 2021 Race to Costa del Sol.
The Race to Costa del Sol, which is the official LET ranking, offers a €250,000 bonus pool to the top three finishers. The season begins in South Africa with the first of 28 LET tournaments spanning 20 countries in a record-breaking 2021 LET schedule and concludes with the Andalucía Costa del Sol Open de España in Spain in late November.
Last season’s inaugural Race was won by Denmark’s Emily Kristine Pedersen, who clinched the crown by an 834-point margin. Five wins, a further three top-ten finishes and a career-best major showing at the AIG Women’s Open (11th) from 12 starts proved Pedersen was in a league of her own during 2020.
She became only the second Danish golfer to top the money list on any major international tour, following six-time LET winner Iben Tinning, who won the Order of Merit back in 2005. With her remarkable form, Pedersen also climbed up the Rolex Rankings coming back from as low as 509 at the start of the year to breaking into the top 100 for the first time in her career.
After the 2021 season has started in South Africa, the main European leg of the schedule begins with the Ladies Italian Open at Golf Club Margara, before the Jabra Ladies Open at Evian Resort Golf Club at the start of June.
Following on from that is the innovative Scandinavian Mixed Hosted by Henrik & Annika at Vallda Golf and Country Club in Sweden where European Tour and LET members will go head-to-head for the first time on the same course, competing for one prize fund and one trophy. After a week off the next stop is the Tipsport Czech Ladies Open in Golf Club Beroun with the Big Green Egg Open at Rosendaelsche Golf Club in the Netherlands following on.
The players will remain in Europe in July with the first Aramco Team Series event happening in London and then after that, they will make a trip to the Gant Ladies Open at Aura Golf in Finland. This is followed by The Amundi Evian Championship, which has been played as the fifth major since 2013 and returns to the calendar for 2021.
Another pioneering event, the ISPS HANDA World Invitational Presented by Modest! Golf takes place at Galgorm Castle and Massereene Golf Club in Northern Ireland at the end of July. While the Tokyo 2020 women’s Olympic Golf Competition is happening the week after that in early August.
Golf returns to the UK with a fortnight in Scotland as the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open heads to Dumbarnie Links before Carnoustie hosts the final major of the year – the AIG Women’s Open. Back-to-back tournaments are scheduled for Sweden next with the Skaftö Open and Creekhouse Ladies Open, while the Solheim Cup will be played at Inverness Club in Ohio, USA.
The VP Bank Swiss Ladies Open at Golfpark Holzhäusern follows that, and the Lacoste Ladies Open De France is scheduled for mid-September. After everyone catches their breath with a week off, the season resumes at the Hero Women’s Indian Open at DLF Golf and Country Club. The second Aramco Team Series event is up next with Singapore playing host before heading to the Magical Kenya Ladies Open at Vipingo Ridge. While the third Aramco Team Series event in New York will also be slotted in the schedule during this time, as will the Mediterranean Ladies Open which is due to take place at Club de Golf Terramar.
The final leg of the schedule sees the Tour visit Morocco for the Lalla Meryem Cup, which is followed by the Omega Dubai Moonlight Classic at Emirates Golf Club – Faldo Course. Two events in Saudi Arabia are up next with the Aramco Saudi Ladies International Presented by Public Investment Fund before the final Aramco Team Series event in Jeddah.
For the season finale, the LET returns to Europe and will visit Los Naranjos Golf Club for the Andalucía Costa del Sol Open de España. The prestigious tournament will be the perfect end to the Race to Costa del Sol, which will see the winner of the season-long competition crowned and lift the specially designed Race to Costa del Sol trophy.
The president of Turismo Costa del Sol, Francisco Salado, expressed the organisation’s great pride to be part once again of this new stage in the history of the Ladies European Tour, while noting the opportunity that the Race to Costa del Sol represents for the destination. He said: “This news is a breath of fresh air in the midst of this situation we are going through, and we are proud to be able to show once more that the Costa del Sol is safe and is ready to host events of this magnitude. Our involvement in the Race to Costa del Sol demonstrates this organisation’s firm commitment to golf, which provides so many benefits to our destination, and specifically to women’s golf. Our courses are in peak condition thanks to the effort and great work of the professionals who work on them.”
LET CEO Alexandra Armas commented: “We are excited for the 2021 season to get underway in South Africa and to see who will be crowned the winner of the second edition of the Race to Costa del Sol. Last season Emily was a deserving winner of the inaugural title, thanks to her consistent performances throughout the year and her hard work was rewarded when she triumphed and claimed the crown. I would like to thank the Costa del Sol Tourist Board for their unwavering support over the past year and we are looking forward to the season ahead.”