La Manga (Spain): As many as five Indian women golfers will be teeing off for a spot on the main Ladies European Tour 2012, when the qualifiers get underway on Sunday at the La Manga Club in Spain.
Veteran Smriti Mehra, who has in the past held a card on the LPGA Tour, the current Women`s Golf Association of India (WGAI) Order of Merit leader, Sharmila Nicollet, Neha Tripathi and Nalini Singh Siwach, will compete in the qualifiers.
Three of the Indians are being sponsored and supported by the Ministry of Tourism and one player is being sponsored by the DLF Golf and Country Club.
A fifth Indian player, Rhea Nair, based in Dubai, will also be playing the qualifiers.
Sharmila, Smriti, Neha and Rhea made the cut at the Hero Women`s Indian Open and despite Nalini missing out, she is being sent as a promising youngster.
The LET qualifiers are a tough test for the lady professionals, as 204 golfers from around the world compete in pre-qualifiers which are played over four rounds and on two courses.
Each golfer gets to play two rounds on each course. The top 50 and ties will then compete in the 90-hole final stage, from where the top-30 get the Tour cards for 2012.
Sharmila, who finished in a tie for 22nd and was the best Indian in the field at the Hero Women`s Indian Open, said, "It will be tough out there, but I am confident of doing well. I have played well this year and it has just been question of things falling in the right place at the event (qualifiers)."
This is the first time that as many as five Indians will be playing in the qualifiers.
The winner of the 2011 LET Qualifying School, Caroline Hedwall of Sweden, went on to become the most successful player of 2011 with four wins, including the Indian Open. She finished second on the overall Henderson Money List and was also the winner of Rookie of the year race.