Date: November 07, 2010

Davies hunting for European top spot

Courtesy: Ladies European Tour With little more than seven weeks until the 2011 Handa Women&aposs Australian Open, two time champion Laura Davies hopes to kick up a desert storm with Henderson Money List rival Lee-Anne Pace at the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters this week. The Englishwoman needs a top-two finish at the Ladies European Tour s season ending tournament to have any chance of grabbing the 2010 European No.1 crown from the South African, provided that Pace doesn’t finish in the top five. Both players have won five titles this season but Davies is determined to finish on a high note after victories this year in New Zealand, Germany, Austria, Spain and India. Obviously, it s been a cracking year: five wins, a couple of near misses as well. Not so good in America but on the European front, it s been a fantastic year: probably my most successful, said Davies, the seven-time European No.1 who first topped the Order of Merit 25 years ago in 1985. There are so many good young players now and at the age of 47 it would just be nice to think that I can still mix it up, not just on the odd week, but for a whole season and I think I ve played eight tournaments less than Lee-Anne which would make it even more special for the fact that I ve played in a lot less events than her and still come out on top. Having said that, if the book makers were laying odds shead be 1 to 20 on to win it because I have to finish first or second to have any chance and also she has to have a week where she’s not in the top 10 – so everything considered it s a long shot – but the long shots come in now and again. As a winner of 79 career titles in 21 different countries, Davies will be targeting her 80th victory on the Majlis Course at the Emirates Golf Club. She has finished equal second, third and tied for fourth in her three appearances in Dubai. However, Pace is determined not to let Davies steal the title. The 29-year-old is in line to become the first South African in the 32-year history of the LET to claim the No.1 spot and she has skipped LPGA Qualifying School in favour of playing at the tournament. Pace was red hot with five victories in five months from June to October, in Switzerland, Wales, Finland and then twice in China. Since teaming up with caddie Craig Barber-Ball at the S4C Wales Ladies Championship of Europe in August, she has won four events, tied for second in Scotland and had two top-10 finishes. Now brimming with confidence, she hopes to round off the year in style. American teen sensation Alexis Thompson, who tied for second in July s Evian Masters, will be making her tournament debut. Thompson played the 2010 Handa Women&aposs Australian Open as an amateur in 2010. The 15-year-old professional will be one to watch having earned more than $300,000 from six starts earlier this year.