With just under 4 days to go, Abu Dhabi Sports Council is announcing the strongest field to date for the 2019 Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open (FBM Ladies Open), the first-ever women’s professional golf tournament to be staged in the emirate. Held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, the Ladies European Tour (LET) event returns for a third time to the award-winning Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, Thursday – Saturday, 10 – 13 January 2019.
Kicking off both the 2019 Ladies European Tour (LET) calendar as well as Abu Dhabi’s 2019 golf season, the event also begins a fortnight of thrilling golf action in the emirate, preceding both the fourth hosting of the Gary Player Invitational, set for Sunday 13 January as well as the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA, confirmed for 16 -19 January. Under a new format, the FBM Ladies Open will also be the first Tour-sanctioned, entirely pro-am tournament to be held in the United Arab Emirates.
In its strongest field to-date, defending champion Aditi Ashok will be joined by Beth Allen (USA), who won the inaugural FBM Ladies Open in 2016, British star Charley Hull (England) as well as Becky Brewerton (Wales), Catriona Matthew (Scotland), Becky Morgan (Wales), Anne Van Dam (The Netherlands), Caroline Hedwall (Sweden), Astrid Vayson De Pradenne (France), Jenny Haglund (Sweden), Meghan Maclaren (England), Camille Chevalier (France) and Florentyna Parker (England). Solheim Cup team members Jodi Ewart Shadoff (England) and Emily Kristine Pedersen (Denmark) are also on the list to tee off in Abu Dhabi.
His Excellency Aref Hamad Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council said: “The Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open continues Abu Dhabi’s rich tradition of not only hosting world-class sporting events but also of providing a global stage to talented female athletes. We, at the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, believe strongly in the power of sports to foster collaboration, leadership and confidence and the FBM Ladies Open is an exemplary showcase of talent, fortitude and teamwork.”
Under the new format, 56 professional golfers will join forces with 56 amateurs to form team pairings. While all teams will compete on day one and day two of the tournament, day three will see only the top 15 teams advance for their chance to secure a podium finish. The top LET Professionals will still battle it out for the FBM Ladies Open individual title, which was won by American golfer, Beth Allen in 2016 and India’s star player, Aditi Ashok in 2017.
Along with on-course action, the event will also salute the skill and spirit of the UAE Special Olympics Golf Team with a golf clinic, led by a selection of top LET Professionals to enable UAE’s ‘determined ones’ to sharpen their skills and discuss tactics and strategy with the world’s leading golfers. The female pro golfers are also scheduled to come together to coach young UAE-based girl and young women golfers as part of its #ThisGirlGolfsUAE activation, that seeks to encourage the sport amongst girls in the emirate and beyond.
“I am really looking forward to playing in Abu Dhabi on such a beautiful golf course, as well as in an exciting new event format. It’s a big year for us with the Solheim Cup taking place in September at Gleneagles, so I want to get a strong start to the new season on the Ladies European Tour and this is the ideal opportunity,” said British star Charley Hull, who is set to make her Abu Dhabi debut at the tournament. “Also, as someone who has always encouraged more young girls to play golf, I am excited to be part of a tournament that has championed the sport passionately in this region both amongst young female golfers and older athletes.”
The Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open is organised by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy. The 2019 edition of the event has been sponsored by Aldar, Abu Dhabi Ports, Al Masaood and Jumeirah. Spectators can catch the action for free, 10th-12th January at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club on tournament days.