This week’s Association Suisse de Golf Ladies Open on the LET Access Series is particularly special for the Mätzler family. Not only will sisters Melanie and Monja be competing for the title from Friday but their father, Guido, organised the season-opening tournament at Golfclub Gams-Werdenberg in Gams, on the Swiss border with Lichtenstein.
This is the first LETAS tournament in Switzerland, thanks to the title sponsorship of the Swiss Golf Association (ASG) and the work of Mr Mätzler, President of the Swiss Association of Sporting Goods (SPAF), responsible for organising the tournament.
In addition to the logistics and event marketing, an impressive list of co-sponsors has been assembled, with prize money of EUR 30,000. Mr Mätzler, the father of Ladies European Tour player Melanie, said that «everything except matters concerning the course» has been set up by the SPAF, an association traditionally involved with winter sports.
Thanks to these efforts, a field of 119 golfers from 25 different countries will have the opportunity to gain experience in international competition this week.
For Melanie and Monja, who are attached to Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, 20 minutes away, being in the spotlight so close to home will be a new experience, but one which they will relish.
“If I have my best game and if I manage to keep calm I think I could win, but everything has to be perfect,” says Melanie, the 2009 Swiss Match Play Champion, who played her first season on the Ladies European Tour in 2013.
“This year I’m playing on the Ladies European Tour and LETAS in parallel so my goal is to get my full card for the Ladies European Tour next year somehow. I started pretty well in Morocco. I made the cut and I hope to continue in this way.”
The cut will fall to the leading 40 players after Saturday’s second round in the three-round stroke play event starting on Friday and Melanie, 26, added: “My primary goal always is to make the cut but it’s difficult to say because I’ve played here so many times but it’s always different to play in a tournament. There will be a lot of people I know so I can’t tell if I will be really nervous. It depends on how I feel on the day.”
For 19-year-old Monja, who is an amateur and seven years younger than Melanie, this tournament represents an opportunity to test herself against the elite field of professional and amateur golfers but she has lower expectations.
Currently on a gap year, the +0.5 handicapper had all but given up on golf and was working for her father in tournament operations and marketing when she decided to enter the competition.
“If I make the cut I’ll be really, really happy. It’s not really a goal. I wouldn’t be disappointed if I didn’t make it and if I’m two or three shots behind I’ll be happy,” said Monja, who plans to study Law at university from September this year.
The sisters cite the course’s long grass and prevailing wind as its primary defence, although they predict that there could be a low winning score, with rain and low winds forecast for the first two days, followed by sunshine on Sunday.
As an advisor to the organisers, Melanie has also been learning and said: “The next events that I play in, I will see them through different eyes, because there is such a huge amount of work behind everything.
“I am of course delighted to be playing at home, but in the run-up to the event there was a lot more work than in other tournaments. The media interest is larger and therefore more time and effort is required. I am of course grateful to have a tournament and therefore would never complain. It is nice to see how many people participate in this tournament and with how much enthusiasm they do it!”