ENGLAND’S Florentyna Parker is one of the leading ranked players in this week’s field at the inaugural RACV Gold Coast Challenge at RACV Royal Pines and the 27-year-old is delighted to be back to where it all began for her eight years ago.
“This was my first tournament as a professional back in 2009,” Parker tsaid ahead of this week’s event, “and I really like coming to this golf course and to Surfers Paradise.
“I loved it back then and still love it.”
Parker was born in and lives in Germany but has played for England because of her attachment to Royal Birkdale in Lancashire.
“My parents are English but moved to Germany and I was born in that country. I joined Birkdale when I was 12 so I could play for the English national team and am still a member,” she said.
“My father is a golf professional at a golf club in Germany and that is how I got started in the game.”
WOMEN TAKE CENTRE STAGE AT ROYAL PINES:
While Parker has enjoyed significant success on the Ladies European Tour, winning on two occasions, finishing third on their money list in 2016 and regularly performing well, she has never been tempted to play the LPGA Tour.
“This is my ninth year on the Ladies European Tour and I absolutely love it. I’ve never been to LPGA Qualifying and I don’t really want to and I think the reason I play well in Europe is because I enjoy it so much,” she said.
“I play in a few of the majors each year and I enjoy that but for the moment I prefer to stay in Europe.
“I feel like every week I can win or do well and I would rather do that than finish average on the LPGA and that is what motivates me.
“I enjoy being in contention and last year had eight top-10’s and when you are playing well it is the best game ever.
“I also enjoy playing in such a wide range of countries as the LET takes us to many countries and to many different styles of golf course and I really enjoy that.”
This week’s event is a slightly different format to that played normally in professional golf given that it is a pro-am on the opening two days.
Parker, however, is a fan and is enjoying the prospect of something that is slightly different to what she normally plays although she has played such an event before.
“We have had this type of event on the Ladies European Tour before in Scotland and in China and it is great for the amateurs to play with the professionals in an actual tournament rather than just the pro-am the day before,” she said.
“It’s a bit more relaxed overall than if it is just professionals.”
Last year was a big year for Parker and she is keen to build on that.
“Last year was a great year and now it is up to me to try and back it up. As a European and with it being a Solheim Cup year I am currently third on that ranking and hopefully I can maintain that position and can play the Solheim Cup.
“I have played in two junior Solheim Cups and one Junior Ryder Cup so I have done it all as a junior but to do it as a pro is another thing.”
While Parker was delighted with her season she said that the fact she did not win is still a frustration.
“That was the only thing that was missing,” she lamented.
“I had eight top-10’s so was very consistent and that is great to be in contention but I need to win again.”
If Parker was to claim a win this week at RACV Royal Pines it would be no surprise as she is clearly a player good enough to do so.
She is a proven winner and has played well against stronger fields than she will face this week and, importantly, on this golf course.
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