Ladies European Tour's Top Talent on Display in Turkish Airlines Ladies Open

Fred AltvaterContributor IIMay 8, 2014

A teenage Charley Hull was a big factor in the 2013 Solheim Cup.
A teenage Charley Hull was a big factor in the 2013 Solheim Cup.Ed Andrieski/Associated Press

The LPGA Tour may have bigger names, bigger purses and more visibility, but the Ladies European Tour (LET) has proved to be a very competitive stage for young international women to improve their games.

Suzann Pettersen and Annika Sorenstam started on the Ladies European Tour before they became household names.

Laura Davies has staunchly supported the LET and has 45 wins on that tour since she became a member in 1985. She also won 20 events on the LPGA Tour, even though she only played part time in the U.S.  

Davies is just two points shy of automatic entry into the World Golf Hall of Fame and will probably be in the first class under the new rule changes that take effect for the 2015 class.

Add the fact that the European Solheim Cup team soundly defeated Team USA last year at Colorado Country Club, and the LET may have a chip on its shoulder.

One more thing: The LET has one of the fastest-rising stars in all of golf. Charley Hull turned 18 years old in March, and she has already become well-known in golf circles around the world.

Hull has spurned the opportunity for big endorsement dollars and bigger prize money in America to continue to mature and support the LET.

The 2013 LET Rookie of the Year reeled off five consecutive runner-up finishes after turning professional in January.

Hull was also very convincing as the youngest member of the 2013 European Solheim Cup team, with a 2-1-0 record. She easily beat Paula Creamer, 5-4, in singles.

Four days before her birthday in March, she collected her first LET victory at the Lalla Meryem Cup in a playoff over Solheim Cup teammate Gwladys Nocera.  

Defending champion Lee-Anne Pace, Laura Davies, Sophie Gustafson and Charley Hull, along with the rest of the LET, are in Turkey this week for the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open hosted by the National Golf Club in Belek, Antalya, Turkey.

The National Golf Club opened for play in 1994. It was designed by ex-European Ryder Cup member and television personality David Feherty. The course is a true gem and should be on every golfer's bucket list.

This is the sixth time the event has been held in Turkey. Turkish Airlines became the title sponsor in 2010, and it has become a huge supporter of golf in Turkey.

It hosts the $7 million Turkish Airlines Open, which is the next-to-last tournament in the Race to Dubai Final Series on the European Tour.

While the LPGA Tour grabs the headlines in America, the Ladies European Tour routinely gets overlooked. That will change this week, as the Golf Channel will broadcast the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open.

American golf fans will be surprised with the beauty and quality of the National Golf Club and with the superb play of the LET women golfers.