IN a huge statement of intent on gender equality, organisers of the Women’s Spanish Open have doubled the tournament’s prize money.
The purse at the Ladies European Tour event held at Marbella’s Aloha Golf Club is to be increased from €300,000 to €600,000.
The competition, which began in 1982, will also now be known as the ‘Race to the Costa del Sol’ in a large rebranding of the event.
Held between November 28 and December 1 next year, the tournament will see Europe’s top female golfers go head to head.
Local golfer Azahara Muñoz, 32, from San Pedro, is the top name on the poster for next season’s event.
The two-time Spanish Open champ won in 2016 and 2017, but was pipped to the 2018 title by Dutch athlete Anne van Dam, who defended her title this year.
Joining them for the reformatted showdown in Andalucia are Tiger Woods’ niece Cheyenne Woods, and the Americans Beckey Brewerton and Beht Allen.
Muñoz finished fourth at this year’s competition on 279, behind Nanna Koertz Madsen and Aditi Ashok, who both carded 276, while van Dam was one ahead on 275.
The ‘Costa del Sol’ brand will sponsor the 2020 event, which is described by organisers as ‘a perfect showcase of what the Costa del Sol in particular and Andalucia in general can offer’.