Tornado Cuts Short Ladies European Event


Ladies European TourHELSINKI, Finland -- Lisa Holm Sorensen of Denmark claimed her maiden professional victory at the Ladies Finnish Masters today after it was ended after 36 holes.
After two rounds of 70, the 22-year-old rookie finished at a total 2-under-par 140, one shot clear of four others at one under par.
They were: Suzann Pettersen (Norway), Cecilia Ekelundh (Sweden), amateur Caroline Westrup (Sweden) and Ursula Wikstrom (Finland).
An unexpected mini tornado caused severe damage at Helsinki GC, Finland. Players were evacuated from the course after a tornado swirled over the course and lifted people and tented structures from the ground.
Two spectators and a competitor were taken to hospital with injuries after a large hospitality tent was completely lifted from its location in between the 4th and 7th greens and fifth and eighth tees.
Kirsty S. Taylor from England, who is in her fourth year as a professional on the Robe di Kappa Ladies European Tour (LET), suffered a minor head injury after she was struck on the back of the head by a pole while taking refuge inside the structure.
Eye witnesses said that, after being hit, a rope fell around Taylors neck, which she managed to release before it whipped backwards with force as the tent was blown down the fairway.
Several other players were shaken after being involved in the incident. Linda Wessberg from Sweden was struck on the arm by a flying tent pole after turning a corner on the fifth fairway.
She said: The whole tent was coming straight at me.
Tournament officials were given no warning as to the severe weather conditions and only rain showers were expected. However, forecasters later predicted more severe weather for the afternoon and hence the tournament was cancelled after 36 holes, with the final results those at the end of the second round of the tournament.
Sorensen, the surprise winner, who was previously 108th on the LET Money list, was somewhat confused after the incident, which shook up many players.
Im not really sure how to react, Sorensen said. Im happy to win but sorry that it had to happen this way.
Yvonne Cassidy, the Tournament Director, made the decision to evacuate the course at the first opportunity.
She said: I was on the third tee when all of a sudden, just out of nowhere, the tornado whipped up in the trees and started moving fast towards the Piccadilly. Thats when I started screaming in the radios to evacuate the course because it was wicked. It was not a pretty sight.
One eye witness said: The temperature just dropped and then you suddenly saw the clouds whirling around above you and everything started getting sucked up.
Local player Minea Blomqvist, who was playing the first hole at the time, said: 'Im just glad that more people werent injured. Its not the sort of thing that ever happens in Finland.
Sorensen, the eventual champion, had not yet teed off in the third round when the course was evacuated.
Having been struggling to keep playing privileges in 2006, Sorensen can now relax in the knowledge that she will be exempt for three years on the LET and will be included in the fields of some of the Tours most prestigious tournaments, such as the Weetabix Womens British Open and the Evian Masters.
The most important thing is that I get to keep my card, said the Dane, who admitted she had been nervous and had taken some advice from fellow country woman Iben Tinning the night before. I never expected to have a victory this year.
When I saw Kirsty coming in I was shaken and I felt very sorry for her and for all the other players who were crying.
Sorensen heads to the Nykredit Masters in her home country of Denmark as a champion next week, where her win may just begin to hit home.