Eclectic mix for opening event on Ladies Open tour

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THE opening double-header on the new Scottish Ladies Open Tour – it tees off today at Marriott Dalmahoy before moving to neighbouring Ratho Park tomorrow – has attracted an eclectic mix.

Launched primarily to provide more competitive opportunities for home-based professionals with aspirations of making it on to the Ladies European Tour, that box has certainly been ticked at the first attempt.

The 24-strong field, for instance, contains Laura Murray, a new recruit to the professional ranks this season after capping a fine amateur career with victory in the Scottish Women’s Amateur Championship at Tain last year.

The Alford player, who has been mentored by Paul Lawrie over the past few years, has played in two events on the LET Access Series this season and will be aiming to use this brace of one-day tournaments on home soil to sharpen up her game.

The fields at the two venues on the outskirts of Edinburgh also include Vikki Laing, who partnered Catriona Matthew in Scotland’s team at the Nations Cup in Spain just over two years ago but lost her full card for the LET at the end of last season and was unable to secure a spot in this week’s South African Women’s Open, .

Heather MacRae, Gemma Webster and Pamela Feggans are in the same boat in terms of needing somewhere to play at the moment due to their LET card categories and they’re being joined at the start of the ground-breaking Scottish circuit by a handful of players who, by the looks of things, could be trying to resurrect their careers.

Krystle Caithness, who secured a spot on the LET after a hugely successful amateur career but then disappeared from the scene for a spell, is making her first competitive appearance under her married name – Faulkner – while the line-up also includes Heather Stirling and Michele Thomson.

A member of the Great Britain & Ireland team for the 2008 Curtis Cup at St Andrews – Caithness also played in that event, as did Carly Booth – Thomson became disillusioned with the game after joining the professional ranks and the absence of a circuit like this new one at that stage of her career might well have been a contributory factor.

Giving leading amateurs the chance to test themselves against professionals was another reason a tremendous effort has gone into SLOT being launched and those taking that chance today include Jessica Meek, last year’s SLGA Girls’ Order of Merit winner, as well as Jane Turner and Alyson McKechin.