THE Ladies Scottish Open at Dundonald Links is set to be a tasty appetiser for the Women’s British Open taking place at Turnberry the following week after a schedule move delivered some global stars in the first wave of player announcements for the Aberdeen Asset Management-sponsored event.
Suzann Pettersen, the Norwegian world No 8, has confirmed she will be in the line-up for part one of an intriguing double-header before trying to land a third major title on the Ailsa Course. So, too, have England’s Charley Hull, one of the game’s brightest young talents, and American Cheyenne Woods, Tiger’s niece but now carving out her own growing reputation in the sport.
The trio’s commitment, coupled with the fact they are likely to be joined by some other stellar names over the coming weeks, is proof that timing is, indeed, everything. During the five years that Archerfield Links staged it, the Ladies’ Scottish Open was held in both May and August. The East Lothian venue was one of the most popular among the membership of the Ladies European Tour, yet it always seemed to fall on Catriona Matthew’s shoulders to provide the star quality, something she was delighted to do, of course, in an event being played on the North Berwick woman’s doorstep.
With its new prized slot – the prize-money being increased to around £360,000 has also helped open a few more eyes – the tournament’s appeal has definitely been widened, something, of course, that happened with the men’s equivalent when it was moved to links venues in 2011 to help players prepare for the Open Championship.
“The Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open is one of the events I’m really looking forward to playing this year,” said Pettersen, winner of 21 titles worldwide, of her debut in the event. “The field is looking really strong and I’m sure a number of other players will consider playing Dundonald Links, as it provides the perfect preparation for the major a week later.”
Having used the Ladies European Tour to get a foothold in the game – she won in Australia last year – Woods has made a solid start in her rookie season on the LPGA Tour. Her uncle, of course, has a decent record on links courses and she is delighted to be getting the chance to play some seaside golf herself before the Ricoh-backed major at Turnberry this year.
Dundonald Links provides the perfect preparation for the major a week laterSuzann Pettersen
“Links golf in Scotland is completely different to anything I would find back in the United States, so it will be an exciting couple of weeks for me,” said the 24-year-old. “I am looking forward to carrying some confidence and preparation into the Women’s British Open.”
Hull’s preparation started on Tuesday, when she played the Ailsa Course during a media day for the LGU’s showpiece event. Her links teeth were cut as an amateur, having been just 15 when she played in a winning Great Britain & Ireland team in the 2012 Curtis Cup at Nairn.
“Playing in Scotland is always special and I have great memories of my time there as an amateur,” said last year’s LET Order of Merit winner. “A lot of players have told me good things about the unique (pro-am) format of the Ladies Scottish Open so I’m looking forward to making my debut and testing my links game in front of the Scottish golf fans.”
With more new names to come and two-times winner Matthew set to spearhead a home challenge that will also include Kylie Walker, Pamela Pretswell and Carly Booth, the event is set to move to an exciting new level.
“We knew the prospect of playing Dundonald Links a week ahead of the Women’s British Open would be a nice draw for some of the top players as it mirrors what we do with the men’s Scottish Open the week before The Open,” said AAM CEO Martin Gilbert.” We hope this double header of tournaments raises the profile of women’s golf.”