Catriona Matthew is hoping a Solheim Cup success for Europe in Des Moines next month can help get the Ladies European Tour “back on its feet”.
LET bosses denied claims last month that it was on the brink of collapse after five tournaments were cancelled this season.
They pointed to the £1.2 million Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open at Dundonald Links being the start of a strong schedule for the second half of the season.
Speaking at the Ayrshire venue, where she spearheads a nine-strong home challenge, Matthew said: “I think there’s a lot of good European players.
“The European Tour is perhaps struggling a little bit at the moment, but hopefully a good Solheim Cup can boost it again and hopefully get it back on its feet.”
Prize-money for this week’s event has been trebled on the back of the event being co-sanctioned by the LPGA, with Matthew being joined the field by the likes of Lydia Ko, Michelle Wie and world No 1 So Yeon Ryu.
“I think it’s great that it’s co-sanctioned now, and I also think’s it great the way Aberdeen have it, where it’s following the men’s Scottish Open on the same courses,” added the Scottish No 1.
“That really raises the profile for the ladies’ game. And obviously it will be great to see it at Gullane next year.
“Ideally, we’d like it the same in tennis, same as the men, but we’re heading in that direction. “It’s good for women’s golf in Scotland for young girls to see the top female professionals and see it’s a sport.
“Overall women’s sports in Britain are starting to get more coverage. The bigger events we get and more coverage we get, hopefully it encourages girls to take up sports.”
Patrick Reed has his sights set on a first victory of the year as he tees it up in Germany today for the first time in his career at the Porsche European Open.
The US Ryder Cup star is among a strong field in Hamburg as Green Eagle Golf Course plays host to the event for the first time.
Reed, a five-time PGA Tour winner, is hoping to be back in the winner’s circle after spending two weeks in Europe at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open and The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.
“I felt like I did a lot of things really well last week that I can carry over to this week and hopefully play some solid golf and get a chance on Sunday,” he said.
“I feel like I have actually been playing better than I did last year and I’m just not getting the results I want.
“Hopefully this is that week that I can get it on the right side and instead of finishing 10th or 15th I can get the win.”
American Pat Perez has joined the European Tour as an affiliate member for the remainder of the 2017 season.
Perez, who is playing in this week’s Porsche European Open in Germany, has won twice on the US PGA Tour, with his most recent victory coming earlier this season in the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in November.
The 41-year-old follows compatriot Kevin Na and Japan’s Hideto Tanihara in taking up affiliate membership with the European Tour this season.
“It’s probably the first time I have been in a position to do become a European Tour member in my career,” said Perez.
“I’ve always stayed in the US. So I figured, after I won and got to the top 50 in the world, I might try and travel a bit and see some new parts of the world and play against other great players.
“I wanted to play the European Tour and become more of a global player. I am going to try and broaden my horizons, go to places such as Dubai and Malaysia, and see where I fall.”
Bathgate’s Joe Bryce won the Faldo Series Scottish Championship after pipping James Wilson of Balmore by virtue of a better last round.
The pair tied on 212, one-under-par, after 54 holes at The Duke’s outside St Andrews, with Bryce claiming top spot on the strength of a closing 70, one less than Wilson.
Haggs Castle’s Jennifer Rankin won the girls’ event with a 228 aggregate.
Conor O’Neil (Mearns Castle Golf Academy) is the top Scot after the opening round of the PGA EuroPro Tour’s Matchroom Sport Championship at Luton Hoo.
He’s sitting joint-ninth after a four-under 69, three shots behind the pacesetters - English trio Billy Hemstock, Luke Johnson and Hugo Dobson, as well as Welshman James Frazer.
North Berwick’s Clara Young is the leading Scot, sitting just outside the top 20, after opening with a level-par 72 in the European Women’s Amateur Championship in Lausanne.
The former Scottish Women’s champion is four shots behind the pacesetter, Zhen Bontan of the Netherlands.
Last year’s Scottish Boys’ champion Eric McIntish (Bruntsfield Links) is just four shots off the lead after two rounds in the Carris Trophy.
McIntish has opened with rounds of 66 and 68 to sit on two-under in the English Under-18 Boys’ Open Stroke-Play Championship at West Sussex.
Braid Hills pro Paul McKechnie and Gavin Hay (Grantown on Spey) shot matching one-under 69s to share top spot in the Panmure Pro-Am on the Tartan Tour.