South African Brandon Stone missed from eight feet to shoot the first 59 on the European Tour when winning the men’s version just under a fortnight ago and, despite some rain since then, the East Lothian course is still playing largely defenceless as Scotland’s balmy summer continues.
“I think so,” said bubby Aberdonian Thomson, one of seven Scots in the world-class field, in reply to being asked if low-scoring was on the cards again this week. “I think we can do it as well. Our tees are not as far back and, if you are hitting the ball well, I don’t see why someone can’t go really low this week.
“As dry as it is, the ball runs forever, so it is not playing particularly long. For us Scots, though, we need a bit of wind to blow. Benign conditions favour the girls who are firing it in at the pins. We want a test where it requires a bit of imagination and seeing us having to bounce it short and play different clubs off tees.”
Thomson aims to “go out and believe in myself” in her home Open, which Gemma Dryburgh is hoping can be a turning point in her rookie season on the LPGA Tour. “It’s not been how I’d like to have started my LPGA career,” she said of making just two cuts in 14 events, “but it’s been a learning experience and I wouldn’t have changed anything. Everything is new to me and I’m trying to improve all the time.
“This is a tournament I’ve been looking forward to since January and it would be good to get some money on both Order of Merits this week. I played in the British Girls, the Girls Home Internationals and the Mackie Bowl here as an amateur and good memories are always helpful.”
“My goal for the week would be a top 10. I’ve got to qualify on Monday for next week’s Women’s British Open, so that would probably get me in (the winner on Sunday and also top three LET members not otherwise exempt will secure spots at Royal Lytham).”
Two-time winner and long-time Gullane member Catriona Matthew, 2012 champion Carly Booth, Kelsey MacDonald, Kylie Henry and Vikki Laing are the other Saltire bearers in the $1.5m event.