Next month’s Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open is shaping up to be one of the biggest giveaways in Scottish sporting history, with this year’s two major winners having been added to a star-studded field for an event offering free admission at Gullane.
Taking place a fortnight after the men’s equivalent at the same venue, Swede Pernilla Lindberg and Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn have been confirmed for the 26-29 July showpiece, joining two other reigning major champions in Danielle Kang (KPMG Women’s PGA Championship) and IK Kim (Ricoh Women’s British Open).
Others already confirmed for the biggest women’s event by far to be staged on Scotland’s Golf Coast include Lydia Ko, a two-time major winner and the game’s youngest world No 1, as well as former US Open champion Michelle Wie and Catriona Matthew, the last British player to win a major in the 2009 Women’s British Open at Royal Lytham.
“We are delighted to see so many of the world’s best players signed up to play the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open at Gullane Golf Club this summer,” said Paul Bush, VisitScotland’s director of events. “The high calibre of field underlines the stature of the event and highlights the appeal that playing in Scotland, the home of golf, has for even the world’s top players.”
After fairly low-profile stagings previously, the event’s appeal has soared since Martin Gilbert, co-CEO of Aberdeen Standard Investments, led a push for it to be staged immediately before the Ricoh Women’s British Open, thereby mirroring the men’s game.
That move led to a co-sanctioning agreement being struck between the Ladies European Tour (LET) and Ladies Professional Golfers Association (LPGA), with this year’s event the second to be staged as part of an initial three-year agreement.
“We are delighted to welcome so many major champions to the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open and are excited with how the field is taking shape,” said Gilbert, a mad-keen golfer and a great supporter of the Scottish game in particular over the years. “Our vision was always to build a world-class international event and in only the second year of the co-sanctioning agreement between the Ladies European Tour and the LPGA, we are pleased to see that we are on the right track.”
Lindberg captured her first major after winning an eight-hole play-off in the ANA Inspiration in Calfornia in April. “I’ve always enjoyed coming to play the Ladies Scottish Open and facing the mental challenge of scoring under tough conditions,” she said. “Playing on a links course brings all sorts of new challenges we don’t see all year and it’s something I relish.”
Concurring, last month’s US Open winner Jutanugarn said: “It feels good to come back to play the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open. I know the conditions will be tough again this year and the weather will be challenging, but I am excited and looking forward to testing myself with the challenges that Gullane will bring.”
Conditions were certainly challenging last year at Dundonald Links, where Korea’s Mi Hyang Lee emerged victorious while compatriot Kim finished ninth before claiming her major victory at Kingsbarns in equally testing conditions the following week. “I can’t wait to come back to Scotland,” admitted Kim. “I definitely learned a lot from my week at the Ladies Scottish Open. I enjoy the challenge of links golf.”