Ariya Jutanugarn is heading back to East Lothian this summer to defend her title in the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open.
The Thai star claimed the coveted crown at Gullane last year and is now looking forward to a visit to The Renaissance Club as it hosts the $1.5 million event for the first time on 8-11 August.
“Every victory for me is special but to win in the ‘Home of Golf’ is something every golfer wants to achieve in their career,” said Jutanugarn, the world No 4 and a two-time major winner.
“The Scottish fans were so supportive last year and they really spurred me on when it was tight down the closing holes.
“Aberdeen Standard Investments and Visit Scotland put on an amazing tournament and I’m looking forward to defending my title at The Renaissance Club.”
Jutanugarn is set to be joined in the star-studded field by home favourite Catriona Matthew and last year’s Women’s British Open winner, Georgia Hall.
Matthew is bidding to claim the prize for a third time, having triumphed in 2011 and 2013 at neighbouring Archerfield Links.
“I always look forward to playing in my home open, it’s one of my favourite events of the year so from a personal perspective, my goals this year are no different,” said the North Berwick woman.
“The tournament means a lot to me and to win so close to home and in front of friends and family is an exciting prospect.”
The co-sanctioned tournament is the final Solheim Cup qualifying event for Team Europe with the full team announced at Gleneagles on 12 August.
“I will certainly be keeping an eye on who is performing well with my Solheim Cup captain’s hat on though as this event is the last in a 24 month qualification process and I will be looking to take the strongest team possible to Gleneagles,” added Matthew.
The presence of Jutanugarn, Matthew and Hall on Scotland’s Golf Coast was welcomed by both Aberdeen Standard Investments chairman Martin Gilbert and Paul Bush, director of events with VisitScotland.
“We are pleased to welcome Ariya back to defend her Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open title,” said Gilbert.
“We always strive to host the world’s best international champions and Ariya, Catriona and Georgia certainly fit the bill.
“Ariya has won titles all around the world and her performance last year proved just how strong the women’s professional game is right now.
“In only the third year of co-sanctioning with the LPGA and LET the tournament is continuing to grow and showcase the world’s best talent to not only Scottish spectators but to a global audience.”
Bush added: “This is further evidence that The Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open is one of the most highly regarded tournaments on both the LPGA and LET schedules and a key contributor to Scotland’s commitment to staging the 2019 Solheim Cup at Gleneagles.
“As the final qualifying event for Team Europe and penultimate for Team USA spectators can expect to see the world’s best player’s visit Scotland, the Home of Golf this summer.”