Strongest ever field faced with an extra challenge on the first day’s play of the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open at Dundonald Links.

Aberdeen Asset Management together with the Scottish Government and North Ayrshire Council has come up with a novel idea to encourage greater enthusiasm for maths. Competitors at this year’s Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open have had to use their arithmetic skills to navigate the course on the first day of play, as the 18 pin flags all have mathematic calculations depicting their number.

The Scottish Government’s ‘Making Maths Count’ initiative ran a competition for primary and secondary schools across North Ayrshire to come up with the calculations to be printed on the flags. A panel of four judges from the competition organisers selected their favourite calculations to be used at the Championships.

Scottish Government Minister for Public Health and Sport, Aileen Campbell was joined by Maureen McKenna, Chair of the Making Maths Count Group, Elma Murray the Chief Executive of North Ayrshire Council as well as Freya Barclay, a pupil from Ardrossan Academy who provided the calculation for the 16th pin flag to discuss the competition and see the calculations on display at Dundonald Links. World no.1 So Yeon Ryu headlines the strongest ever Ladies Scottish Open field that includes five of the worlds top ten as well as major Champions, Suzann Pettersen, Michelle Wie and early leader, Karrie Webb who set this pace with a 7-under 65.

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Aileen Campbell, Minister for Sport said: “Involving young people in an event like the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open is an exciting and creative way to showcase how valuable maths skills are to us all and how young people themselves are encouraging others to engage with our Making Maths Count campaign.

“To see the work of these Ayrshire pupils on display for a worldwide sporting audience is wonderful and it has been great to join Freya and other young people to see their work on the Making Maths Count campaign on display across the championship.

“Linking up with such a prestigious event helps us encourage young people to take an interest and really demonstrates that maths skills are a vital part of everyday life.”

The competition was a great way for the young people to apply their maths skills in the context of sport and the removal of the regular 1-18 pin flags certainly made the full 156 player field, that includes nine Scots pay extra attention during their rounds.

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Scotland’s two-time Ladies Scottish Open winner Catriona Matthew said: “It was interesting to see such creative calculations used on the pin flags at Dundonald today and I’m sure quite a few of them probably caught a few of the players by surprise! Any initiative that can link schooling with sport is great and hats off to the organisers for thinking of something different here at the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open.”

Aberdeen Asset Management Chief Executive, Martin Gilbert, is represented on the Scottish Government’s Making Maths Count expert group. He said: “I am delighted that through our sponsorships of both the men’s and ladies’ Scottish Opens we could do our bit to make maths more engaging for pupils which is absolutely crucial. I was lucky enough to have an inspirational maths teacher at school and that has certainly been of huge benefit to me throughout my career. Initiatives of this kind raise awareness of the importance of these essential skills and I’m delighted Aberdeen Asset Management is contributing to the Making Maths Count initiative.”

Making Maths Count is a Scottish Government initiative to encourage greater enthusiasm for maths amongst children and young people, their parents and carers and the wider public.

North Ayrshire Council, Chief Executive, Elma Murray said: “We’re delighted to be supporting this fantastic initiative which has really helped engage our young people with maths in a local and fun way. All our winners will be thrilled to see their flags on display during the event.”

Taking place the week before the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Kingsbarns in 2017, the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open, from 27-30 July, kicks off a superb two weeks of links golf in Scotland. The back-to-back stretch of events echoes the successful strategy employed by the Men’s Scottish Open taking place the week before The Open – an approach proven to be a competitive advantage for those players competing in both Championships. The Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open is also a key element of Scotland’s commitments to the staging of The 2019 Solheim Cup at Gleneagles.

Watch the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open LIVE on Sky Sports on Thursday/Friday from 14:00-17:00 and Saturday/Sunday from 15:00-18:00.

For further information, please visit: https://ladiesscottishopen.com/ or follow the event at @AberdeenLSO