Henderson Rookie Caroline Hedwall, who has won twice on the LET so far

The privilege of hitting the first shot of the 2011 Ricoh Women’s British Open goes to Swede, Caroline Hedwall, who tees up at 06.30 in the company of compatriot, Anna Nordqvist, and amateur, Sophia Popov from Germany, the reigning European Ladies’ Amateur champion.

Both Hedwall and Nordqvist are now successful professionals but have warm memories of competing in this Championship as amateurs. Nordqvist won the Smyth Salver, awarded to the leading amateur who completes 72 holes, in 2008, while Hedwall claimed the same award while finishing tied-12th behind Yani Tseng at Royal Birkdale twelve months ago.

Henderson Rookie Hedwall has subsequently gone on to make a spectacular start to her career in the professional ranks and currently holds a substantial lead on the LET’s Rolex Rookie of the Year table, having won twice in 11 starts at the Allianz Ladies Slovak Open and the Finnair Masters. She also tied for 12th at the Evian Masters last week in France and is ranked third on the LET’s Henderson Money List.

The 22-year-old from Barsebäck won the LET’s Qualifying School in December and also took the New South Wales Open on her pro debut at the Australian Ladies Professional Golf Tour event in January.

She won the PowerPlay Golf event at Celtic Manor against a sterling field containing many of the world’s best male golfers straight after her victory in Slovakia and tied for second the following week in Holland.

On account of her recent performances, she is highly likely to earn a place on Europe’s Solheim Cup team when the 12th edition of the event takes place at Killeen Castle in Ireland from 23-25 September.

Hedwall has already achieved many of the same feats as Nordqvist and making her Solheim Cup debut as a rookie would add to her considerable curriculum vitae.

Hedwall is looking forward to playing at Carnoustie Golf Links for the first time, despite the early tee time and she said, “I’d rather be the first off than the last!”

This year, Popov, who is currently ranked No. 6 on the official Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking and is a student at the University of Southern California, is one of six amateurs in this year’s 144-woman field. The others are England’s Lauren Taylor, who earlier this year became the youngest-ever winner of the Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championship at the age of 16, 2010 US Women’s Amateur champion Danielle Kang, Scot Pamela Pretswell who won the 2010 British Women’s Open Amateur Championship, plus qualifiers Nikki Foster from England and Stephanie Meadow from Northern Ireland.