Last week’s runner up at the Ricoh Women’s British Open, Katherine Hull of Australia, finished a stroke behind Yani Tseng at Royal Birkdale and will bring an international flavour to the tournament along with South Koreans In Kyung Kim, ranked 10th in the world, and Amy Yang, who tied for third and fifth at Birkdale respectively.
The charismatic and extrovert Christina Kim is a member of the Ladies European Tour and enjoyed her first night in Dublin on Sunday evening, with friends Kim Welch and Jeehae Lee.
Kim said: “We landed yesterday just around 12 hours ago and a couple of the girls and I went down to the Temple Bar area. We had a few bevies and partied it up a bit. It was the first time that I’ve been allowed outside the airport so it’s been an amazing experience.
“It’s a beautiful area and the land is incredible and the people have been so kind, so it’s been amazing. We just drove up here and it was breathtaking seeing the castle and seeing the miles and miles and miles of flower and foliage. I thought I saw Bambi back there, it was incredible. It’s absolutely stunning here.
“I’m feeling very good about my game and the fact that I felt like I had a bad week and managed to squeeze out a top ten in a major. That is a good sign so hopefully I’ll be able to come in and provide a little entertainment while being able to play well at the same time.”
Ireland will be well represented by professionals Hazel Kavanagh, Rebecca Coakley, Tara Delaney, Martina Gillen and Claire Coughlan-Ryan, who has been given an invitation to play after the birth of her first child.
Top Irish amateurs Danielle McVeigh, 22, from Royal County Down and the 15 year old prodigies Lisa and Leona Maguire from Slieve Russell, are also set to tee up. With all the talk about 15-year-old professional Alexis Thompson’s runner-up finish at the Evian Masters, it will be interesting to see how the twins test their skills against the best players in the world.
The three Irish Curtis Cup representatives who did Great Britain & Ireland proud in the recent matches in the USA are looking to emulate the example of Shane Lowry, who won the 2009 ‘3’ Irish Open as an amateur.
Set against the backdrop of Killeen Castle, whose history dates back to 1181, the Jack Nicklaus designed course, which opened in 2009, will play at 6311 yards for the tournament and is a par 72.
With a truly world class, international field of quality competitors, the event will clearly provide the perfect curtain raiser for The 2011 Solheim Cup. European Solheim Cup Captain Alison Nicholas and her vice-captain Joanne Morley will be present for the duration of the tournament, joined by US Captain Rosie Jones and her vice-captains Juli Inkster and Sherri Steinhauer, who are on site during the early part of the week.
The Maguire twins Lisa and Leona practising on the first green on Monday morning