Sally Watson and Pamela Pretswell are preparing to represent Scotland in the World Ladies Championship, which starts on Thursday at Mission Hills Dongguan in China.
The tournament is primarily a 72-hole individual strokeplay event, but also features a team competition, based on the combined scores of 15 pairs from different countries.
Pretswell finished sixth in the individual competition when it was staged at Mission Hills Resort Haikou last year and is feeling confident ahead of the fifth edition at a new venue.
The 26-year-old from Hamilton made a strong start to her 2016 campaign and was lying in a tie for third position heading into the final round of the ISPS HANDA New Zealand Women’s Open at Clearwater Golf Club in Christchurch before being forced to retire with a back injury after six holes on the Sunday.
However she recovered in time for the RACV Ladies Masters at Royal Pines in Queensland, where she was able to post an eighth place finish, moving into 23rd place on the Ladies European Tour Order of Merit.
Pretswell said: “I was looking forward to this tournament anyway, as I always love playing in China, but representing Scotland with Sally obviously makes the event even more exciting and we will do our best to raise the Saltire on the Sunday evening.”
Watson, who was also forced to withdraw from the ISPS HANDA New Zealand Women’s Open with a back injury, is looking forward to the challenge of playing on the Olazabal course for the first time.
The 25-year-old from St Andrews said: “I really enjoyed the experience of playing in last year’s World Ladies Championship and I am very excited to be representing Scotland again. I am also thrilled to have Pamela as my teammate, she is a great player and I think we will bring a strong team to this year’s tournament. I am sure we will both be hoping to make our country proud by putting in a strong performance and it would be amazing for us to add a team win to our résumés.”
The make-up of the 126-woman World Ladies Championship field includes 40 players from each of the Ladies European Tour, China LPGA Tour and Korean LPGA Tour as determined by their 2016 Exemption List as well as six invited players.
The format is 72 holes of stroke play, with individual players competing for the US$700,000 prize fund. The top world-ranked two players from each country as of 1st January will compete for the team prize fund of US$100,000, using combined stroke play scores.
First played in 2012, the list of former champions reads like a who’s who of women’s golf, with great names such as Shanshan Feng, Suzann Pettersen, Inbee Park and So Yeon Ryu having lifted the individual trophy. Feng led China to victory in the inaugural team competition but Korea has dominated the last three years.