Recent winner Beth Allen (right) with caddie Sophie Gustafson at The Buckinghamshire
A fortnight after claiming her maiden LET title at the ISPS HANDA Ladies European Masters, American Beth Allen is now targeting a unique UK double with victory at the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open, starting on Friday.
“The win has certainly given me confidence in my golf and I’m hoping it shows in Scotland,” said Allen, 33, from San Diego in California.
The Falkirk based player is now ranked third on the Ladies European Tour order of merit, behind Gwladys Nocera and Melissa Reid. She is excited to return to Dundonald Links on Scotland’s west coast, in North Ayrshire, where she finished third in a Paul Lawrie Ladies Tartan Tour event last June.
“I’m looking forward to playing links again in competition. I’m really excited to go back because the AAM Scottish Open is my home away from home event so I’ll have some support and that is always nice. Scotland is a special place for most golf lovers. It’s the home of golf and playing links there is kind of magic. It’s so different from playing where I am from in the States and that makes it exciting.”
The quality of the course, increased prize money of €500,000 and timing of the event, one week before the Ricoh Women’s British Open at nearby Turnberry, has drawn an impressive cast including Lydia Ko and Suzann Pettersen, the world’s second and seventh ranked women golfers respectively.
“The field is incredibly strong this year at the AAM Scottish Open and that is great. Any time a Ladies European Tour event draws players like Lydia Ko over its exciting,” said Allen.
The event’s unique pro-am format sees 80 amateurs and celebrities tee it up alongside a limited field of 80 of the top female golfers in the world. The 54-hole tournament is played over three days and is the only annual professional Ladies European Tour event in Scotland.
“Being a pro am format the AAM Scottish is different but I think a change is good every once in a while. Meeting new people is something about golf that I really enjoy and that always happens for me at the Scottish. It’s also fun to be part of a team and not just be playing for ourselves.”
As well as an amateur partner, Allen will also have Sophie Gustafson by her side as caddie for the second time. Gustafson’s links experience includes winning the Women’s British Open at Royal Birkdale in 2000 and she also won the Ladies Scottish Open at The Carrick on Loch Lomond in 2007.
Allen added: “It will definitely be great to have Sophie on the bag again. She has a lot of good experiences on links and I think that will be a big asset the next two weeks. Sophie’s best advice to me during the LEM was to basically be confident in myself and not worry about anyone else. These are things we are told by our coaches all of the time but sometimes in the moment coming from a 26 time winner I listen a little bit better!”
Gustafson is one of three vice-captains to European skipper Carin Koch for September’s Solheim Cup matches against the USA and Allen says that she supports both teams.
“The Solheim is always a difficult question for me. Of course, I’m a proud American and if the opportunity arose to represent my country it would be a huge honour but I do love the LET and those who represent it on the Solheim squad. I also have friends that play on the American side so usually I say I just support my friends in general and may the best team win!”
The Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open is a key date in the qualification process for The Solheim Cup, which takes place in Germany from September 18.