|From left: Carly Booth, Catriona Matthew, Pamela Pretswell, Sally Watson and Kylie Walker pose in front of Fidra Island at Archerfield Links on Thursday|
A number of celebrities will tee off alongside the world’s best women golfers at this week’s Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open presented by EventScotland, being held for the fifth consecutive year at Archerfield Links in East Lothian, from 29-31 August.
Two competitions are being held concurrently over the three-day tournament: firstly, a 54-hole strokeplay tournament for the field of 72 professionals and secondly, a better-ball Pro-Am team competition is played simultaneously whereby the best score between the professional and her amateur partner is taken at each hole. After two rounds, a cut will be made to the leading 50 professionals and those tied, as well as to the top 15 teams competing in the Pro-Am. This means that an amateur player could experience the thrill of competing in the last group on the final day.
Sporting stars in the field include last year’s leading amateur, ex-footballer and BBC pundit Alan Hansen and former Scotland rugby captains Rory Lawson and Gavin Hastings. Hollywood actor Dougray Scott (star of Enigma, Ever After and Mission: Impossible II) will also take to the fairways along with BBC Breakfast News presenter Naga Munchetty, who said: “It’s great to have been invited to the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open. The unusual format of the tournament, with it being a pro-am for the entire three days, is a great opportunity for us amateur golfers to learn from the ladies at the top of their profession. Archerfield is a fantastic golf club and hopefully I can make it through the weekend and be in contention for the amateur award on Sunday!”
Scotland’s Catriona Matthew defends the title she has won twice in the last three years. She finished on eight-under-par 12 months ago ending two strokes over England’s Hannah Burke. This week is unlike any other for Matthew, because she can stay at home in nearby North Berwick and take her two young daughters to school and swimming lessons: “I fit the golf in around about it!” she commented.
This event has been won by Scottish players for the last three years as Carly Booth earned her maiden Ladies European Tour title at the same venue in 2012. The only other winner at Archerfield was Virginie Lagoutte-Clement of France who won on the LET’s first visit to the facility in 2010.
Of the nine Scottish players in the field, Kylie Walker is enjoying a breakthrough season with two play-off victories on the LET this summer, in Holland and Germany. She would love to make it a hat-trick in front of a home gallery.
“It would be very special, I would absolutely love it,” said Walker, continuing: “It’s such a fun format playing with the amateurs and it makes us pros a bit more relaxed than a normal tournament week. Archerfield is a first class golf facility, one of the best in Scotland. The Fidra Course is a really good test, especially if the wind picks up, so I can’t wait.”
Entrance and car parking is free for spectators throughout the tournament and the leading Scottish players will tee off from 11:50-12:10 in the first round on Friday, with earlier starting times from 7.30am on Saturday. The defending champion, Catriona Matthew, will play alongside the 2012 winner Carly Booth for the first two rounds, starting at 12:10 from the first on Friday and 7:50 from the 10th on Saturday.
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