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In a season of golfing drama, the AIG Women’s Open promises to be a standout attraction.

Taking place in St Andrews, August 21-25, it’s the third time the major has been held at golf’s most famous venue and the first since 2013.

Nothing inspires a player quite like the Old Course. It’s rich mix of history with a layout that demands patience and every shot in the book means it always attracts stellar fields. Every star with ambitions of greatness wants to add winning at the home of golf to their CV. That’s because when you step out at St Andrews, you know you’re following in the footsteps of the legends of the sport.

This year that’s going to be extra special, as an international field of the world’s best women golfers takes to the famous fairways. The women’s game is noteworthy for its global strength in depth and this year’s winner could come from countries as diverse as the USA, Sweden, England, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Korea, China or Japan.

Whoever wins though will have to bring a mix of precise shotmaking, careful strategy and steely nerve. So, who fits that bill?

We’ve picked out seven stars who we think you should be watching.

Nelly Korda

players AIG Women's Open
Nelly Korda

Forget Bryson Dechambeau and Scottie Scheffler, no one has had a hotter run in the world of golf this year than Nelly.

The world number one landed six titles in seven events in an inspired stretch from late January to mid-May that included winning her second major at the Chevron Championship.

Blessed with perhaps the sweetest swing in the game, the 25-year-old comes from a talented sporting family. Mum and dad Petr and Regina were both tennis professionals. Petr was the 1998 Australian Open champion and reached world number two. Sister Jessica is a fellow golf pro, who has played on the US Solheim Cup team with Nelly. Brother Sebastian is a tennis pro who has ranked in the world’s top 30.

Nelly has had a brief slump in form recently that included a missed cut at the US Open and a disastrous 81 to miss the cut at the KPMG Women’s PGA. But form is temporary, and class is permanent.

She recently triumphed in five straight events between January and April, a sequence that included the Chevron Championship, the second major title of her career. Having tied Nancy Lopez and Annika Sörenstam for the most consecutive LPGA Tour wins, Korda went on to win the recent Mizuho Americas Open, which took her strike rate to an astonishing six in seven starts.

Korda has been to St Andrews, but she has never played the Old Course and would love nothing more than to win another major title when the AIG Women’s Open is staged there from August 21-25. So, it would be brave to bet against the 2021 Olympic champ, who is the one to beat every time she tees it up.

Linn Grant

Swedish sensation Grant has twice triumphed over the men in the Volvo Car Scandinavian Mixed. The most recent occasion saw her come from 11 shots behind compatriot Sebastian Soderberg in the final round with a superb 65 in early June. That saw her become the first woman to win twice on the DP World Tour and cemented her status as one of the world’s premier players.

The 24-year-old has already won 12 times since turning pro in 2018 and has steadily risen to her current spot of 27. Named Rookie of the Year in 2022, Grant has won five times on the LET and recently picked up her first title across the pond when she triumphed at the Dana Open last month.

One of the purest strikers of a ball in the world, the sky’s the limit for Grant, who also won three out of five points in her Solheim Cup debut last year.

Georgia Hall

Hall has described St Andrews as “my favourite place to be” and the former AIG Women’s Open champion will no doubt be relishing the thought of competing on the most famous links test.

The 28-year-old English star has a great record when the major takes place on a seaside layout, landing the title in 2018 at Royal Lytham before coming second to Anna Nordqvist at Carnoustie in 2021. She also finished third behind In-Kyung Kim at Kingsbarns in 2017 and has had three top-10 finishes in the Evian Championship.

Always a player for the big occasion, she has been awarded an MBE for services to golf and has been a regular in the Solheim Cup since her debut in 2017.

Leona Maguire

players AIG Women's Open
Leona Maguire

Leona Maguire held the world No.1 amateur ranking for a record 135 weeks between May 2015 and February 2018, a record later broken by Rose Zhang in April 2023. Alongside her twin sister Lisa, she represented Europe in the Junior Ryder Cup and two Junior Solheim Cups before they both turned professional in 2018.

A highlight of her amateur career was winning the Smyth Salver at the 2016 AIG Women’s Open at Woburn, where she finished tied for 25th.

In her professional career, Maguire’s joint sixth-place finish at the 2021 Evian Championship included a remarkable closing 10-under 61, tying the lowest-ever round in a major. This performance earned her a wild card pick for the Solheim Cup, where she was instrumental in Europe’s victory, securing 4½ points out of five, the best-ever performance by a cup rookie.

She continued to excel in 2022, tying for fourth at the AIG Women’s Open at Muirfield with a final round 66. Maguire is also a two-time winner on the LPGA Tour, winning the 2022 Drive On Championship and the 2023 Meijer LPGA Classic.

Hinako Shibuno

players AIG Women's Open
Hinako Shibuno

Japan’s Hinako knows how to make an entrance, having won the AIG Women’s Open on her major debut and her first foray outside of her home country in 2019. Since then, she’s been tied fourth at the Chevron Championship in 2022 and was also fourth at the US Women’s Open in 2020 before finishing second in the same championship earlier this year.

She’s also had six wins on the Japan LPGA Tour and has an obvious love of contending in the big events.

A third-place finish at the AIG Women’s Open at Muirfield in 2022, to add to her 2019 win, shows she’s a specialist at this championship and likes links golf. So, watch out for the “Smiling Cinderella” come August.

Minjee Lee

Minjee Lee

At the halfway point of the 2021 Amundi Evian Championship, Minjee Lee was ten strokes behind and still seven adrift of Jeongeun Lee6 with 18 holes to go. She came up with the round of her life – a seven-under 64 – to force a play-off before winning her maiden major title at the first extra hole.

It came only two weeks after her younger brother Min Woo Lee captured the DP World Tour’s Scottish Open. The siblings are both former US Junior champions and as an amateur, Minjee reached world number one and led Australia to victory in the Women’s World Amateur Team Championship, finishing second leading individual behind Brooke Henderson.

Lee claimed the US Women’s Open title in June 2022 for her second major victory, Mina Harigae being four strokes back in second place, and three weeks later was joint runner-up in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, a stroke behind In Gee Chun. She then went on to beat Alison Lee on the first hole of a play-off to win the BMW Ladies Championship in South Korea in October 2023.

Lee’s best finish at the AIG Women’s Open is third, at Royal Troon in 2020, but she has finished in the top five in three of the last four years, including a tie for fourth at Muirfield in 2022.

Jin Young Ko

Another Korean major champion, Jin Young is one of the most consistent performers on the LPGA Tour after enjoying a remarkable rise to the top of the sport.

The Seoul-born star became only the second player in history to win her first tournament on the LPGA Tour after she captured the 2018 ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open. She was named Rookie of the Year that season before winning two major championships – the ANA Inspiration and Evian Championship – in 2019. That saw her land the LPGA Rolex Player of the Year title and she went on to top the money list for the next two seasons.

Not one of the game’s power hitters, Jin Young nevertheless holds the record for number of weeks at world number one with 163. Her style is characterised by accuracy and strategic play. That’s something that could well see her excel over the Old Course where length matters less than avoiding the deadly pot bunkers.

Those are our seven players to watch, but there’s a host of other major talents who could be lifting the trophy come Sunday 25 August. So, now that we have whetted your appetite, go online and book your tickets to the AIG Women’s Open.

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