Next month’s Ladies Scottish Open is shaping up to have the strongest field in its history, with no fewer than 22 of the world’s top-50 golfers confirmed to take part.
Of those, three are ranked within the top-10, led by world No.4 Nasa Hataoka of Japan. American major champ Danielle Kang, the world No.5, will make her first visit to Scotland since last year’s Solheim Cup at Gleneagles, with world No.8 Minjee Lee of Australia also making the trip.
All told, seven of the current top -10 players on the LPGA Race to CME and all of the top 20 on the final 2019 LET Order of Merit will feature as the Ladies European Tour makes its return from COVID-19 lockdown at The Renaissance Club in East Lothian.
Two of the four invitations have also been announced today, with Hinako Shibuno – the reigning AIG Women’s British Open’s champion – making her first-ever trip to Scotland.
Shibuno, known as the ‘Smiling Cinderella’ in her native Japan, said: “I am very thankful to receive an invite to play in the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open and to be given the opportunity to play on a British links course for the first time at The Renaissance Club.
“Last year’s experience at Woburn truly felt like I was part of a fairytale and now I am really looking forward to my next adventures in Scotland.”
Scotland’s Catriona Matthew is also the beneficiary of an invitation as a two-time winner of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open in 2011 and 2013 and a Women’s British Open winner in 2009.
Last September, Matthew captained the European Solheim Cup side to victory at Gleneagles and she will be surrounded by some familiar faces at The Renaissance Club. No fewer than 16 players who were involved in that match are in the field, including vice-captain Dame Laura Davies, as well as four-time major winner Stacy Lewis, who was slated to play for the US side before an injury saw her take up a vice-captain role instead.
Matthew said: “It’s been a while since I have needed an invite to get into an event so I am really grateful to Aberdeen Standard Investments and VisitScotland.
“It’s been such a strange few months and it has definitely put golf into perspective but, at the same time, I am starting to get pretty excited about getting out and competing again and also seeing everyone again and welcoming them back to Scotland from a socially safe distance!”
This year’s tournament is going ahead as a made-for-TV event following close consultation and collaboration, with the Scottish Government, Aberdeen Standard Investments, VisitScotland, the LPGA and the LET fully adhering to internationally-recognised COVID-19 protocol.
The decision to go ahead with the 2020 Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open was only taken once organisers and stakeholders could ensure delivery of an event with all relevant safeguarding and protocols in place.
The tournament has a robust operational plan, which has been established with medical and health and safety specialists to make sure that all appropriate measures are in place that meet the high standards required by the Scottish Government as well as adhering to all WHO guidelines.