THE CREAM of world ladies’ golfing talent descended on Carnoustie this week when the Ricoh British Women’s Open came to town.
The 144-strong field have 675 tournament wins between them and 40 Major titles, so the golf on show over the four days is sure to be of a high standard.
Yani Tseng from Taiwan is defending her title, while home hopes lie with four Scots in the field, including Catriona Matthew, who famously took the crown in 2009, 11 weeks after giving birth to her daughter, Sophie.
The former champion is also the ambassador of Angus Council’s Carnoustie Country campaign, and she was delighted to be back on the course where she has played many times.
She said: “It’s great to be back here again. I played a lot here as an amateur and played the Scottish Ladies, so I’m looking forward to playing.
“I think it’s just probably one of the best links courses in Scotland.
“But obviously there are a lot of other golf courses in this area.
“Playing in America a lot that’s obviously where the bulk of visitors come from and we want to try and encourage them to come over and play, not just necessarily Carnoustie but Montrose and Monifieth and all the other good courses in the area.”
Catriona will be looking for her second British Women’s Open title but she will face stiff competition from defending champion Yani Tseng, who says she’s in a confident mood.
She explained: “I feel very confident right now and I feel comfortable.
“I played nine holes on Monday and I love this course.
I love links courses and I’m so excited to be here at the home of golf, I just can’t wait to go out and play.”
Benign conditions greeted the early starters in the first round yesterday (Thursday).
The sun shone and there was very little wind when Caroline Hedwall got things under way at 6.30 a.m.
Ladies’ golf legend Laura Davies was in the next group at 6.41 a.m., while Catriona Matthew was off at 6.52 a.m.
Michelle Wie got her campaign under way at 7.14 a.m., while the defending champion, Yani Tseng, was on the first at 11.59 a.m.
And being first off was no handicap to Hedwall. The Swede, winner of the Amateur Medal at Royal Birkdale last year, had a fine three under par round of 69 to take the early clubhouse lead.
And as we went to press, Matthew was also handily placed, finishing with a two under par 70, with American duo Brittany Lincicome and Angela Stanford leading the field on four under with four holes to play.
r Page 5 - Titanic breaks the ice.
r Page 37 - Fun pro-am gets things under way.