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Carnoustie in great shape for first women’s pro event
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Yani Tseng, the defending champion and current World No.1, heads an outstanding field at the Ricoh Women’s British Open, to be staged for the first time over the formidable Championship course at Carnoustie on July 28th – 31st, 2011.

Tseng, who claimed last year’s title at Royal Birkdale, and this year has won twice on the LPGA Tour and twice on the Ladies European Tour, will be joined by World No. 2 Cristie Kerr and World No. 3 Suzann Pettersen in a stellar field that also includes former champion and World No. 4 Jiyai Shin, the resurgent Australian Karrie Webb, former teenage sensation Michele Wei, and American Stacy Lewis, who won the first of this year’s Majors, the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

The home challenge will be headed by Scotland’s Catriona Matthew, who produced the form of her life when she won the 2009 Ricoh Women’s British Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes. Also present will be England’s Karen Stupples, who won the title at Sunningdale in 2004, and her compatriot, the legendary Laura Davies, the veteran former US and British Open champion who needs just one further Major title to earn a deserved place in the women’s World Golf Hall of Fame.

Other entrants include Japanese sensation, Ai Miyazato, charismatic Americans Paula Creamer, Morgan Pressel and Britanny Lincicome, plus a host of young European stars.

“I can safely say that local Scottish fans are in for a treat,” said Carnoustie Golf Links Management Committee General Manager, Graeme Duncan, whose team is looking forward to hosting the Championship for the first time.

“It isn’t every day Scottish fans get the chance to see the top women golfers in action and this year the Championship promises to be even more special with 2009 winner and Edinburgh girl, Catriona Mathew, bidding to regain the title in front of her home fans.”

Carnoustie breaks new ground this summer, becoming just the third venue, after Royal Lytham & St Annes and Turnberry, to stage the Open Championship, the Senior Open Championship presented by MasterCard and the Ricoh Women’s Open Championship. The Championship also marks the first time Carnoustie has hosted a women’s professional event of any kind.

“This is a major milestone for us and we plan to do everything we can to ensure the Championship is an outstanding success,” confirmed Duncan.

“The good news is that the course is already in excellent shape, despite the harsh winter weather we endured. Recently, a representative from the Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI) came up to do our annual course assessment and he has subsequently reported back to confirm the condition, presentation and playing performance of the golf course was superb.”

“I should add that summation tallies with the feedback we have been receiving from both visitors and local golfers. The course is in exceptional shape and, given decent weather in the interim, can only get better before all the leading women golfers arrive here at the end of next month.”

The build up to the 2011 Ricoh Women’s British Open coincides with the welcome news that all three of Carnoustie’s courses have earned a place in Golf Digest’s most recent list of the Top 50 Links in Great Britain and Ireland.

The world’s top-selling golf magazine named the Championship course as the ninth best course in GB & I and then reinforced Carnoustie’s reputation as one of Britain’s top golf centres by also listing its Buddon course at No. 39 and the Burnside course at No. 41. The listing heralds Carnoustie as the only town in GB & I to boast three courses within the top-50. Furthermore, with nearby Montrose being named in 49th place on the list, it provides a graphic illustration of the standard of courses to be found in Carnoustie Country.

This year’s Ricoh Women’s British Open marks the third time in five years that Carnoustie has hosted one of Britain’s three Open golf championships.

That runs started back in 2007 when the town’s Championship course hosted its seventh Open Championship, won by Ireland’s Padraig Harrington after a play-off against Spaniard, Sergio Garcia. Last year, Germany’s Bernhard Langer reaffirmed his love affair with links golf, outlasting American Corey Pavin to claim the Senior Open Championship presented by MasterCard.

Carnoustie was awarded its first Open Championship back in 1931 when American-based Scot Tommy Armour won the title. The subsequent winners were Henry Cotton (1937), Ben Hogan (1953), Gary Player (1968), Tom Watson (1975), Paul Lawrie (1999) and Harrington (2007).     

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