A strong international field has gathered on Scotland’s west coast for this week’s Helen Holm Scottish Women’s Open Championship.
The three-day strokeplay event takes place from Friday until Sunday over Troon Portland and Royal Troon, last year’s Open Championship venue.
Rotherham’s Olivia Winning, the 2013 champion, earned her second title in 2016, after beating the previous title holder Olivia Mahaffey in a play-off, to deny the Irish woman two-in-a-row. Winning is back to contest the event again, the Englishwoman teeing off on Friday at 7.40am.
One of the most hotly anticipated events each year in GB&I, the Helen Holm is the most prestigious women’s competition on the domestic calendar. Scottish Golf received a record 158 entries for the event in its current form, with the ballot one of the lowest ever at 0.5.
Scottish hopefuls include the likes of in-form Chloe Goadby, Shannon McWilliam (pictured) fresh from her share of second place at the Scottish Girls’ Open at Montrose, and last year’s Scottish Women’s Order of Merit winner Hannah McCook. The quality field also includes players from the likes of Ireland, Wales, Belgium, France and Sweden.
National Women’s and Girls’ Coach, David Patrick, said: “The women’s season has been quite stop-start with international events, but this is the first of three key events in a row, Scottish, Welsh and Irish, so we’re looking for some strong and good performances from the players.
“We know we can’t control the results, but we can control the process behind improvement. The women have worked hard, in America at the camp, and all winter, so the next few weeks is more about letting them get on with it and hoping the performances come.
“The field this week is fantastic in terms of the strength in depth, given the handicap cut off usually is three or four. It’s a whole different quality of field.”
The Championship is named after Helen Holm from Troon, where the event takes place. Helen was a five-time Scottish Ladies Champion and her family still attend the event. The trophy is one of her chipping irons with her championship medals attached to it.
The first-ever Championship in 1973 was won by Belle Robertson who went on to win on two further occasions. Other notable winners are Solheim Cup players Catriona Matthew and Mel Reid who, in 2007, became only the second player to win back-to-back titles.