Saturday, September 26, 2020

Ariya and Moriya return to circuit this week at the 4th edition of Ladies Scottish Open

Aug 12. 2020
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The Jutanugarn sisters will be back in actions for the first time since January as they tee off this week in the Ladies Scottish Open at the Renaissance Club in Scotland.

Former world No 1 Ariya and her elder sister Moriya competed in only two tournaments on the LPGA in January: the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio and Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions. Ariya finished at tied 67th and 26th in both events while Moriya enjoyed better results as she settled at tied sixth and 11th.

Since then they had spent most of their time at home in Bangkok due to the COVID-19 break. Ariya has won 10 LPGA titles including the Ladies Scottish Open in in 2018, her latest victory.

After a successful outing in Toledo, Ohio, that resulted in back-to-back victories at the LPGA Drive On Championship and the Marathon LPGA Classic, Rolex Rankings No. 2 Danielle Kang headlines this week’s field along with Rolex Rankings No. 8 Minjee Lee, who comes off two top-four finishes.

In 2019, Mi Jung Hur came out on top with six birdies in her final nine holes to earn her first victory since 2014 and set the 72-hole tournament record at –20 in her four-stroke win. While Hur will not defend this week, past champions Moriya Jutanugarn (2018) and Mi Hyang Lee (2017) have made the trip to The Renaissance Club, as have 2019 major champions Hannah Green (KPMG Women’s PGA Championship) and Hinako Shibuno (AIG Women’s Open). The 144-player field also includes 15 of the top 20 in the Race to Costa del Sol competing for the $1.5 million purse, as well as Rose Ladies Series Order of Merit winner Charley Hull.

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE ABERDEEN STANDARD INVESTMENTS LADIES SCOTTISH OPEN

  • This is the fourth playing of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open co-sanctioned by the LPGA and LET; the event was first played on the LET in 1986
  • For a fourth consecutive year, the Ladies Scottish Open will be contested at the same course as the men’s European Tour’s Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open, which is set for October
  • There are 34 countries represented in this week’s field, including seven players from Scotland
  • This is the first of two consecutive events in Scotland, ahead of next week’s AIG Women’s Open at Royal Troon
  • The tournament is the final opportunity to qualify for the AIG Women’s Open

 

DESPITE NOT DEFENDING HER TITLE, HUR SUPPORTING ASILSO FROM AFAR

The 2019 Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open was a breakthrough moment for Mi Jung Hur. After setting a tournament scoring record by finishing at -20, Hur took her first victory since 2014 and opened the floodgates to one of her best LPGA Tour season. Just six weeks later, Hur earned a second win at the Indy Women in Tech Championship and she did not miss a cut for the remainder of the 2019 season.

 

Hur will not defend her title this week at The Renaissance Club, opting to remain home in Korea due to travel concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

“Due to my win last year and good memories, I looked forward to returning to Scotland this year. It is definitely sad that I cannot return, especially since I won’t be able to defend my title. Nevertheless, I do want to thank Aberdeen Standard Investments and Visit Scotland for continuing to run the event,” said Hur. “Additionally, I want to thank the people who’ve been supportive of me and my decisions. And, of course, I wish the best of health upon those who will go to the event. Although I will be holed up here in Korea, I look forward to watching the event via TV and other media platforms and supporting from afar. Even though I can't be a part of this great tournament this year, I will definitely go back and repay the fans for their support.”

 

CATRIONA MATTHEW ONE OF MANY READY FOR WOMEN’S PROFESSIONAL GOLF’S RETURN TO SCOTLAND

As the LPGA and LET touch down in Scotland this week, players, caddies and staff at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open are determined to make the tournament a success by adhering to extensive health measures. Face masks and sanitizers can be found aplenty, with social distancing the new normal from the course to the clubhouse. These guidelines were key for players like major champion and Scotland native Catriona Matthew, who committed after learning of the tournament’s safety procedures.

“The players, I would say, are being very good at keeping their distance, wearing the face mask, hand sanitizing,” said Matthew. “Like anyone, I was nervous. There are a lot of players coming from other countries where perhaps the virus rates are higher but now you're here and you can see it all happening. I think all the hard work that's been done by varying different bodies is really paying off, and I feel very happy and excited to be starting play.”

Matthew kept active during the lockdown in her home country by using a Peloton to keep her competitive edge while staying healthy indoors. She is thrilled to be competing as a past champion of the Ladies Scottish Open, but Matthew isn’t the only one ready to watch the women tee it up again. Alan Grant, senior golf manager of Visit Scotland, said the Scottish government, Visit Scotland and Aberdeen Standard Investments worked hard to help bring professional women’s sport back to the Home of Golf.

“I think it's great to see the return of not only women's golf, but international women's sport to Scotland and the U.K. this week and we are very proud of the role that Scotland has played in this, helping down the line of commitment across sport and society and you're obviously building on the success that we had at the Solheim Cup last year,” said Grant.

“I must say, just really looking forward to playing in it. Obviously, it's going to be different being for the local community this year that none of them can physically come and watch it, but as someone said earlier, hopefully people will be watching on television. I myself, I didn't realize how much live sport I didn't watch on TV until there wasn't any. I was struggling to find things to watch,” said Matthew. “I think people are excited. I've been watching some of the men's golf on television and I think people are just excited and it gives them something to watch on the TV and to have women's golf, women's sport up there will be good and I'm really looking forward to these next two weeks.”

 

THE GRACE OF LYDIA KO TRANSCENDS DISAPPOINTMENT – RON SIRAK

One of the perils of sudden success is that when adversity finally does arrive it can be so shocking that recovery is anything but immediate. Such is the case with Lydia Ko. When all you’ve known is success, the stumbles hurt all the more.

On Sunday, Ko was poised to win for the first time in more than two years at the Marathon Classic but under relentless pressure from Danielle Kang, the hottest player in women’s golf right now, Lydia was slapped by adversity, finishing one stroke back after a double bogey on the final hole.

The twin tournaments in Toledo – the Marathon Classic and the Drive On Championship – were swept by Kang as the LPGA returned after the COVID-19 interruption, giving her three wins in the last 10 months.

The outcome was not what Ko hoped for, but the way she handled her heartbreaking defeat shows her true character.

“It's tough,” she said. “Obviously, not the finish that I had envisioned but Danielle played great today. Every time she made a mistake she fought back with a birdie, so credits to her,” said the 23-year-old New Zealander. 

To read the rest of Ron Sirak’s column on LPGA.com, click here: https://www.lpga.com/news/2020/ko-class-transcends-disappointment

 

ROLEX WOMEN’S WORLD GOLF RANKINGS – MOVEMENT IN THE TOP 10

With her wins at the LPGA Drive On Championship and Marathon LPGA Classic presented by Dana, Danielle Kang has secured the No. 2 spot in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, becoming the highest-ranked American after her first win in Toledo.

The current average points differential between Kang and World No. 1 Jin Young Ko is 1.55 average points. It has been a year since the difference between the top two ranks was this small, as the average over the last 50 weeks was 2.54 average points. Ko has been ranked No. 1 for 55 consecutive weeks.

In her last seven starts on the LPGA Tour, Danielle Kang has recorded three wins, one second-place finish and two third-place finishes.

Danielle Kang Stats Since 2019 Buick LPGA Shanghai

Starts

7

Wins

3

Runner-up

1

Third-place finishes

2

Scoring Average

68.22

Score to Par

-94

 

Nelly Korda slipped to No. 4 after finishing T38 at the Marathon LPGA Classic, while Sung Hyun Park moved up to No. 3. Park has not competed on the LPGA Tour in 2020 and last competed on the Korean LPGA (KLPGA) in the 42nd KLPGA Championship back in May.

Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings As of 08/10/20

Rank

Player

Average Points

1

Jin Young Ko

7.9672

2

Danielle Kang

6.4160

3

Sung Hyun Park

5.5703

4

Nelly Korda

5.5507

5

Nasa Hataoka

5.2405

6

Sei Young Kim

5.0960

7

Brooke Henderson

4.8392

8

Minjee Lee

4.7976

9

Lexi Thompson

4.4284

10

Hyo-Joo Kim

4.4124

 

AIG WOMEN’S OPEN QUALIFYING INFORMATION

At last week’s Marathon LPGA Classic presented by Dana, 10 spots were available for the 2020 AIG Women’s Open, to be held Aug. 20-23 at Royal Troon in Scotland. The 10 spots were determined by the players with the 10 lowest scores after 72 holes at the Marathon LPGA Classic whowere not already exempt into the major championship, with tiebreakers to break any ties for the 10th spot. The following 10 players qualified: Emma Talley, Andrea Lee, Patty Tavatanakit, Maria Fassi, Kendall Dye, Sophia Popov, Kelly Tan, Peiyun Chien, Dottie Ardina and Lindy Duncan (winner of tiebreaker with Elizabeth Szokol and Matilda Castren).

At this week’s Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open, there are no less than 21 spots allocated for players to earn their way AIG Women’s Open in lieu of a qualifying tournament, including a spot for this week’s champion if she is not already otherwise qualified.

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