The Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open is back at Dundonald Links in North Ayrshire this week and Scot Kylie Walker is a huge fan of the venue and competition format.
The star-studded field of 80 professionals and 80 amateurs will pair up to compete over the Kyle Phillips-designed course that was acquired by Loch Lomond in 2003 for the first two rounds from Friday, followed by a cut to the leading 60 Ladies European Tour professionals only on Sunday.
“It’s a great course,” said Walker, adding: “I think the Pro-Am element is great fun and it’s the only time that we play this format. I’ve always enjoyed playing it like this.
“The feedback from the amateurs that I’ve heard in the past is that they enjoy playing with the ladies, because typically the ladies are a bit more relaxed and chat a bit more going round the course. They can compare their games more closely, as opposed to with the male pros. Sometimes the male pros hit it so long that the amateur guys feel inferior but with us, they can learn from our games and the smoothness of our swings and we’re not too far off the same distance.”
“I think the Pro-Am element is great fun and it’s the only time that we play this format. I’ve always enjoyed playing it like this.”
Following the overwhelming success of the inaugural women’s event in 2015, Dundonald Links will also host the men’s Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open in 2017, which will move from Castle Stuart. Walker would like to see the men’s and ladies’ events played at Dundonald Links back-to-back.
“I think back-to-back could work really well here. I definitely don’t think you could host the men’s tour and the ladies’ tour at this course at the same time, but maybe one course nearby or something.”
The 2018 European Championships golf event at Gleneagles will feature a mixed team competition and Walker enthused: “I think that’s going to be a really good fun event that could drum up a lot of spectators and media attention. I think it could work really well.”
However, when asked if she would like to partner her fiancé, European Tour professional Scott Henry, in the contest, whom she is due to marry in December, she said: “We’ve never partnered up in an event and I don’t know how that would go, to be honest. The wedding might be off!”
Walker will start the tournament from the 10th tee at 7.41am on Friday in the same group as her namesake Sophie Walker from England.