Players believe the rough will be tough in ASI Ladies Scottish Open

Dryburgh and Hall reckon Renaissance Club has some teeth for Ladies Scottish Open
Gemma Dryburgh plays during her practice roundGemma Dryburgh plays during her practice round
Gemma Dryburgh plays during her practice round

The Renaissance Club course in East Lothian is set to bare some teeth in this week’s Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open, according to the leading home hope.

Last year’s event at the same venue was won by Korea’s Mi Jung Hur with a 20-under-par 264 total that included a scintillating 62 in the second round.

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That low-scoring event came hot on the heels of Austrian ace Bernd Wiesberger carding a 61 en route to winning the men’s event, also played on the Tom Doak-designed course, with a 22-under aggregate.

The course set up that week led Rory McIlroy to single out the event when he claimed a few months later that some of the courses on the European Tour were “not hard enough”. For this year’s double-header back on the East Lothian coast, it’s the women’s turn to be tested first and Scottish No.1 Gemma Dryburgh reckons it will play a bit tougher in this week’s $1.5 million event.

“It’s looking really good,” said the 27-year-old, who is flying the Saltire along with former winners Catriona Matthew and Carly Booth, as well as Alison Muirhead, Kylie Henry, Kelsey MacDonald and Michele Thomson.

“The rough’s up compared to last year. It’s looking a lot narrower, which hopefully will suit me, and the greens are much firmer than last year, so hopefully it stays that way. I quite like that.”

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Another change from last year is that some trees have been taken out, with Dryburgh adding: “It has a different look, a bit more linksy, I would say, so, yeah, really liking the course.”

The routing for this week’s event has been changed from last year, primarily to show off the holes closest to the Firth of Forth on the back nine.

“It’s a bit different this year,” said England’s Georgia Hall of that tweak. “I also noticed that the rough is much longer this year compared to last.

“The course is pretty good. The greens are slightly on the slow side, but they can’t make them that fast in case it’s really windy. Then it would be quite unplayable.

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“I notice going down 18 they took a massive tree out on the right, which caused a lot of problems for players. So I think we’re quite happy to let that one go.

“It’s definitely a links feel. We haven’t actually played in much wind yet, so I think when the wind gets up, it will definitely feel a bit more like that.”

Twenty-one spots are up for grabs in next week’s AIG Women’s Open at Troon, with MacDonald, Henry, Thomson and Muirhead all having that as an added incentive.

Hur is not defending her title, but a strong field is spearheaded by world No.2 Danielle King, who has won both events on the LPGA since its restart, and also includes Women’s Open champ Hinako Shibuno.