Dame Laura Davies has tipped the KPMG Women’s Irish Open to go from strength to strength ahead of the tournament’s return to Dromoland Castle from September 22-25.
The four-time Major winner was speaking on Off The Ball about her own love affair with Irish golf having prevailed at the first two stagings of the Ladies Irish Open with back-to-back victories at St Margaret’s in 1994 and 1995.
It’s been ten years since the Women’s Irish Open has been played on Irish shores and although Davies will miss the event’s return this time around, she’s predicting a festival of golf in County Clare that should ensure the tournament is back on a stable footing for many years to come.
“To not have the tournament was such a shame so I was so pleased when I saw it on the schedule,” said Davies.
“It’s good that the fans are going to have the chance to see the best women golfers on their turf. I’m hoping it’s going to go from strength to strength and I’d love to have at least one more go in an Irish Open too.
“Really disappointed that I’ve a conflicting event next week, I’m playing in Korea. Otherwise I would’ve really enjoyed playing in front of the Irish galleries again. I’d imagine they’re going to be big, especially with Leona playing so it’s great to see it on the calendar.”
Davies, who ran out a 16 stroke winner in 1995 after posting a remarkable 25-under par tally, has no doubt that the Irish crowds will create a special atmosphere next week in Dromoland.
“It’s fun playing in front of Irish fans,” she said. “When we won the Solheim Cup over there I’d never seen scenes like it. It’s just a lovely place to play golf.”
And with Leona Maguire said to headline next week’s field, Davies also spoke about the trajectory of last year’s Solheim Cup star whose 4.5 out of 5-point performance proved pivotal in inspiring Captain Catriona Matthew’s side to a famous win on U.S. soil.
“She was the star on the European team, there’s no doubt about it,” Davies said.
“I think everyone thought she was very quiet, might not be that much fun in the team room but that couldn’t have been further from the truth. She’s such a great girl and it was great to be in the team room with her.
“The way she stepped up and the putts she holed under pressure. I always found with Solheim Cup you come out of them with a bit more confidence. Hopefully Leona feels that too.
“She’s had the one win, could’ve had a couple of others and hopefully over the next few years she’ll get to a half dozen wins because she’s certainly got the game for it.”
Maguire is just one of a number of European stars set to wow fans at Dromoland with Scandinavian Mixed winner, Linn Grant, defending champion Catriona Matthew, and the big-hitting Anne Van Dam just some of the names set to do battle in County Clare.
Tickets to see the stars of the Ladies European Tour in action at the KPMG Women’s Irish Open are now on sale at www.womensirishopen.ie. Four-day tickets are priced at €35 while single-day tickets will cost €15. Under 16s attending the event will also be admitted free of charge. You can follow the tournament via social media @womensirishopen on Instagram and Twitter.