Field of winners primed for battle at Dromoland Castle

Linn Grant celebrates at the Scandinavian Mixed Hosted by Henrik & Annika at Halms (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

There’ll be no shortage of winners taking their chance at this week’s KPMG Women’s Irish Open which returns to our shores after a 10-year absence from the schedule.

Dromoland Castle is expecting some 25,000 people through the gates and galleries will be able to feast their eyes on a field of champions when the action get underway from Thursday in Co. Clare.

Home hero Leona Maguire headlines the €400,000 event which was last won by winning Solheim Cup Captain Catriona Matthew when the legendary Scot enjoyed a one stroke victory over Suzann Pettersen at Killeen Castle.

The former champion is back to defend her crown in a field of 126 competitors over 72-holes with Maguire and four-time LET winner this season, Linn Grant battling it out for pre-tournament favouritism at the head of the market.

22-year old Grant hit the headlines over the summer when she demolished a field of men and women at the Scandinavian Mixed; the powerful Swede finishing nine shots clear of Henrik Stenson and Marc Warren who shared second, and an incredible 14 shots ahead of her nearest female challenger, Gabriella Cowley.

Grant sits in top spot in the season-long Race to Costa del Sol with seven of the current top-10 in line for action at Dromoland, including Sweden’s Johanna Gustavsson (third) and Argentina’s Magdalena Simmermacher (fifth) who are still on the hunt for their maiden LET titles.

There are winners galore aside from that superbly consistent pair with Australian Women’s Classic champion Meghan MacLaren looking to go one place better than her playoff defeat last week in France.

Ana Peláez Trivino (Madrid Ladies Open), Manon De Roey (Aramco Team Series – Bangkok Individual), Tiia Koivisto (Jabra Ladies Open), Jana Melichova (Tipsport Czech Ladies Open), Anne-Charlotte Mora (Åland Ladies Open) and Liz Young (VP Bank Swiss Ladies Open) will all be chasing more glory when the action gets underway on Thursday.

Although LPGA winner Maguire shades favouritism, the Cavan star isn’t the only Irishwoman hoping to make a splash in front of home crowds this week.

Ireland’s six strong amateur contingent of Olivia Costello (Roscommon), Kate Lanigan (Hermitage), Aideen Walsh (Lahinch), Katie Poots (Knock), Rebekah Gardner (Clandeboye) and Spain-based Marina Joyce Moreno will be joined by Northern Ireland professional Victoria Craig as the young hopefuls look to spring an upset against Europe’s elite.

Tickets to see the stars of the Ladies European Tour in action at the KPMG Women’s Irish Open are now on sale at 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.

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