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Golf - 24. May 2008.

Ladies' British Open Amateur Championship

The Ladies’ Golf Union will crown a new Ladies’ British Open Amateur Champion this year. 144 of the best female amateurs from 24 countries, including Australia, New Zealand, India and Morocco, tee off at the renowned West Links, North Berwick, Scotland from 11-15 June.

Unfortunately, the 2007 champion, Carlota Ciganda (Spain), is unable to defend this prestigious British title, leaving it up for grabs. With a full exemption to the Ricoh Women's British Open on offer, the event has attracted record entries of over 200 competitors. In the strongest ever field, 116 of the entrants have handicaps of + 0.1 or better.

European countries are particularly well represented this year with France entering 15 players, Sweden 6, Germany 9, the Netherlands 10 and Spain 8.

The home nations also have a strong turnout, with all of last year’s quarter finalists hoping to go further. The newly crowned 2008 Scottish Champion, Michele Thomson (McDonald Ellon), along with Breanne Loucks (Wrexham), Elizabeth Bennett (Brokenhurst Manor) and Krystle Caithness (St Regulus) will arrive in North Berwick days after playing for the GB & I side at the Curtis Cup, St Andrews from 30 May – 1 June.

The highly rated Swedish twins, Caroline and Jacqueline Hedwall (Barseback), are among the strong international line up contesting this Championship. Caroline, one of the top players in Europe, comes in as favourite with the lowest handicap on the entry list(+ 5.6), while earlier this year, Jacqueline took the runner up spot in the Helen Holm Scottish Open Stroke Play, scoring a record breaking 67 over Royal Troon. Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist, runner up for the last two years, hopes a third attempt will be lucky for her.

Susan Simpson, LGU’s Director of Championships said, “We are delighted to be holding this Championship at such a historic and challenging golf course. With such a strong field in place it looks like this event will provide a spectacular forum for the players to display their talents.”

Alan Phillips, Captain of North Berwick Golf Club said, “It has been 10 years since we hosted the Vagliano Trophy and we are once again very proud to be hosting a prestigious ladies event over the West Links. There is a very high calibre of entry from across the world so we are looking forward to welcoming these top amateurs and are excited by the prospect of seeing how they meet the unique and testing challenge of our golf course. I am sure that, over the week, many of the players will form a life long love of North Berwick and links golf and hope that they take away as many fond memories as they will undoubtedly leave with us."

Competitors in the Ladies’ British Amateur Championship play 18 holes on Wednesday 11 and Thursday 12 June, and the leading 64 players will qualify for the match play stage, culminating in an 18-hole final on the afternoon of Sunday 15 June.

The west course at North Berwick is a true links with commanding views of the sea and great wide sandy beaches over to the dark rocky islets of the Forth estuary and to the green-hilled Fife coast. The volcanic grey and white streaked hump of the Bass Rock and distant May Island can also be seen on the horizon.

An Open qualifying course, North Berwick's West Links has an antiquated charm of its own with walls, burns, and yawning bunkers, and in the 15th hole, “Redan”, probably the most frequently copied short hole in the world.

The North Berwick Golf Club is the thirteenth oldest golf club, second only to St Andrews for continuous play over the same course.

The full list of entrants for the Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championship can be viewed at www.lgu.org.

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