Walton Heath in Surrey will play host to the highly anticipated AIG Women's Open this week, attracting an international field consisting of 144 of the world's top women's golf players. As one of the five major championships in women's golf, the tournament promises a thrilling display of skill and competition.
Established in 1976, Walton Heath is hosting the championship for the first time, welcoming players from various regions including Australia, China, Japan, Korea, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand, and the USA. The diverse lineup of participants brings a strong global flavor to the season's final major.
Over the past decade, the AIG Women's Open has crowned winners from eight different countries, highlighting the tournament's international prestige. South Africa's Ashleigh Buhai, defending her title this year, triumphed in a memorable four-hole play-off against South Korea's In Gee Chun at Muirfield last year.
Alongside Buhai, other former champions such as Anna Nordqvist (Sweden), Hinako Shibuno (Japan), Georgia Hall (England), Jiyai Shin (Korea), and Ariya Jutanugarn (Thailand) will strive to reclaim the prestigious title. However, the tournament's recent history suggests that a new name could emerge as a potential winner.
The ongoing season has witnessed several first-time major winners, including Lilia Vu, Ruoning Yin, Allisen Corpuz, and Celine Boutier, showcasing the depth and talent within women's golf globally. Prominent players such as Nelly Korda, Jin Young Ko, and Lydia Ko, ranked in the top three of the Rolex Women's World Rankings, face a tough challenge in their pursuit of victory at the AIG Women's Open.
Rising star Rose Zhang, who turned professional this year, will aim to make a remarkable impact in the championship. Having already secured top-ten finishes in her first three majors, the 20-year-old American's performance will undoubtedly attract attention. Zhang also has previous experience in the AIG Women's Open, narrowly missing the cut in 2021 and claiming the Smyth Salver as the leading amateur at Muirfield last year.
Another player to watch is Atthaya Thitikul from Thailand, who won the Smyth Salver in 2018 and 2019. Thitikul achieved her best performance in the Championship last year, finishing tied seventh at Muirfield. Linn Grant of Sweden, the first woman to win on the DP World Tour, also joins the competition, aiming for further victories after her recent success.
Steph Kyriacou from Australia makes her fourth appearance in the AIG Women's Open after a strong performance at Muirfield last year, where she secured a top-ten finish. With her prior experience, Kyriacou hopes to excel in the upcoming tournament.
FIRST LOOK GOLF’S TOP THREE PICKS:
1- Hyo Jon Kim
2- Nelly Korda
3- Rose Zhang
The tournament's 72 holes will take place on a composite layout of Walton Heath's Old and New Courses, ensuring a challenging and enthralling competition. Additionally, the AIG Women's Open seeks to highlight women in sport, business, and entertainment, offering attendees a world-class golf experience, live music performances, and a vibrant festival fan village designed to foster a welcoming and enjoyable atmosphere.
Global superstar Ellie Goulding will perform a headline set on Saturday, supported by singer-songwriter Freya Ridings, marking the first time live music is incorporated into the tournament's enhanced fan experience.
The AIG Women's Open will commence on August 9th and conclude on August 13th, 2023, with tickets available for purchase via aigwomensopen.com.