Stephanie Meadow tees up with the elite of world golf as the Ricoh Women's British Open gets under way at Carnoustie today.
The Royal Portrush amateur secured one of the last available places via qualifying at Panmure this week after coming through a nerve-wracking play-off.
Meadow, who finished runner-up to Lisa Maguire at the European Amateur Championship last weekend, had a level par round of 71 at the qualifying event.
She was one of eight players chasing the last six places in a play-off and secured her place in the year's final major championship with a birdie on the second hole. Meadow tees off at 1.05pm today alongside Spain's Azahara Munoz and Australian Karen Lunn.
Carnoustie has been the scene of two of the most memorable Opens in recent memory — Frenchman Jean Van de Velde's meltdown in 1999 and Padraig Harrington first win in 2007 — but this week is the first time the
course has staged the women's event. The infamous 18th, which played over 500 yards when Harrington won four years ago, will be a more manageable 380 yards this week.
In total the course will play more than 1,000 yards shorter than 2007 while the 17th will be played as a par five, making it a par 72. Head greenkeeper John Philip said it was in the interest of the tournament that the set-up was fair to all the players.
“It's easy to go too far on this course,” he said.
“We've never had the women's professionals here before and we don't really know what a reasonable length for them is.
“It is maybe on the easy side for these top players because there's plenty of run on the fairways and the greens are pretty good.
“We're not concerned about the winning score and if the wind gets up 6500 is definitely reasonable.
“A lot depends on the weather conditions and I think they were conscious of people struggling if the weather turned.”
Veteran Laura Davies was out in the second group this morning at 6.41, the English woman playing with top Australian Karrie Webb.
American Michelle Wie is also one of the early starters.
Though, It doesn't say much for British and Irish prospects that the shortest-priced home player is 66-1, the 2009 champion Catriona Matthew.