TOP female golfers from around the world have teed off at the AIG Women’s Open at Muirfield for the first time this morning (Thursday).

The R&A is hosting the Major in East Lothian for the first time, as the world’s best women golfers compete for the prestigious title on the world-renowned East Lothian links.

Coming just weeks after the Genesis Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club, more than 100,000 fans are expected to have made the trip to Scotland’s Golf Coast this summer for the two events.

The AIG Women’s Open, which comes to a finale on Sunday, is being played in Scotland for the third year in a row, after being held at Carnoustie last year and Royal Troon in 2020.

The championships are supported by VisitScotland, part of a run of five elite men’s and women’s competitions in consecutive weeks through July into August, which, as well as The 150th Open, also included the Senior Open Championship presented by Rolex.

Neil Christison, regional director at VisitScotland, said: “Tournaments on Scotland’s Golf Coast provide the perfect stage to showcase our first-class courses to the world, and the tens of thousands of spectators can enjoy watching golf as well as the accommodation, hospitality, attractions and retail in the area, which is a huge benefit to businesses in East Lothian.

“We’re extremely proud Scotland is leading the way in investment in women’s golf events, supporting the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open and the AIG Women’s Open, after delivering the hugely successful 2019 Solheim Cup at Gleneagles, resulting in the biggest ever UK crowd for women’s golf of more than 90,000.”

Eleven winners in the field

Coverage of the two golf championships in East Lothian this summer has been beamed to millions watching around the world.

The economic value of golf tourism to East Lothian, which boasts 21 courses within 30 miles of coastline, is more than £20 million, and it supports more than 600 jobs.

Every £1 spent on green fees generates a further £5 on extras such as hotels, restaurants and retail, while overseas golfing visitors spend an average 4.5 times more per day than a ‘typical’ visitor.

Eleven previous winners, including North Berwick’s Catriona Matthew, who lifted the title at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 2009, are among the star-studded field.

The last nine winners – Anna Nordqvist, Sophia Popov, Hinako Shibuno, Georgia Hall, In-Kyung Kim, Ariya Jutanugarn, Inbee Park, Mo Martin and Stacy Lewis – as well as 1986 champion Laura Davies are also ready to take on the course.

Stuart McEwen, secretary for the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, was looking forward to the event.

He said: “The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers is delighted to be hosting the AIG Women’s Open this year and looks forward to welcoming the world’s finest women golfers to Muirfield.

“We hope to make an important contribution to a brilliant championship that will inspire future generations of women golfers of all ages.”