A NUMBER of top golf stars have descended on East Lothian, as the Aberdeen Asset Management Paul Lawrie Match Play comes to the county for the first time.

Demnark's Thomas Bjorn, a 15-time winner on the European Tour is joined in the field by Italian Edoardo Molinari, while the Scottish contingent at Archerfield Links is led by former Open champion Lawrie.

Richie Ramsay and Marc Warren are also set to compete, while Stephen Gallacher will hope to put his East Lothian knowledge to good use as the 64-man field tee off were set to tee off this morning (Thursday).

Gallacher will make his first European Tour appearance in two months at the event, after suffering a setback from a hand injury.

He is, though, looking forward to the event.

The 41-year-old, a regular at The Renaissance Club, said: "I played the course last week. It’s in great nick and the Fidra course is a good track for matchplay with some scope to play about with a few tees.

"It’s a great venue. With a great clubhouse and great range, it’s a ready-made tournament venue."

Lawrie, meanwhile, was looking forward to playing in his own event, and bringing it to East Lothian after a disappointing turnout in Aberdeen 12 months ago.

At the venue, he told Courier Sport: "I'm really looking forward to coming here.

"It's an absolutely beautiful venue for a great event – it should be really good.

"This is much more a golf place [than Aberdeen] and the crowds at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open just along the road last year were excellent."

Bob Gunning, chairman of Scotland's Golf Coast, is also looking forward to the event.

He said: "Following the excitement of the Scottish Open at Gullane last year, we are delighted to welcome another top event to Scotland's Golf Coast this Summer. With an impressive field, including six former Ryder Cup players, a Major winner, 42 European Tour winners and a strong Scottish contingent, we know golf fans won't be disappointed with the Aberdeen Asset Management Paul Lawrie Match Play."

Defending champion Kiradech Aphibarnrat will not be returning, as he is preparing for the Olympic Games in Rio.

A host of famous faces, from county golf star Catriona Matthew to Scottish rugby legends Gavin and Scott Hastings and Scotland football team boss Gordon Strachan were among the cast for Wednesday's Pro-Am at Archerfield Links.

The tournament proper is due to get under way this morning (Thursday), with the draw made on Tuesday afternoon.

Mr Gunning, though, was keen to stress the Paul Lawrie event was not the end of the county's golfing summer.

He added: "Following this, it will be a busy fortnight for old and young as the boys battle it out across Muirfield & The Renaissance Club at the Boys Amateur Championship [August 9-14] and then it is the veterans turn as the Scottish Seniors returns to Archerfield on August 19-21."

Tickets are still available for each day of the tournament, with a one-day ticket priced £15.

A season ticket, which allows for admission each day, is £35, while under-18s will go free when accompanied by an adult.

For more, and to see the schedule in full, visit www.europeantour.com or www.paullawriematchplay.com.