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Women's Scottish Open preview: Ayake Furue aims for title defence

Six of the world's top ten are in attendance for the Women's Scottish Open, which begins at Dundonald Links, Ayrshire, on Thursday morning.

The stars are out in force for this event, which has been a co-sanctioned LPGA and Ladies European Tour event since 2017, with world No.11 Hyo Joo Kim the 8/1 favourite to win the title.

WhatWomen's Scottish Open
WhereDundonald Links, Ayrshire, Scotland
WhenThursday 3rd August - Sunday 6th August
How to watchSky Sports Golf
OddsHyo Joo Kim 8/1, Atthaya Thitikul 12/1, Minjee Lee 12/1, Nasa Hataoka 12/1, Ayaka Furue 14/1

While many will be using this tournament to put the finishing touches to their preparations for next week's Women's British Open at Walton Heath, this is a valuable prize in its own right, with a $2million purse on offer.

Dundonald is a true links test and unlike the men's equivalent, the Women's Open does not always take place on a links course, as is the case this year, meaning that a Scottish Open warm-up might not be as beneficial to those with Majors on their mind.

The five women's Majors have been coming thick and fast and Frenchwoman Celine Boutier, fresh off her dominant triumph in her home Evian Championship, is 20/1 to claim a quickfire title double in Scotland.

Atthaya Thitikul is the second-favourite at 12/1 alongside Minjee Lee and Nasa Hataoka, while defending champion Ayaka Furue - who fired a course-record 62 in last season's final round - is a 14/1 shot.

At 33/1, Charley Hull is rated the most likely champion from the British contingent, while Scotland's Gemma Dryburgh is 70/1 to capture her home Open.

Dundonald Links course details

Dundonald links is hosting the Women's Scottish Open for the second consecutive year, while the Ayrshire venue also hosted the 2017 edition of the men's tournament on the European Tour, which was won by Spain's Rafael Cabrera Bello.

A Kyle Phillips design, Dundonald is a modern links which stretches to 7,300 yards, but will play as a 6,584-yard par 72 for the Women's Scottish Open.

The course features wide-open fairways, which should play into the hands of longer hitters, while those with links experience - a relatively rare commodity on the LPGA Tour - are ones to look out for in the market.

Three to follow

Linn Grant

With wind and rain expected to whip around Dundonald Links over the weekend, it could pay to side with a pair of Swedish players who will be comfortable in tough conditions, starting with in-form Linn Grant.

Grant won an LET event earlier in the season at the Jabra Ladies Open, then she finished fifth in the Scandinavian Mixed - a respectable defence of the title which she won in stunning fashion when beating the best male players by nine shots the previous year.

Having already won five times on the LET, Grant then travelled to the US and won the LPGA Dana Open, the first of what should be many titles on the Stateside circuit, before another solid effort when 16th at the Evian Championship last week.

She missed the cut at Dundonald a year ago, but Grant has continued to improve and there is every chance that she will be competing for this title come Sunday afternoon, as odds of 16/1 suggest.

Anna Nordqvist

Grant's compatriot Anna Nordqvist is approaching veteran status, but the 36-year-old has demonstrated recently that she still has plenty to give with a string of solid performances on both Tours.

The nine-time LPGA champion found top form at the Women's PGA Championship in June, finishing in a share of third place behind Yin Ruoning, then she went and finished fifth on the LET at the La Sella Open, before another top-20 finish at the Evian.

Nordqvist should be right at home on the Dundonald Links, having claimed the third of her three Majors at Carnoustie in the 2021 Women's Open.

She will be eyeing an automatic spot on the European Solheim Cup team and would make certain of that if she wins at 33/1 this week.

Gemma Dryburgh

Robert MacIntyre was recently denied a Scottish Open win by some magic from Rory McIlroy, but Gemma Dryburgh could delight the home crowd by claiming a second LPGA title in the women's equivalent.

Aberdeen-born Dryburgh claimed the Toto Japan Classic in November and she returns to her homeland in solid form, having finished 19th at the Dana Open and eighth at the Evian last week.

She finished a respectable 34th last season despite arriving with her game in much worse shape and she makes plenty of each-way appeal at 70/1.

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