Smile! Hinako Shibuno set to make links debut in Scotland


Hinako Shibuno has accepted an invitation to compete in next month’s Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open, the tournament announced.

Shibuno won the hearts of golf fans around the world last year when she clinched the AIG Women’s British Open in her first golf tournament outside of Japan. A two-week stretch of Shibuno on the links will be a welcome site for sports fans.

Known as the “Smiling Cinderella” back home in Japan, Shibuno high-fived her way down the rope-line at Woburn last summer, delighting fans with her infectious personality and exceptionally fast play.

We can only hope that Shibuno continues to smile for the cameras despite the absence of fans. She certainly fed off the crowd at Woburn last year. Both the Ladies Scottish Open and Women’s British Open will be closed to spectators.

“I am very thankful to receive an invite to play in the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open and to be given the opportunity to play on a British links course for the first time at The Renaissance Club,” said Shibuno. “Last year’s experience at Woburn truly felt like I was part of a fairy-tale and now I am really looking forward to my next adventures in Scotland.”

Catriona Matthew, who lives down the road from The Renaissance Club in North Berwick, also received an invitation for the tournament, slated for Aug. 13-16. The European Solheim Cup captain and former WBO champion noted that it has been quite a while since she’d needed an invite to get into an event.

“It’s been such a strange few months and it has definitely put golf into perspective,” said Matthew, “but at the same time, I am starting to get pretty excited about getting out and competing again and also seeing everyone again and welcoming them back to Scotland from a socially safe distance.”

The Scottish Open field will include three top-10 players as Japan’s Nasa Hataoka (No. 4), Danielle Kang (No. 5) and Australia’s Minjee Lee. (No. 8) have committed to play. The Jutanugran sisters, Ariya and Moriya will restart their seasons in Scotland after spending the extended break in Thailand. The top 20 finishes on last year’s LET Order of Merit are in the field as well as American stars Stacy Lewis, Morgan Pressel and Cristie Kerr. Defending champion M.J. Hur did not enter the event.

Players and caddies will come over to Scotland via a charter plane at the conclusion of the Marathon Classic in Ohio.



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