$1.5million tournament at Dundonald Links is the standout tournament on ladies' circuit this year
By Michael McEwan
The Ladies Scottish Open and its massively increased prize fund headlines the 2017 Ladies European Tour schedule.
Carrying a purse of $1.5m, up from €500,000 last year, the tournament is now the most lucrative on the tour outside of the major championships. This follows news late last year that the event, taking place at Dundonald Links from July 27-30, is to be co-sanctioned for the first time by the LET and LPGA on an initial three-year deal.
The Ladies Scottish Open is one of 11 tournaments on the LET this season that carries a purse of at least €500,000 and it takes place the week preceding the RICOH Women's British Open at Kingsbarns Golf Links near St Andrews - the first time in Kingsbarns' history that it has been given the privilege of hosting a professional major championship.
Upon the conclusion of that particular event, European Solheim Cup captain Annika Sorenstam will announce her full 12-woman squad for this year's match with the USA, taking place at Des Moines Golf Club in Iowa from August 18-20.
Announcing the schedule, Ladies European Tour chief executive officer Ivan Khodabakhsh said: "This year promises to be a great year for the Ladies European Tour and we are really excited to tee off our season with a new event in Australia.
"Our schedule includes a minimum of four new or returning events, plus several more to be confirmed shortly.
"With 18 live televised events, there will be more exposure than ever this year. Our members will have the opportunity to compete for record prize money, across a wide range of world class tournaments, as we continue to develop women's golf and the global footprint of the LET."
French golfer IsabeleBoineu is the defending Ladies Scottish Open champion, having held off Linda Wessberg to win her first LET title at Dundonald Links last summer.
Meanwhile, Thailand's AriyaJutanugarn is the woman to beat in the RICOH Women's British Open. She claimed her maiden major at Woburn last year, winning by three shots from Mirim Lee and 2014 champion Mo Martin.