Leona Maguire and Stephanie Meadow will be looking to draw on their extensive amateur experience as they head into this week's final major tournament of the year in Scotland.
The AIG Women’s Open is taking place at the renowned Muirfield course and the two Irish players will be channelling their amateur days, playing the tricky and testing links courses of Ireland and Scotland.
Meadow was a member of 2019 Open venue, Portrush, before moving Stateside and while Maguire learned her trade at the excellent parkland Slieve Russell course in Cavan, she would have played many competitions on the coastal courses in her amateur days.
Maguire and Meadow represented Great Britain and Ireland in the 2012 Curtis Cup winning team at Nairn links in Scotland, while both golfers won prestigious events on the renowned seaside courses of Baltray and Carnoustie respectively.
Meadow did not play in last year’s event at Carnoustie, however, Maguire finished a very creditable 13th following a very consistent week in Scotland, including an excellent five-under 67 in the second round.
Since then, Maguire has continued to rise up the world rankings and is now the second highest ranked European player, sitting in 22nd position, five places behind Celine Boutier of France.
Maguire has enjoyed victory on the LPGA Tour and has has had a consistent season in the top-tier of women’s golf, including a second-place finish at the Meijer LPGA Classic in June.
Meadow remains outside the world’s top 100, however, the Jordanstown native’s form has been good in recent months, moving up 28 places to 112th since March. And Meadow has always been one to watch at the major tournaments since finishing third in her maiden outing back at the 2014 US Open, and the Olympian secured a top ten at the PGA championship in June.
Unlike Maguire, who took a week off ahead of the final major of the season, Meadow got four competitive rounds under her belt at the Scottish Open on the testing Dundonald Links, finishing inside the top 40.
Ayaka Furue won the Scottish event and will bring some expectation going into this week’s major, however, the favourites will come from the usual suspects atop the world rankings with Lydia Ko, Nelly Korda, Minjee Lee and Hyo Joo Kim expected to shine.
Last year’s tournament put Korda in the spotlight following an excellent opening round of 67, however, she was not able to build on the fast start with Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist taking the title by a single shot ahead of a trio of challenges that included former champ Georgia Hall, who will again be expected to perform.
As for the Irish duo, Maguire has been included in the marquee groups and tees off alongside the aforementioned Kiwi, Ko, and Japan’s Nasa Hataoka at 12:27pm, while Meadow is off at 1:49pm, playing with American Mo Martin and compatriot Sarah Schmelzel.
It is only six years since Muirfield was removed from the Open Championship rota after a vote on admitting women members narrowly failed to achieve the two-thirds majority required.
The announcement of the result was followed minutes later by the R&A stating that Muirfield would not stage the Open while the policy remained in place, a reaction which no doubt played a major role in the outcome of a second vote in March 2017, which passed by 498 votes to 123.
Now, the world's best female players will contest their final major of the season at the East Lothian course, where they will compete for a record prize fund of $7.3m (€7.19m).
England’s Hall is targeting her second major title following her win at Royal Lytham in 2018, having also finished joint second behind Anna Nordqvist at Carnoustie last year.
"I didn’t really know what to expect," Hall said of Muirfield. "I’ve heard really good things about the course and it is really good. I think everyone wants to win here, especially because it’s the first women’s professional event that we are playing in.
"I think it’s so important that the women are here this week. It makes such a mark on women’s golf, and AIG and the R&A have done a fantastic job working together to get the championship here.
"I think the women’s game is definitely in the best position it ever has been, and I’m very happy to be in the middle of my career doing that."