Excitement is in the Angus air as fan have turned out in their thousands to support the players on the first day of the AIG Women’s Open in Carnoustie.
Around 8,000 fans have turned up to support the female players, while millions are expected to tune in across the world.
Spectators were piling into the entrance of the famous Carnoustie golf course to see some of their favourite players in person.
During the first round, Americas’s Nelly Korda shared an early lead during Thursday’s tournament with an opening 67, alongside Sweden’s Madelene Sagstrom and South Korea’s Kim Sei-young.
Olympic champion Korda secured eight birdies and three bogeys to finish five under par.
Sagstrom looked set to hold the outright lead when she posted her seventh birdie of the day on the 15th to move to six under, but bogeyed the 18th after an errant drive.
Sixteen-year-old Kirsty Mitchell, from Forfar, was looking forward to seeing some of her idols taking centre stage on the Angus green.
She said: “What I’m really looking forward to is seeing the women play today, I have a couple favourites that I’m looking forward to watching.
“We were out this morning and we were watching Atthaya Thitikul who is also around my age so it’s kind of cool to see her play.
“I’m going back this afternoon to watch Sung Hyun Park, she’s my favourite so I’m looking forward to seeing her play.
“My mum was a member here back in the day so it’s cool to know where they’re playing and it can be done, it’s not just on your TV screen, you’re there, it’s like in front of you, it’s not just a thought in your head.”
‘A bucket list course’
She added: “Carnoustie’s a great course, it’s really a bucket list course.
“I’ve heard this is the most voted popular by the British open players which always makes you kind of go ‘wow’.”
And Kirsty wasn’t the only spectator who ticked Carnoustie off their bucket list on Thursday.
Karen said: “We like to come and watch the ladies particularly so we’ve been up to Scotland a few times when they’ve been up.
“We’ve never been to Carnoustie before so we thought we’d come.
“It’s lovely, the whole areas really quite quaint, it’s not as built up as I thought it was going to be so it’s lovely.”
‘Desperate to get away’
Paul said: “It’s on the bucket list.
“We booked it back in January and were panicking on whether we were going to be allowed to go or not, and we’ve had five holidays cancelled in the last 18 months so we were desperate to get away.”
Golf professional at Forfar, Karyn Dallas, said she was looking forward to seeing some local talent have their big moment in the limelight.
“I’m most looking forward to see all the girls that are trying to conquer Carnoustie championship golf course,” she said.
“I love seeing the girls that are just bursting through so there’s load of talent to see out there so yeah I’m looking forward to it.
“I’ve been looking forward to this event for probably most of the year to be honest.
‘A big atmosphere’
“I know a few of the girls playing golf today so it’s really exciting to go and watch girls that you’ve actually watched since a youngster come through so an exciting day, for me, and I’m only spectating.
“I think it’s absolutely amazing to get some sort of normality back to life I think we’re all looking forward to obviously being cautious.
“To have 8,000 here is just amazing, a big atmosphere and that’ll be great for the girls to have as well.”
Mr and Mrs Bundell, Lynda, 65 and Jon, 69, from Solihull were looking forward to paying a visit to the Carnoustie golf course after supporting the Women’s Open for over 3o years together.
Jon said: “We’ve been regular followers of this event, probably for 30 years, mainly persuaded by the outset by my good lady but I have to say I thoroughly enjoy it as well.”
Lynda said: “We were in Carnoustie the last time it was held here so we think that might have been about six or seven years ago and we stayed in Dundee.
“The fact that it’s a links course and not an inland course makes it a lot more interesting for us because we actually live in land.”
‘Lovely part of Scotland’
She added: “It’s a different type of golf as well, we play inland but links golf is completely different to the golf that we experience so it’s great to see how the girls will cope with those circumstances as well.
“This is also a lovely part of Scotland and we’re hoping that while we’re here to explore and staying in Arbroath it’s a super little town.
“Carnoustie is a beautiful little town you’ve got everything you would hope for a wonderful coast line, space, safety dare I say it, so it’s a very attractive venue full stop.
“It’s a great place to promote Scotland from.”