Hinako Shibuno will begin the defence of her AIG Women’s Open title in a star grouping after the tee times for rounds one and two were announced on Monday.
The 'Smiling Cinderella' Shibuno will play on Thursday and Friday alongside world number seven Brooke Henderson and Ashleigh Buhai at Royal Troon, while 2018 Champion Georgia Hall joins Nelly Korda and Nasa Hataoka in another standout group for the opening two rounds.
Shibuno, who played with Buhai in the final round as she won last year’s Championship in memorable fashion at Woburn, will tee off at 12:49pm BST on Thursday, before the same group go out early at 8:09am on Friday.
Hall, Korda and Hataoka have the same tee times in reverse order, beginning their opening rounds at 8:09am on Thursday and playing at 12:49pm on Friday.
Stacy Lewis, the Champion in 2013 who also won last week’s Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open, will tee off at 7:47am on Thursday with Ariya Jutanugarn and Charley Hull.
The in-form Danielle Kang is grouped with Lydia Ko and Yu Liu. That group is scheduled to go out at 12:27pm on Thursday, followed by Lexi Thompson, Inbee Park and Mone Inami at 12:38pm.
Initial weather forecasts suggest those out on Thursday afternoon may see the best of the weather, but the possibility of persistent rain and rising winds could make scoring difficult in round two, particularly in the mid-afternoon.
Another notable trio for the opening rounds features Minjee Lee, Azahara Munoz and Amy Yang, while Laura Davies – the Women’s Open Champion in 1986 – will hit the first shot of the Championship at 6:30am on Thursday, and play alongside amateur Olivia Mehaffey and Canada’s Alena Sharp.
The only other amateur in the field, Australia’s Gabriela Ruffels, has two iconic figures for company in 2009 Champion Catriona Matthew and Angela Stanford.
Browse the full list of tee times here.