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Walton Heath 2023

'Best crowd of my life'


Lilia Vu and leading players thank Walton Heath fans

Spectators enjoy the action at Walton Heath during the AIG Women

Lilia Vu summed it up perfectly when she said: “This has been the best crowd I've ever played [in front of] in my life.”

The newly crowned AIG Women’s Open champion was reflecting on the support she and the other 143 competitors had experienced during four terrific Championship days at Walton Heath.

Seasoned spectators were joined by a raft of new fans in the stunning Surrey surroundings as golf opened its doors.

Thousands of fans flocked to the heathland course across the week with many cheering for home favourites Charley Hull and Georgia Hall, who lifted the trophy in 2018.

Spectators watch on as home favourite Charley Hull putts at Walton Heath during the AIG Women's Open in 2023

Spectators watch Charley Hull on the greens at Walton Heath

Hull cites golfing great Dame Laura Davies as her hero and her impressive runner-up finish – and infectious good nature – will have done much to inspire the next generation.

She said: “I was shocked [by] how many young kids came up to me to be fair.

“It's quite cute and really inspiring because when I was younger I used to look up to Laura but it's kind of cool how they are looking up to me now.”

Another British golfer who appreciative of the unprecedented support was Aberdeen’s Gemma Dryburgh, who finished in a tie for 36th place.

Spectators enjoy the action at Walton Heath during the AIG Women's Open in 2023

She reiterated Vu’s assessment that women’s golf had never before had such an enthusiastic following.

Dryburgh said: “The best crowds I've seen at any women's event to be honest.

“It [was] great to see the crowds and the support [was] amazing, and I think all the girls really enjoyed it.

“It's great to play in front of this many people and on a big occasion. [There was] a great atmosphere out there. Lots of good cheers out there, such good vibes.”

As exciting as it was, world-class golf was not the only thing on offer at Walton Heath.

Ellie Goulding was the star attraction away from the course as the BRIT award winner wowed the crowds with an electrifying performance on the Saturday night.

Spectators could also enjoy the atmosphere of the thriving festival village. Large TV screens kept everyone up-to-date with the on-course action, as well as screening matches live from the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Meanwhile a large range of diverse food and drink was available to keep everyone satisfied during a busy weekend.

Dryburgh added: “I went to Ellie Goulding with my parents.

“I think it's great adding these extra bits in. [It] brings more people in to watch as well. It's a bit of a different dynamic and it's great for the game, and hopefully we'll continue to do that.”

The Old Course at St Andrews during The 144th Open

And as the dust settles on this year’s AIG Women’s Open thoughts are now steering towards 2024 – and a first staging of the Championship at St Andrews, the home of golf; something Aditi Ashok is relishing.

She said: “I think that's the best part about this tournament, that we get to go to such historic venues.

“I'm just really excited for this tournament and how it's grown over the last five to ten years, so hopefully it keeps going that way.”

Next year’s AIG Women’s Open takes place between 21-25 August.

Tickets are already on sale and can be purchased here.