Marieke Nivard has received a special exemption into Final Qualifying for the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Royal Lytham and St Annes in July.

The 18‐year‐old Dutch golfer won the girls’ section of the 2008 Duke of York Young Champions Trophy and she will now bid for her Open spot on Monday 27 July at Fairhaven Golf Club, with the championship proper beginning on the Thursday of that week.

If successful, Nivard would find herself teeing up at Lytham alongside players of the calibre of Lorena Ochoa, Paula Creamer, Michelle Wie, Laura Davies and last year’s winner, Jiyai Shin.

“I can’t believe my luck,” said Nivard, who has a +3 handicap. “To have this chance of playing in my first British Open and competing against the best women golfers in the world was my biggest dream.”

Ricoh’s move in awarding a Final Qualifying place to Nivard reflects the high standing of the Duke of York Young Champions Trophy, which was started in 2001 by the Duke himself and John Simpson, who used to manage Bernhard Langer and Nick Faldo.

Oliver Fisher, who was still a teenager when he lost out in a play‐off in the European Tour’s 2008 Open de Andalucia, won the event in 2005, while such gifted European Tour winners as Pablo Martin and Rory McIlroy were both runners‐up.

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