Big appearance fees for Pettersen and Pressel

Superstars Suzann Pettersen and Morgan Pressel will pocket a juicy six figure appearance fee to play in the €450,000 AIB Irish Ladies Open this summer.

World No 3 Pettersen and No 14 Pressel will tee it up at Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links from July 11-13 as Ireland begins the countdown to the 2011 Solheim Cup at Killeen Castle in Co Meath.

And tournament promoter Roddy Carr is convinced that paying the best players to come is the only way to boost the "women’s golf brand" and make the public aware that the biggest team event in women's professional golf is coming to Ireland.

“We are going back to the basics of what has always worked in Ireland - bring the best players in the world and make tickets available and affordable to the golfing fans," said Carr, who has a long track record in golf promotion with Seve Ballesteros in Spain and IMG.

“We are very excited to have these high profile players coming and believe a top class field of international, European and Irish players will attract the golf fans from all over Ireland to come and see the event.”

Norwegian ace Pettersen, 27, ended last season as World No 2 behind Lorena Ochoa, thanks to six wins - five on the LPGA Tour and one on the Ladies European Tour (LET).

Amercian star Pressel is the younger major winner in LPGA history thanks to her victory in last year's Kraft Nabisco Championship, aged just 19.

Five Irish women will tee it up with Rebecca Coakley and Martina Gillen joined by sponsor’s invitees Hazel Kavanagh, Marian Riordan and Claire Coughlan.

Moira Cassidy, Golf Director at Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links said: “This event is the only major women’s professional golf tournament in the world played on a natural ‘links’ golf course in 2008."