Hinako Shibuno will return to Scotland to defend her Women's British Open title ©Getty Images

Japan's Hinako Shibuno has confirmed that she will defend her AIG Women's British Open title at Troon in Scotland from August 20 to 23.

The world number 12 won last year's Open on her international golf debut, having never previously played a tournament outside her home nation.

Due to her on-course demeanour, she earned the nickname "the Smiling Cinderella", finishing last year's Championship 18 under par, claiming the title with an 18-foot putt on the final hole.

"I am so glad to be able to defend my title at the AIG Women's Open," said Shibuno.

"I think it will be a very special feeling to return as the defending champion and I am looking forward to the experience very much.

"I am excited to play at Royal Troon where so many Open Championships have been held and I hope my game will match up to the challenges presented by this famous links course."

Women's Open champion from 2017 Inbee Park is also set to feature in the field ©Getty Images
Women's Open champion from 2017 Inbee Park is also set to feature in the field ©Getty Images

She will be joined by South Korean 2015 Open champion Inbee Park, who will be looking to add to her haul of seven Major titles later this month.

Park is expected to compete despite an array of top South Korean golfers looking likely to miss the event due to fears linked to COVID-19, including world number one Ko Jin-young, number three Park Sung-hyun and number six Kim Sei-young.

"I absolutely love playing in the United Kingdom at the AIG Women's Open and the last time we played on the west coast of Scotland at Turnberry was when I managed to win," said Park.

"With so much uncertainty surrounding our schedule recently due to the coronavirus, I felt so happy when I finally heard the news that the Championship was going ahead.

"AIG's extension to their partnership is also a strong commitment to women's golf in these difficult times."

It will be the first time that the Women's Open will be held at Troon, with the course having held the men's Open on nine occasions.