Ricoh Women's British Open Preview
CHARLEY HULL heads the home challenge as a world-class field prepares to tackle Royal Lytham with the Women's British Open tile at stake.
Ladies Scottish Open winner and US Open champion Ariya Jutanugarn heads the field World No. 1 and 2015 champion Inbee Park heads the field of the world’s best women golfers along with all of the year’s major winners. The great Inbee Park, Pernilla Lindberg, the ANA Inspiration winner, and Sung Hyun Park, the KPMG Women’s PGA champion, are joined by defending champion, I.K. Kim and a host of former champions, including Mo Martin, Yani Tseng, Karrie Webb and 2009 winner Catriona Matthew, who was the last home-grown champion.
Inbee Park, who won her seventh and most recent major at the 2015 Ricoh Women’s British Open at Turnberry, said: “I love playing links golf and am really looking forward to returning to Royal Lytham. I feel like I have learnt so much about how to play on links courses since I played there in 2009 that I am excited to see how I get on there this time. When I won at Turnberry, I felt so proud as to how I handled the wind and the difficult conditions, and now, as I look ahead to the Ricoh Women’s British Open, I am actually enjoying the thought of all the challenges ahead.”
Crowd favourite Hull is the top ranked British player in the field at No.23 in the world and her form in 2018 will lead to high hopes for spectators looking for a home player to follow in Matthew’s footsteps at Lytham having finished in the top 10 in all three of the majors this year.
Hull said: “Majors suit my game and I always really look forward to them. I like the pressure of a major week and the way the courses are set up tougher which I think suits me.I am pleased with my form the first six months of the year as it is my best spell on the LPGA so far. I feel my game is in great shape and I can’t wait for my next major opportunity at Lytham.”
There is also sure to be plenty of interest in the performance of Bronte Law, another young English golfer who has shown some sparkling form on the LPGA Tour this season.
“In my last major, the KPMG, I was right up in contention, and I expect nothing less at the Open. You go into every event hoping to win, and I see myself as a good links golfer. If the wind blows, anything can happen. A lot of these girls have never seen a course like Royal Lytham before, and being able to play links golf isn’t something you can get overnight. That one shot can make all the difference; whether or not you take out that 60 degree [wedge] or your putter could be the difference between winning and not and that’s what I love about links golf. You have to use your imagination.”
Sadly, Lexi Thompson, of the United States, will not be playing, having announced that she needs time out to "recharge my batteries”. In a social media post, the 23-year-old American said the past 18 months have taken a "tremendous toll" on her. In March, Thompson said she still had nightmares about the four-stroke penalty which cost her victory at the ANA Inspiration in April 2017.
"I realised recently that I need to take some time to work on myself," she wrote on Instagram. "I am therefore taking this time to recharge my mental batteries, and to focus on myself away from the game of professional golf."
Thompson said she hopes to return to defend her title at the Indy Women in Tech Championship, which starts on August 16. She was left in tears after being penalised while leading the final round of the ANA Inspiration, although the incident prompted a rule change. She lost the play-off to Ryu So-yeon. "The events of the past year and a half [on and off the golf course] have taken a tremendous toll on me both mentally and emotionally," Thompson said. "It is extremely difficult for me not to play in this prestigious major."
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