Nine Australians are at “home of golf” this week, the Old Course, St Andrews and will be looking to capture the 2013 Ricoh Women’s British Open.
Rolex World No. 6 and last start winner Karrie Webb will be leading the strong Australian contingent in Scotland. Webb is joined by other exempted players Katherine Hull, Lindsey Wright, Sarah-Jane Smith, Bree Arthur, Nikki Campbell, Whitney Hillier, Sarah Kemp and Stacey Keating, all of whom qualified through their respective Tour’s exemption categories.
Webb, has a fantastic record in the Open Championship, having won the title three times, 1995, 1997 (when it wasn’t a major) and 2002.
This year, she decided to play in the ISPS Handa Ladies European Masters only a couple of weeks ago to help her prepare for the Open. It paid dividends with Webb capturing her third title of the year when she came from three shots behind to win by one.
“My lead up has gone as well as I could have hoped for. I added the European Masters to my schedule quite late so I could adjust to the British conditions and get some tournament golf under my belt. I achieved all of that and topped it off with a win. So feeling good about things heading into Thursday.” Webb said from St Andrews.
When asked about returning to St Andrews and playing the Old Course again, she replied “I’m really excited to be back at St Andrews! I loved playing the British Open here in 2007. Although I didn’t play all that well, I’m hoping that I’ve learnt a little from them and can apply it this week.”
The seven-time major champion explained what she thought about links golf and how to play well this week, “I think all links courses have their quirks but St Andrews in many ways is in a league of its own.”
“I think the keys this week are to have a very sure game plan with options depending on the conditions. The key then is to stick with it and be patient.”
Webb will be the first of the Australian out on course, she is due to tee off in the second group at 6.41am local time with Japan’s Mika Miyazato and American Stacy Lewis.
There are a couple of Aussie making their debut in a major championship this week; Bree Arthur and Whitney Hillier. While Stacey Keating will be looking to make up for last year when she was unfortunately disqualified after the second round when she signed an incorrect scorecard.
The defending champion is South Korean Jiyai Shin. Shin has not been in the same form as last year leading in but seems to rise to the occasion.
However, everyone will be watching current Rolex World No. 1 Inbee Park. Park is going for an unprecedented four majors in a row.
One who cannot be overlooked is16-year-old amateur Lydia Ko. Ko has been playing quite a few tournaments on the LPGA this year and is continuing to perform well beyond her years. Once again people will be following how she performs.
Australian golf fans can watch all the action live on Fox Sports 3 starting at 10pm on Thursday evening.
The Ricoh Women’s British Open was founded by the Ladies Golf Union (LGU) in 1976 and is staged in conjunction with IMG, the world’s largest sports marketing company. The event has been co-sanctioned by the LPGA and LET since 1994 and gained Major status in 2001.
144 players will tee it up Thursday (UK time), after 36 holes the cut will be made to the low 65 scores and ties. Prizemoney for the Championship is US$2.75 million.