Photo credit LPGA
The LPGA Tour’s fifth and final major kicks off on Thursday at the AIG Women’s British Open at Woburn Golf Club in Milton Keynes, England, with nineteen of the top 20 players in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings competing.
Seven Australians will tee it up this week, with West Australians Hannah Green and Minjee Lee looking the most likely of the group to find their way into contention.
Green is still on a high after her win in late June at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, and after a month at home celebrating her win with friends and family returned to tournament play last week at the Evian Championship finishing in a tie for 30th place.
World number 4 Minjee Lee is still in search of her first major championship and comes to Woburn this week desperately trying to find her a-game after uncharacteristically missing the cut in Evian last week. Lee already has a win and a hat-full of top-10 finishes under her belt on the LPGA Tour in 2019, and it would be no surprise to see the 23-year-old bounce back to form this week.
Of the other Aussies who will tee it up this week, Karrie Webb, twice winner of the event over the Dukes course at Woburn in 1995, and at Turnberry in Scotland in 2002, will be hoping she can find the form that saw her finish in a tie for 5th place back in 2016 when the tournament was last played at Woburn over the Marquess course.
Webb has played a limited schedule in 2019, and this week will mark her return to individual tournament play after cheering fellow Aussie Hannah Green to victory at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship five weeks ago. The LPGA and World Golf Hall of Famer clearly enjoys playing at Woburn and may have been spurred on by witnessing her charge’s success which made her Australia’s first major champion since Webb claimed victory at the ANA Inspiration back in 2016.
Webb’s Queensland compatriot Katherine Kirk will be looking to find her early season form after a patchy past few months on the LPGA Tour. Kirk’s closest call at this championship came back in 2010 at Royal Birkdale when she finished in second place to then World number 1 Yani Tseng.
The 37-year-old has managed to save some of her best form for the major championships the past few seasons and comes to Woburn after finishing tied with Green in 30th place last week at the Evian Championship.
Victorian Su Oh, NSW's Sarah Kemp and West Australian Whitney Hillier round out the Aussie contingent this week at Woburn. Oh is still searching for her maiden LPGA victory and without doubt has the class to contend if she can find her a-game, Kemp will be hoping she can find the early season form which saw her claim a runner-up finish at the ISPS Handa Vic Open in February, while Hillier will also be hoping to find her best form after making her way into the field via a 9 way playoff at the Final Qualifying event on Monday.
Without doubt the player to beat this week is the newly minted Rolex Rankings No. 1 and Evian Championship winner Jin Young Ko. Ko also claimed the ANA Inspiration back in March, and this week is vying to become just the fifth player to win three majors in a single year and the first since Inbee Park in 2013.
Host country England has its hopes pinned on defending champion and former ISPS Handa Vic Open champion Georgia Hall, who won last year at Royal Lytham and St Annes and looks to become the first successful title defender since Yani Tseng in 2010 and 2011.
Hall is one of 14 Englishwomen in the field, a list that includes Dame Laura Davies, playing in her 39th AIG Women’s British Open, Woburn member Charley Hull and 2019 LPGA Tour winner Bronte Law.
This week marks the second time that the Marquess Course at Woburn Golf Club has hosted the championship, the last time the event was held at Woburn in 2016 Thai star Ariya Jutanugarn emerged victorious.
Woburn also hosted the championship in 1984, from 1990 to 1996 and in 1999, all on the Duke’s Course
The Marquess Course at Woburn this week will be played at 6,585 yards, and after recent heavy downpours will be playing considerably longer than it looks on paper.
This championship will also decide the 2019 Rolex ANNIKA Major Award (RAMA), which is bestowed upon the player with the season’s most outstanding major championship performance. Three players have captured the season’s four major championships thus far – Green (KPMG Women’s PGA Championship), Jin Young Ko (ANA Inspiration and Evian Championship) and Jeongeun Lee6 (U.S. Women’s Open).
Past winners of the prestigious award are Michelle Wie (2014), Inbee Park (2015), Lydia Ko (2016), So Yeon Ryu (2017) and Ariya Jutanugarn (2018).
Play will get underway at 6:30 am local time on Thursday 1st August.
Australian Players tee-times
7:25 am Minjee Lee, Anna Nordqvist, Hinako Shibuno
7:36 am Hannah Green, Shanshan Feng, Charlie Hull
8:31 am Karrie Webb, Caroline Masson, Carly Booth
8:58 am Su Oh, Marianne Skarpnord, Ryann O’Toole
10: 48 am Whitney Hillier, Sarah Schmelzel, Linnea Strom
2:33 pm Katherine Kirk, Xiyu Lin, Laura Fuenfstueck
2:44 pm Sarah Kemp, Valentine Derrey, Daniela Darquea
Watch all the action live on Fox Sports Australia channel 503 from 8:00pm (AEST) Thursday
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