Kingbarns Links unsurprisingly served as a spectacular venue for the Ricoh Women’s British Open, as In-kyung Kim won her first major title. From the poor turnout to the re-emergence of Michelle Wie as a serious contender, we take a look back at the highs and lows of the tournament.
It was impossible for the cameras to hide the disappointing turnout at the Ricoh Women’s British Open, which contrasted to the high attendance figures at Woburn twelve months ago. The rain, which appeared set on a timer to begin just as the leaders teed off, will undoubtedly have put some off, while St Andrews is admittedly not the easiest venue for many to travel to.
Nonetheless, in a year when women’s golf has hit the headlines like never before, the sight of a half empty stand as the leaders approached the eighteenth green on Sunday was not a good advertisement for the game, and was disappointing to see.
Sophie Lamb Shines
Having come through final qualifying on the Monday, nineteen-year-old English amateur Sophie Lamb showed her potential with an impressive performance at Kingsbarns Links. The Clitheroe youngster showed few nerves as she played consistent golf throughout, eventually overcoming the world’s top ranked amateur, Leona Maguire, to win the Smyth Salver by three, on six-under-par.
Preperation Pays Off
The first year that the event at Dundonald Links had been co-sanctioned by the LPGA proved a big success, with the top finishers at the Ricoh Women’s British Open utilising the experience gained from travelling to Scotland a week earlier than usual.
All of the top five finishers at last week’s Women’s British Open at Kingsbarns (In-Kyung Kim, Jodi Ewart Shadoff, Michelle Wie, Caroline Masson, Georgia Hall), prepared by playing links golf in unfavourable weather conditions at the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open.
The Renaissance of Michelle Wie
The rise of Michelle Wie back to the very top of the game has been remarkable to witness. As one of the biggest names in the sport, it’s is easy to forget that twelve months ago the American looked incapable of making a cut, yet alone competing for a major title, and had slipped out of the world’s top 100. Gone is the table top putting stance that appeared to do nothing but harm for her game, and as she bounced along the fairways on her way to a T-3 finish, her highest placing since making an appearance as a fourteen-year-old amateur over a decade ago, she looked like a completely transformed person.
Whatever your thoughts on her unorthodox career, it’s hard to do anything but applaud the manner in which she has managed to climb back up the rankings this season and earn a spot in her beloved Solheim Cup team.
Georgia Hall Continues To Impress
Charley Hull has some serious competition as the poster girl of English golf, with Georgia Hall cementing her place as a future star of the game. The twenty-one-year was extremely impressive, handling herself with incredible maturity, and displaying a game which looks set to put her on a path to the very top of the game. She has now recorded three top-ten finishes on the LPGA in just over a month, and will be a great addition to Annika Sorenstam’s line-up at the Solheim Cup next week.
Korea's Dominance Continues
The strength and depth of the Korean female golf scene continued to be showcased at the Scottish venue, with In-kyung Kim becoming the fourth different winner from the country in the past five major championships. Why the Asian nation continue to dominant was a frequently asked question at press conferences throughout the tournament, with Olympic champion Inbee Park putting it down to the sheer number of girls who take up the game in the country.
Special mention must be given to Sung Hyun Park, the U.S Women’s Open champion, who has one of the best swings we have ever seen in the women’s game.
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