Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ricoh Women’s British Open Preview

Defending Champion – Lorena Ochoa
Sunningdale Golf Club, Old Course
Berkshire, England
72 holes, begins Thursday
Par 72, 6408 yards
Field Score – 98
Scoring Averages – 76.01 (2007 St. Andrews), 75.30 (2006 Royal Lytham), 73.43 (2005 Royal Birkdale), 73.01 (2004 Sunningdale)
2008 Scoring Average to date – 72.84

U.S. TV coverage (times EDT):
Thu 10a-noon TNT
Fri 10a-noon TNT
Sat 1:30p-3p ABC
Sun 1p-3p ABC

The Women’s British Open returns to Sunningdale Golf Club for the third time in eight years. Karen Stupples won here in 2004 after famously starting her final round eagle-albatross and in 2001 Se Ri Pak won her only British Open title to date. As you can see from the numbers above, Sunningdale isn’t the usual torturous test we see in this event. Located near London in the south of England, the weather here in early August is a little more summer-like than in Scotland. Thank God for that – I was happy that the ladies were finally allowed at St. Andrews last year but the endless parade of 77s and 81s in the high winds and cold drizzling rain was rather depressing to watch. I understand
Sunningdale is not a links course either, which will further make this tournament feel unlike a British Open. As of Tuesday afternoon the forecast calls for intermittent showers each day of the event with temps in the mid-70s, so it won't exactly feel like Hawaii either.

The field and how they qualified can be found here. Stacy Lewis is the only player in my Top 30 not in attendance. In addition to the KLPGA’s Ji-Yai Shin, the JLPGA is well represented by Yuri Fudoh, Miki Saiki and Sakura Yokomine. Of course, the LET’s best are here as they were at Evian.

Six of the last seven majors have been won by first-time major champions (Ochoa at this year’s Kraft Nabisco being the only exception). If that trend continues this week, my losing streak will reach 14. Lorena Ochoa to win, with Paula Creamer and Na Yeon Choi as CYAs.

Stats: Winners 5-21 (9-21 with CYAs), Top Tens 24-63.

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