With the PGA Tour dark this week as a prelude to the Tour Championship, we are still treated to high-quality golf with the ladies playing the Ricoh Women’s British Open.
They’re on Royal Liverpool in Wirral, United Kingdom, and all the players seem to be enjoying the course very much. The two previous days were practice rounds in positively lousy weather: high winds and sheets of rain. But, if you have to get ready for an Open, you might as well subject yourself to the worst so that when you get a marginal day like Thursday’s first round, you appreciate it a little more.
It was quite cool, with showers and breezy, but nowhere near as bad as the practice rounds. And so they were very attentive to the course. The consensus is that you have to hit the fairways off the tee because they are narrow and the rough is penal. So the best place to miss it is…nowhere. It’s also the longest Women’s British Open at 6,600. Christie Kerr said that it is now her new favorite Open course.
The co-leaders are Koreans, So Yeon Ryu and Haeji Kang who shot 2-under. Not familiar to you? Well, Kang is a relatively new player to the LPGA Tour, but Ryu won last year’s U.S. Women’s Open. Because she was on the KLPGA at the time, she is now in the running for this year’s Rookie of the Year where she holds a sizable lead over teen phenom, Lexi Thompson. Ryu pretty much iced it with a win last month at the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic and then further bolstered her confidence with last week’s win back home on the KLPGA Tour.
Only 11 players broke par Thursday with notables at 1-under including: Karrie Webb, Ai Miyazato and last week’s nine-hour playoff winner over two days and Paula Creamer, Jiyai Shin.
Notables at Even par include: Kristie Kerr, Hee Kyung Seo (the Supermodel of the Fairways), a resurgent World No.1, Yani Tseng and Morgan Pressel. But most notable in that group when you take into account the “Who’s Hot List,” God’s latest gift to golf, 15-year-old, Lydia Ko.
Ko became the youngest player to win an LPGA tournament with last month’s Canadian Women’s Open. Poor Lexi Thompson’s record smashing win at 16 didn’t last long.
The thing about Ko, a Korean transplanted to New Zealand at a young age to improve her golf, is that she has this unaffected, endearing persona while living life in the joy of being a teenager. But now people are wondering if she feels pressure to win again?
I think some people say that I should be able to win again, but I mean, you never know. You could be playing good the day before and not so good the day after, and I think that’s all about golf, you play every shot and every round. Yeah, they are probably expecting a big thing from me and yeah, but I’m not going to take that much interest. Just got to play my own game. It’s not like I’m going to play any better by thinking that they want me to play really good.
You don’t often get that kind of wisdom from a 15-year old.
Ko is the real deal, so much so that the New York Times assigned one of their best golf writers, Karen Crouse, to do a story on her. If you don’t know that much about Ko, “The Girl Wonder of Golf,” is a wonderful read…and as things seem to be developing, perhaps an understatement.