Women's British Open: Lexi on her return to the Ricoh
Tell us about your memories of your first Open at Hoylake
It was crazy. That was my first British Open so I got the full experience of British Open weather: rain and wind. It was amazing, I had full rain gear on. I ended up birdieing the last three holes, which moved me up quite a bit. Getting all those conditions, you realise how hard it is. It was amazing, it was a totally different game.
What did you learn, because presumably you had never played in conditions like that before?
No, that was definitely the worst conditions I’ve ever played in. It was crazy. I put a 2-iron in the bag so I hit a lot of 2- or 3-irons off tees, you know, just bouncing it up and putting from 30 yards off the green. It’s a totally different game but I liked it, it was a challenge.
Did you think ‘what am I doing here’ at any point?
That definitely crossed my mind a few times! But it was great to be there. That was my first British Open, I was thrilled that I got in and I can’t wait to come back.
Was it your first experience of links golf?
That was my first time. I like the challenge of having to pull shots off perfectly. You might end up in bunkers and you might not get the bounce you want but, you know, that’s golf. You definitely get that more at the British Open, with links golf, and I enjoyed it.
Do you think it favours stronger players?
Yeah, it definitely brings out the ball strikers. You have to hit it straight and just let the wind take it or you have to hit the low, boring shots. It’s a shotmaker’s tournament, that’s for sure, especially with those conditions.
Was it instinctive for you or do you think it will take you a few years to master?
There’s a lot more thinking in Britain, that’s for sure. You play in Florida and you’re just like ‘Give me the iron, I’ll land it right there.’ You just play to fly it the full distance. So when I got to Hoylake, you had to bounce it 20 yards short and let it roll up so they are totally different shots. You have to learn to play different shots and it’s a learning experience everywhere you go.
Did you have chance to do anything off the course?
I got to see the street where they had the whole Beatles memorabilia, so I got to see that. That was pretty amazing. It was pretty cold at night so I didn’t really do too much but it was amazing, it was beautiful.
How much are you looking forward to playing the Old Course and being in the town of St Andrews?
I am, I’m really looking forward to it. When I tell people where I’m going, they’re like ‘wow man.’ I know a few people who have played there so they say ‘You want to be aiming 50 yards left or right of the fairway to be in the middle’, I’m like ‘OK, I’ll take your word for it’, but I’m looking forward to it.
You are obviously a very strong player. Is driver the most important club?
It is, it’s a very important club in my bag. I don’t hit it too much but when I do I want to feel confident over it and that’s what I do with all my Cobra clubs.
Do you hope to hit plenty of drivers at St Andrews?
It all depends on the course set-up. I like to hit driver in and out, probably around five to seven times a round. You know, it all depends on the course set-up but I use a lot of 3-woods and hybrids.
Growing up with two older brothers, I’ve always been trying to out-drive them and beat them so that’s definitely where my attitude in life has come from. You come from a strong golfing family (Lexi’s older brother, Nick, is a PGA Tour player while Curtis is a promising amateur). Is that one of the reasons you hit the ball so hard?
Yeah, definitely some of that. Growing up with two older brothers, I’ve always been trying to out-drive them and beat them so that’s definitely where my attitude in life has come from. But my height also helps me. I’m 5ft 11”, and training every day.
How much length have you gained in last few years or since you first turned pro?
From when I first turned pro, I would say I have probably gained around 15 yards, I would say. Just strength-wise and equipment-wise too.
How many yards would you give your brother, Nick?
Well, he plays all the way back on the golds and I play blues and he’s still a little bit past me, probably about 15. He hits it far. Both my brothers don’t hold anything back.
LEXI’S SOLHEIM HOPES
How big a priority is making the Solheim Cup team to you this year?
It is, it’s one of my main goals, that’s for sure. Representing your country is the highest honour you can get. I played junior events and team events like the Curtis Cup, Junior Ryder Cup, but Solheim Cup is the highest honour. I’d probably rather be on that team than the Olympics.
Did you watch any of the last Solheim Cup?
I watched a little bit of it. I actually played the Irish Open so I was on that course too so it was pretty cool to see them play there. I only watched a little bit of it because I just won the week before so it was a little hard for me to watch.
Why do you think America just missed out?
I don’t really know exactly why but both the teams were so close just the whole week They are the best teams in the world. So it’s going to be close no matter what.
Who do you want to play with in the pairs?
I haven’t really thought about it too much but whoever I get paired up with you have to learn their games and learn how you work best with them so that’s all about team events.
Is there anyone you are particularly close with on the team to partner?
None that I’m too close with but I’ve played with the likes Stacy Lewis and Paula Creamer. But whoever we get paired up with, we’re going to make the best of it, you know, work with each other’s game and support each other.
Do you see yourself as a fourball or foursomes player predominantly?
I like best ball. Alternate shot is quite interesting to watch. I have played a lot of alternate shot. It’s good to have somebody with a similar game in alternate shot I think.
As Lexi prepares to line up at St Andrews, read what our columnist Madeleine Winnett remembers from her first round at The Old Course HERE.