US Women's Open: Inbee favourite for Sebonack success
There is no denying that The Open is the premier event in men’s golf. It has an unrivalled history, it has produced the very best champions throughout the decades and it is played over some of the world’s most famous courses.
Contrast this with the ladies’ game however and the picture is rather different.
For the world’s elite female golfers, the US Open is considered the top tournament, and despite the fact that the Women’s Open – or the Ricoh Women’s British Open to provide it’s full title – will be played at St Andrews this year, it is the third and possibly fourth biggest major in the women’s game.
So when the best players in the world line up at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, New York this week, they will be competing for the premier prize in female golf.
Historically, the tournament has been dominated by home grown players, but in recent times it has been the South Korean players who have succeeded. The winner of four of the last five US Opens has come from South Korea, with Paula Creamer’s victory at Oakmont in 2010 the only US victory since 2007.
Indeed the bookmakers are once again backing a South Korean to prevail this year, with 2008 champion Inbee Park the favourite to win her second US Open title. Her title win in 2008 was her first victory on the LPGA Tour, and at just 19 years old the youngster became the youngest ever US Open winner.
It is Inbee’s record in 2013 which makes her the outright favourite to win the US Open. However, it is Inbee’s record in 2013 which makes her the outright favourite to win the US Open. Now 24, she has already claimed two majors this year having won both the Kraft Nabisco Championship and the LPGA Championship and could become only the third player in the history of women’s golf to win three back-to-back major championships should she triumph at Sebonack.
Leading the way for the USA is the 2011 Kraft Nabisco Champion Stacy Lewis. The 28 year old is the only American major winner in the last two years and held the world number one spot in 2013 following victories at the HSBC Women’s Champions and the LPGA Founders Cup in March. Although Lewis is made second favourite this week, her game is traditionally not suited to the US Open and she has only recorded one top 10 finish in the tournament since 2008.
The best hope of a first European victory in the US Open since Annika Sorenstam took the 2006 title this week comes from Suzann Pettersen. Like Lewis, Pettersen has two victories under her belt this year – having won the LPGA Lotte Championship and the Mission Hills World Ladies Championship, where she beat Inbee by a single shot. The Norwegian’s last major victory came in 2007, but her game has steadily improved since the end of 2012 and if she putts well this week then she has a very good chance.
The US Women’s Open will be played at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, New York from June 27th-30th. Coverage of all four days will be on Sky Sports.
Read our interview with Alison Nicholas, the last English US Open winner here