Driver-less Jutanugarn makes history

Much of the talk at the start of the week was whether a certain 20-year-old, Charley Hull, could somehow get over the line on her home course of Woburn. In the end it was another hugely talented and aggressive 20-year-old, Ariya Jutanugarn, who made history by becoming the first Thai golfer, male or female, to win a Major.

The youngster won by three and barely put a foot wrong all week, her bullet-like 2-iron prompting 20 birdies over the course of the four rounds. She didn’t actually carry a driver around the Marquess course.

Twelve months ago, in this same tournament, she missed the cut at Turnberry which was her 10th straight blank weekend. She could barely find a fairway with her driver so the 2-iron quickly became her go-to club.

Her playing partner on Saturday Catriona Matthew remarked: “Last year she maybe struggled with what to hit off the tee. Now there’s no indecision. She just hits that 2-iron and rips it as far as I hit my driver.”

If we go back to the year’s opening Major, the ANA Inspiration, Jutanugarn blew a two-shot lead with just three holes to play. She then three-putted 16, failed to get up and down from sand at the next and hooked her drive into the water on 18. Previously she was known for leading, again by two, at the 2013 LPGA Thailand – and then closing with a treble bogey.

But things have rather changed since Mission Hills in April. The Thai star won three times in May alone on the LPGA Tour, the first player to ever win three straight events.

And now she is a Major champion and, incredibly, becomes the third youngest winner in the big ones in 2016 behind Lydia Ko and Brooke Henderson, both 18. Brittany Lang, 30, was the odd one out with her victory at the US Women’s Open.


That 62…

Mirim Lee joined an elite club of women who have broken 63 in a Major when she opened up with a 62  – no man has yet broken 63 in a Major.

Ten birdies, eight of which came in the first 11, meant she tied the tournament record with Minea Blomqvist.

“I had a few missed shots but they weren’t really big of an error or anything. I would say it’s one of the best,” the Korean reflected. 

Lowest Rounds At A Major

61 Hyo Joo Kim 2014 Evian Championship

62 Mirim Lee 2016 Women’s British Open

62 Minea Blomqvist 2004 Women’s British Open

62 Lorena Ochoa 2006 ANA Inspiration


Law’s borrowed clubs

Bronte Law’s trip to Sweden the week before Woburn was a memorable one – the 21-year-old recorded the winning point to help England win the European Team Championship while she also became only the third English player to win the European Amateur.

All good news ahead of Final Qualifying at John O’Gaunt, only her clubs, the ones which also helped her to win five out of five matches at the Curtis Cup, didn’t come back with her.

No problem though for the world No 2 amateur, the 21-year-old borrowed a set of clubs from her coach to shoot five under in qualifying and then a pair of 70s to comfortably make the cut. She would go on to finish 50th.

“I go into every tournament knowing I have a good chance of playing well because I know I’ve prepared but I’m missing my putter dearly,” Law said.

“I’m just riding the wave. I obviously had a good year in college, and knew my game was in a good place. It’s just been an incredible year, and I’m very proud of myself. To be honest, I really haven’t had a lot of time to reflect on what I’ve achieved.”

Law plans to go through LPGA Qualifying School later this year but also wants to finish her degree at UCLA.

Bronte Law

Feng almost penalised before teeing off

Shanshan Feng very nearly didn’t make it to the 1st tee on time on Thursday. The Chinese 26-year-old misjudged how long the player shuttle would take from the driving range and arrived with not too much time for pleasantries.

“I had 30 seconds,” said Feng who had to run from the cart path. “Once I showed up, I said ‘I’m here!’. I wanted to make sure they saw me.”

She then hit her tee shot straight down the middle and shot a bogey-free 66 with just 26 putts.


Mum-to-be Young signs off

At seven months pregnant most women would at least be winding down at work. Not so Liz Young.

The English golfer, who won the Prince of Wales Amateur Challenge Trophy at Woburn’s Duke’s Course in 2002, was playing in a Major

Young was playing in her final tournament before putting her feet up and, despite the obvious discomfort and loss of distance, she only missed the cut by four shots.

“I’ve lost a lot of distance, especially in my longer clubs. And then there’s the fatigue of actually walking the golf course. I start to waddle after about 12 holes.

“Normally, if you have a bad back you take a few ibuprofen out on the course but I can’t do that so I just have to live with it.”

Young, who is expecting a girl, plans to return to competition in 2017 under the LET’s maternity category and compete in nine events of her choosing.

Liz Young


#awkward – ‘Nice to see you again’

How to put together the juiciest of threeballs – take Suzann Pettersen, who caused the controversy of the 2015 golfing year when she claimed a hole when her opponent thought she had been conceded the hole at the Solheim Cup. Add that opponent in Alison Lee, who was reduced to tears in Germany, and, to top things off, complete the threeball with the incident’s biggest critic, Dame Laura Davies.

At the time Davies said: “I’m disgusted. How Suzann can justify that I will never know. I’m friends with Suzann but you do not do something like that to a fellow professional. I’m so pleased I am not in that team.”

Moving on to 2016 and Davies explained that she and Pettersen still haven’t talked about what happened – “I’ve never mentioned it to her, and she’s never said anything to me. I know her family thought I was a bit critical of her at the time, but it was my opinion, just one of those things.

She did the wrong thing, and that’s all there is. But we’re good mates, and we’ve been good mates for 20 some years. A little disagreement about a happening at the Solheim Cup is not going to upset us.”

Lee had the best of the first two days, going on to finish tied for 31st while Davies and Pettersen both missed the cut.

WOBURN, ENGLAND - JULY 28: Suzann Pettersen of Norway and Alison Lee of USA (R) speak to each other on the 1st tee during the first round of the 2016 Ricoh Women's British Open on July 28, 2016 in Woburn, England. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

Mark Townsend

Been watching and playing golf since the early 80s and generally still stuck in this period. Huge fan of all things Robert Rock, less so white belts. Handicap of 8, fragile mind and short game

Handicap: 8

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