Royal Lytham plays host to Ricoh Women’s British Open this week. In-Kyung Kim will be defending the championship over the famous Lancashire Links.
Ricoh Women’s British Open Preview, TV Times
The 42nd instalment of the Ricoh Women’s British Open will take place at Royal Lytham & St Annes this week. It will be the fifth time the iconic Lancashire links has played host to the great event.
As one of only two women’s Majors played outside the USA, the Ricoh Women’s British Open boasts the most international field of the year in women’s golf.
This season, reigning champion I.K. Kim defends her title against the world’s best, including China’s first World No.1 Shanshan Feng, the youngest ever world No. 1, Lydia Ko, Americans Michelle Wie, Stacy Lewis and Paula Creamer as well as past champions Ariya Jutanugarn, Inbee Park, Yani Tseng and Mo Martin and UK favourites Charley Hull and Catriona Matthew amongst others.
The big story heading into this week is the withdrawal of world number five Lexi Thompson who announced that she was taking some time away from golf to ‘recharge her mental batteries’ after the past 18 months taking a “tremendous toll on me both mentally and emotionally.”
Ariya Jutanugarn, the 2018 US Open Champion and last week’s Scottish Open winner comes into the event as World Number 1. Inbee Park is ranked at Number 2. The two will start alongside all of the year’s other Major winners. Pernilla Lindberg, the 2018 ANA Inspiration winner and Sung Hyun Park, the 2018 KPMG Women’s PGA Champion.
First contested in 1976, the inaugural Women’s British Open was won by England’s Jenny Lee Smith, then an amateur. The event has been counted as an LPGA Major since 2001 and Annika Sorenstam, Lorena Ochoa and Catriona Matthew have all been winners since then.
Matthew won her first and only major to date just two months after giving birth at Lytham in 2009. She became the first Scottish woman to win a major in doing so.
It was a memorable week, highlighted by an eagle at the 11th and then a hole-in-one at the 12th in her second round. She eventually beat Australia’s Karrie Webb by three.
Royal Lytham has been the venue for 11 Open Championships, two Ryder Cups and the 2015 Walker Cup. It is also host to the annual Lytham Trophy.
Although surrounded by urbanisation, and some distance from the sea, Lytham is a true links, famous for its punishing pot bunkers and magnetic swathes of gorse.
Originally designed by the club’s first professional George Lowe, the course has changed little since Harry Colt was employed to oversee alterations to the layout in 1919. The routing has stood the test of time and consistently been proved to deliver one of the finest tests of golf in the British Isles.
Lytham is a course where accuracy is key, and placement from the tee essential. When the wind blows from the Irish Sea, the examination can be formidable. The run for home is particularly challenging as Adam Scott found in the 2012 Open Championship when he dropped shots on the last four holes to lose by one to Ernie Els.
The weather forecast is currently for rain on Thursday but clearing for the rest of the week. Winds look likely to be moderate.
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Venue: Royal Lytham & St Annes, Lancashire
Date: Aug 2-5
Course stats: par 71, 6,360 yards
Defending champion: In-Kyung Kim (-18)
How to watch the Ricoh Women’s British Open
Thursday 2 – Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Mix from 11am
Friday 3 – Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Mix from 11am
Saturday 4 – Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Mix from 12pm
Sunday 5 – Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Mix from 12pm
Not a Sky Sports customer and want to watch the Ricoh Women’s British Open?
The BBC will be showing hour-long highlights packages each day, presented by lead golf anchor Eilidh Barbour.
Thursday 2nd August: First Round Highlights – BBC Two 11.45pm
Friday 3rd August: Second Round Highlights – BBC Two 11.35pm (Saturday 00.05am BBC Two Wales)
Saturday 4th august: Third Round Highlights – BBC Two 11.45pm
Sunday 5th August: Final Round Highlights – BBC Two 11.50pm
Players to watch:
Ariya Jutanugarn – She won the U.S. Women’s Open in June and the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open last week. She also won the 2016 Women’s British Open. She is World Number 1 and will start this event as favourite.
Minjee Lee – The New Zealander was runner-up in the Scottish Open and won the Volvik Championship earlier this season.
Anna Nordqvist – She may have missed the cut last week at Gullane but she’d been on excellent form before that with three top-10 finishes. She also finished top-10 in last year’s Ricoh Women’s British Open.
Key hole: 17th. An extremely difficult dog-leg par-4, swinging from right to left. Trouble waits on the left side and the tee shot must be well-placed. If it goes too far, more trouble is lurking.