World No. 1 Stacy Lewis will always remember her victory at last year’s RICOH Women’s British Open.
After all, she finished birdie-birdie at St. Andrews to claim her second major title and end a 10-event winless streak in majors for Americans. It was a special triumph she will cherish always, and she’d love to add more hardware to her growing trophy case this week.
Lewis is attempting a rare feat – repeating as champion of this prestigious event – and if she’s able to do so would become just the third player in the last 20 years to go back-to-back. Yani Tseng doubled up in 2010 and 2011, and Sherri Steinhauer won consecutive Women’s British Opens from 1998-99.
It would be difficult to choose a more highly favored player in this year’s field, as Lewis has won three times and amassed a Tour-best $1,881,227 while racking up 13 top-10s. She is coming off a win at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G, and Lewis has just one finish outside the top 12 while making every cut.
Lewis will be joined at Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport, Lancashire, England, by a bevy of talented and hungry players who would love to grab a major crown. Lexi Thompson and Michelle Wie, the season’s first two major winners, should give Lewis a run for her money.
Players like Jiyai Shin (2008, 2012), Tseng (2010-11), Catriona Matthew (2009), Jeong Jang (2005), Karen Stupples (2004), Karrie Webb (1995, 1997, 2002) and Se Ri Pak (2001) know what it takes to win this tournament, and they are all in the field. Webb is already a two-time winner on Tour this year, as are Anna Nordqvist, Jessica Korda and Wie, and they will tee it up this week as well.
Throw in 2014 tournament winners Inbee Park, Lydia Ko and Paula Creamer, and the field is even more stacked. Suzann Pettersen, So Yeon Ryu, Shanshan Feng and Cristie Kerr – all ranked in the top 10 in the world heading into July – will also be there, so there will be plenty of competition for the coveted trophy.
Royal Birkdale, once named the No. 1 course in England, will be a true test for the world’s best women’s golfers. It will host The Open Championship in 2017 and was the site of Tom Watson’s 1983 triumph at The Open Championship.
Players will need to bring their “A” games and take advantage of every birdie opportunity on the links-style layout.