Johnson Heads a Strong Field at the Final Qualifying

Veteran Trish Johnson Heads a Strong Field at the Final Qualifying for the Ricoh Women's British Open
14 year-old Lauren Taylor from Rugby Bids to Become Youngest Ever Qualifier

Friday, 24 July 2009 - Eight-time Solheim Cup player, Trish Johnson, heads an impressive field at the Final Qualifying for the 2009 Ricoh Women's British Open, to be held at Fairhaven Golf Club, Lytham St Annes, Monday, July 27.

The veteran Englishwoman, a winner of 15 events on the Ladies European Tour and three more on the LPGA Tour, will join 94 other competitors hoping to claim one of the 20 places up for grabs for this year's Ricoh Women's British Open, to be staged at Royal Lytham & St Annes on 30th July to 2nd August.

The field also includes three-time, Curtis Cup player, Rebecca Hudson, a total of almost 20 other Tour winners, plus no less than ten amateurs who be making the journey to England's Golf Coast fresh from taking part in the biennial Vagliano Trophy, held this year at Hamburg Golf Club, where the leading women amateurs from GB & I will be competing against their counterparts from the Continent of Europe.

All eyes will also be on 14 year-old English girl, Lauren Taylor, from Woburn Golf Club, who battled her way through Pre-Qualifying at The Berkshire and is now thought to be bidding to become the youngest player ever to tee up in the Championship itself.

Johnson, whose best performance to date this season came when she finished tied 5th at the recent Ladies German Open, goes out at 9.42 am on July 27th alongside namesake, Felicity and Italy's Margherita Rigon. Other former Tour winners who are taking part in the 18-hole Final Qualifying event at Fairhaven include Hudson, fellow English women Lora Fairclough, Lisa Hall, Samantha Head, Joanne Mills, Joanne Morley and Kirsty Taylor, Scotland's Kathryn Imrie, Sweden's Linda Wessberg, New Zealand's Lynnette Brooky, Italy's Veronica Zorzi and Julieta Granada from Paraguay.

This year, no less than 20 amateurs will be competing against the professionals at Final Qualifying. They include 21 year-old Englishwoman, Hannah Burke (Mid Herts), a student at Baylor University in Texas, who shared first place at the recent Pre-Qualifying event, as well as Rachel Jennings (Izaak Walton), Danielle McVeigh (Royal County Down), Pamela Pretswell (Bothwell Castle), Rhian Wyn Thomas (Vale of Glamorgan), Kylie Walker (Buchanan Castle), Caroline Hedwall (Swe), Laura Gonzalez-Escallon (Spa), Lucie Andre (Fr), Marion Ricordeau (Fr) and Marieke Nivard (Hol) all of whom come to Fairhaven straight after playing in the Vagliano Trophy in Germany.

Taylor, the English Under-15 champion who lives in Rugby but plays out of Woburn, carded a one over par 73 in Pre-Qualifying at The Berkshire and now travels to Fairhaven where she will hope to extend her stay in the North West by claiming one of the 20 Qualifying places. However, success in the Final Qualifier would not come without a cost because it would mean she would be unable to defend her title at the English Girls Under-15s Championship, being staged this year at The Wiltshire Golf Club on 28th to 30th July.

"It's a shame there's a clash," said the Warwickshire girl. "Ideally, it would be great if I could have played in both, but you can't turn down the chance to play in an event as big as the Ricoh Women's British Open.

"That would be a dream come true for me, the best thing I have done to date" she added." I was delighted to get through the first stage of the Qualifying at The Berkshire and hope I can do it again.

"To be honest, I can't wait to get started. I have played Fairhaven a couple of times so that should help a bit."

Lauren cites World No. 1, Lorena Ochoa, and World No. 4, Paula Creamer, as her favourite players and both are in the field for the Championship itself. They will be joined by defending champion, Jiyai Shin, who has won four times since claiming the title at Sunningdale 12 months ago, 2009 Kraft Nabisco champion Brittany Lincicome, 2009 McDonald's LPGA champion Anna Nordqvist and Eun-Hee Li, the victor at the recent US Women's Open over The Old Course, Saucon Valley Country Club, Bethlehem, Pa.

Altogether, the 2009 Ricoh Women's British Open has attracted a total of 29 of the top 30 golfers in the Rolex Women's World Golf Rankings. This year marks the third time Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club has hosted the Championship with the previous winners being Sherri Steinhauer (1998 and 2006) and Annika Sorenstam (2003). The club has also staged an impressive ten men's Open Championships and two Ryder Cups.

The Ricoh Women's British Open was founded by the Ladies' Golf Union in 1976 and is staged in conjunction with IMG, the world's largest sports marketing company. The event has been co-sanctioned by the LPGA and LET since 1994 and gained Major status in 2001.

For more information, including the latest news and advance ticket offers, please visit www.ricohwomensbritishopen.com or call our ticket line on +448719459421.

Topics: Press Release, Ricoh Women's British Open

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