ON FRESH LEGS, HENDERSON AIMS FOR FIRST RWBO TITLE
Four weeks in a row was enough for Brooke Henderson. The 19-year-old Canadian, who played in 19 of the first 21 LPGA events this season, did not make the trip to last week’s Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open and comes to this week’s Ricoh Women’s British Open much refreshed.
“I did play a lot last year, almost every event. This year I just wanted to space it out a little bit better,” said Henderson, who has four top-10 finishes this year, including a win at the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give. “So I just played four weeks in a row, and two of those were majors. So I figured I would take last week off and make sure I was ready for this week.”
Henderson already has one major title to her name, as she captured the 2016 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in a playoff over Lydia Ko. However, the Ricoh Women’s British Open is the only major championship in which she has not recorded a top-10 finish.
“In the past I haven’t necessarily played that well on links-style golf courses, but I feel that I’ve kind of worked hard leading into it on different shots that I might need to hit and kind of prepared that way,” said Henderson. “I feel better prepared this week and seeing the golf course, I feel if I can hit solid tee shots and get myself in good positions, then I’ll make it a little bit easier to shoot even or maybe even under par.”
NO DRIVER, BUT PLENTY OF POSITIVITY FOR JUTANUGARN
Ariya Jutanugarn enjoyed the season of a lifetime in 2016, taking her first career major at the Ricoh Women’s British Open along with four other victories, all en route to winning the Rolex Player of the Year, Race to the CME Globe and the LPGA Official Money List titles.
A year has now passed since Jutanugarn’s victory at Woburn Golf & Country Club. While the 21-year-old has a title to her name in 2017 and even rose to World No. 1 for two weeks in June, the seeming ease with which she played in 2016 has not been readily apparent. A nagging shoulder injury, inflamed from a surgery she had in 2013, certainly did not help, as Jutanugarn missed the cut or withdrew from three consecutive events in July.
“We know we can get sometimes we’re not going to have a good week and it’s happened to me last month but I just never give up,” said the ever-positive Jutanugarn, who has been battling a cold since last week’s Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open, where she finished tied for 44th. “The last few tournaments, I’ve just not really had a good tournament and I know what I have to work on. Just keep working and I’m still growing and I’m still learning every day.”
And in what has become a common sight with the long-hitting Thai, a driver will not be among her clubs at Kingbarns.
“I know I’m not going to use driver, especially when it’s windy. I feel it’s pretty hard to control my driver,” said a smiling Jutanugarn, who also left her driver in her locker in 2016. “I think this week I’m going to use more 3-wood and 2-iron.”
Ariya Jutanugarn is competing in her fourth Ricoh Women’s British Open; she won the 2016 championship at Woburn Golf & Country Club, missed the cut in 2015 at Trump Turnberry’s Ailsa Course and finished T45 in 2014 at Royal Birkdale Golf Club
Inbee Park is competing in her 10th Ricoh Women’s British Open; she has six top-10 finishes, including her win in 2015 at Trump Turnberry’s Ailsa Course
Brooke Henderson is competing in her third Ricoh Women’s British Open; she finished T50 in 2016 at Woburn Golf & Country Club and T61 in 2015 at Trump Turnberry’s Ailsa Course
Jutanugarn is trying to become just the second player to successfully defend her Ricoh Women’s British Open title; Yani Tseng captured victories in 2010 and 2011
Since the Ricoh Women’s British Open became a major in 2011, only two players have won more than one title -Tseng (2010, 2011) and Jiyai Shin (2008, 2012)
“It’s really challenge not to be No. 1, but it’s even harder when a lot of people expect me to play good. It’s going to be harder for me to have fun and go enjoy my golf game. I know all the Thai people are going to give my full support no matter what, even my World Ranking right now is not No. 1 or two or anything, but they still give me full support. They are not worried about the outcome. They are worried about like, they want me to be healthy and that is all they ask for.” - Ariya Jutanugarn, on the challenges that come with the title of World No. 1
“It was pretty crazy but I also feel like it was good to start it early in the week and kind of get prepared for this week. I forgot my rain pants today, so I’ll make sure they are in the bag for tomorrow.” - Brooke Henderson, on the torrential rain shower that hit Kingsbarns this morning
“In Korea, we have four seasons and we play quite a lot of golf in the wintertime, and we are used to having a couple of tournaments in the wintertime. We’ve played in the snow and we’ve played in cold weather, windy conditions.” - Inbee Park, on being prepared for any weather condition