2018 Ricoh Women’s British Open Primer

2018 Ricoh Women's British Open Royal Lytham and St Annes
A general view of Royal Lytham and St Annes in advance of the 2018 Ricoh Women's British Open in Lancashire, England. Credit: Jan Kruger/WME IMG/Getty Images

Pro Golf Weekly previews the fourth LPGA major of the season in this week’s 2018 Ricoh Women’s British Open Primer.

2018 Ricoh Women's British Open Royal Lytham and St Annes
A general view of Royal Lytham and St Annes in advance of the 2018 Ricoh Women’s British Open in Lancashire, England. Credit: Jan Kruger/WME IMG/Getty Images

On the heels of the ASI Ladies Scottish Open at Gullane Golf Club, the LPGA Tour will tee it up again across the pond for the Women’s British Open, the season’s fourth major

Co-sanctioned by the LPGA and Ladies European Tour (LET), the Ricoh Women’s British Open will be contested at Royal Lytham and St Annes in Lancashire, England.

Newly minted world No. 1 Ariya Jutanugarn, alongside defending champion In-Kyung Kim, lead a field of 144 players vying for the prestigious title, along with a half-million in money for first place.


THE SKINNY

Tournament: Ricoh Women’s British Open
Managed By: LPGA Tour and Ladies European Tour
Title Sponsor: Ricoh
Dates: August 2-5
Course: Royal Lytham and St Annes
Where: Lancashire, England
Vitals: par-72 (35-37), 6,697 yards
Architect: George Lowe (1897)
Redesign: Harry Colt (1919)
Purse: $3,250,000
Winning Share: $504,821
Defending: I.K. Kim


TV & ONLINE COVERAGE

Rd 1: Thu 6:00-1:00 pm (GOLF)
Rd 2: Fri 6:00-1:00 pm (GOLF)
Rd 3: Sat 7:00-11:00 am (GOLF); 11:00 am-2:00 pm
Rd 4: Sun 7:30-11:30 am (GOLF); 11:30 am-2:30 pm
Online: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Wikipedia


HISTORY

The Women’s British Open was first played in 1976, and established by the Ladies’ Golf Union – the governing body for women’s and girls’ amateur golf in Great Britain and Ireland.

2018 Ricoh Women's British Open
Spain’s Carlota Ciganda tees off on the 2nd hole in a pro-am in advance of the 2018 Ricoh Women’s British Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in Lancashire, England. Credit: Warren Little/WME IMG via Getty Images

The organizers hoped to create a women’s equivalent of men’s British Open Championship. At first the reception was lukewarm, and the tournament was played at, what were considered, “second tier” courses for several years.

In 1994, the LPGA co-sanctioned it as an official tour stop, and as the sport of golf exploded in the late 90s, the brand index of the event grew stronger, which delivered more prestigious links courses playing host – including Royal Lytham & St Annes (1998, 2003, 2006), Royal Birkdale (2000, 2005, 2010), and Turnberry (2002).

The LPGA Tour named it as one of its majors in 2001, as a replacement for the du Maurier Classic in Canada.

In 2007, the tournament finally reached the holy grail, and played at the Old Course at St Andrews. Following St. Andrews, more historic courses followed, such as Carnoustie (2011) and Royal Liverpool (2012).

This edition of the Women’s British Open marks the 19th year as a LPGA major championship.

RECENT WINNERS

2017 – In-Kyung Kim (Kingsbarns, −18)
2016 – Ariya Jutanugarn (Woburn, −16)
2015 – Inbee Park (Trump Turnberry, −12)
2014 – Mo Martin (Royal Birkdale, −1)
2013 – Stacy Lewis (St Andrews, −8)
2012 – Jiyai Shin (Royal Liverpool, −9)


THE COURSE

Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club is one of courses in the British Open rota, having hosted the oldest men’s major 11 times, most famously for Seve Ballesteros’ first (1979) and third (1988) Open victories.

The Women’s British Open has also been contested on the course four times: three times since being designated as a major championship by the LPGA Tour.

Royal Lytham and St Annes
A view of the 18th hole and clubhouse at Royal Lytham and St Annes in advance of the 2018 Ricoh Women’s British Open in Lancashire, England. Credit: Jan Kruger/WME IMG/Getty Images

The club was founded in 1886 with its current course constructed 12 years later in 1897. In addition to the 11 Open Championships it’s hosted, two Ryder Cups as well as three Senior Open Championships have been contested on this historic links track.

For the women’s major championship, Royal Lytham & St Annes will play to a par 72 (35-37) and stretch to 6,585 yards.


DEFENDING CHAMPION

In-Kyung Kim posted a final round 1-under 71 at Kingsbarns and captured her first major title at the Ricoh Women’s British Open.

I.K. Kim Wins 2017 Ricoh Women's British Open
I.K. Kim holds the trophy after winning the 2017 Ricoh Women’s British Open at Kinsbarns Golf Links in Fife, Scotland. Credit: David Cannon/Getty Images

Kim, who entered the final 18 holes with a six-stroke lead, got off to a dream start with a near ace on the par three opening-hole. A tap-in for birdie gave her a seven shot cushion, and from there the 27-year old put it on cruise control, finishing even-par over the final 17 holes, with just one birdie and one bogey against 15 cool pars.

“I feel quite uplifted, I have to say because I really didn’t expect to win this week,” said Kim who has two wins in her last three starts.

“And having the lead and then going into the last round, was a great task. I think I managed it quite well.”

England’s Jodi Ewart Shadoff made a late charge with an 8-under 64 to get to 16-under, but even that wasn’t enough to catch the hottest women’s professional golfer, who finished two clear of runner-up Shadoff at 18-under par.

FINAL TOP 5

1 In-Kyung Kim -18
2 Jodi Ewart Shadoff -16
3 Michelle Wie -13
3 Caroline Masson -13
3 Georgia Hall -13


THE FIELD

The 144-player field in England includes 19 of the top 20 players in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, headlined by the world’s top three in Ariya Jutanugarn (1), Inbee Park (2), and Sung Hyun Park (3).

Ariya Jutanugarn
Ariya Jutanugarn on the 18th hole at Gullane Golf Club after winning the 2018 ASI Ladies Scottish Open in Gullane, Scotland. Credit: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Jutanugarn is the betting favorite, as the 2016 winner moved into the No. 1 position following her third win of the season last week in Scotland. The 22-year old Thai’s three victories have all come in her eight most recent start. Translation: she’s hot.

World No. 5 Lexi Thompson will also be in the field at Royal Lytham and St Annes, still searching for win No. 1 of the 2018 season.

Eyes will also be on the defending champion, and world No. 7, I.K. Kim, who enters off two top 10s in her last three starts.

Canadian Brooke Henderson, at world No. 16, will be teeing it up in her fourth Ricoh Women’s British Open. The Canadian appears to be in top form, posting two top 6s in her last three starts.

Brooke Henderson Marathon Classic
Brooke Henderson hits a shot on the fourth hole during the third round of the 2018 Marathon Classic at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania, Ohio. Credit: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

A handful of top Americans will be in the field as well, including Michelle Wie, Jessica Korda, Cristie Kerr, and Brittany Lincicome.

The field is additionally highlighted by marquee names such as Danielle Kang, Karrie Webb, Mo Martin, and Lydia Ko.


FULL FIELD & ODDS

Ricoh Women’s British Open | Royal Lytham and St Annes (England) | Aug 2-5, 2018

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