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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Apparently Opens Don't Need Bad Weather

The RICOH Women's British Open has become very interesting. Royal Birkdale has proven to be a much tougher track than expected, especially given the relatively tame weather.

And amid the surprises -- or rather, on top of them -- stands Mo Martin.

Mo Martin

Most of you may know Mo because of her grandfather Lincoln Martin, since GC has mentioned his presence at many of her events. (He passed away recently at the ripe old age of 102.) She's not a stranger to winning, although her 3 victories so far have come on the Symetra Tour.

Looks like she's got some bigger goals this week. She's never shot better than 70 at the Open (this is her 3rd) but she's got back-to-back 69s this week. She says she knows she'll be nervous this weekend but that's just part of the game.

Three shots behind her are two good players who have struggled big time this year -- So Yeon Ryu and Beatriz Recari. Ryu is the 2011 US Women's Open champ and Recari won twice last year. Neither has been able to do much this year... until this week. Both are very capable of winning this.

It's ironic that the big names are struggling this week -- but then again, the reasonably good weather doesn't seem to have helped any of the long hitters. A few stars like Inbee Park and Stacy Lewis are hanging around par, and a number of favorites (like Lexi Thompson) barely made the cut. And a quite a few of the favorites didn't make the cut at all.

Michelle Wie missed the cut but, although I had her picked as a favorite, I'm not terribly surprised that she missed it. We routinely see male major winners tank for a year, ostensibly because of the increased demands being a major winner puts on their time. While I'm skeptical about the year (or more) of decreased performance, my RGWR rankings typically allow a 3-month grace period after a win to allow for the emotional drain that seems to accompany these events. Michelle won less than a month ago and simply said her tempo felt off this week -- just what I would expect after a whirlwind media tour.

The biggest shock to me was Catriona Matthew missing the cut after shooting an 83 Friday, followed closely by Karrie Webb shooting 79. These are experienced Open winners playing in relatively good weather!

From what I can find out, it appears the weather will remain pretty good until Sunday, when the wind finally jumps to around 15mph in time for the back 9. The players are having trouble hitting Royal Birkdale's narrow fairways now -- what will happen then?

Could be fun, could be carnage. ESPN2 will broadcast the final two rounds today and tomorrow starting at 8am ET. Don't you just love links golf?



  2. Mo Martin's best decision might have been ditching long putter

  3. 2nd major decided by late eagle! Only Concession better at Birkdale