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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

My "5 to Watch" at the RICOH

I've got a couple of "watch lists" to do this week, so let's get started with the RICOH Women's British Open.

Past champions Stacy Lewis, Mo Martin and Inbee Park

You can get a good overview at Tony Jesselli's site, so I'll just stick to the main facts. The course is Kingsbarns, which is one of the three courses that host the Dunhill Links Championship each year, so this course joins the ranks of those hosting both men's and women's events. The LPGA's overview page is listing the course at 6,697 yards, par 72. Kingsbarns is a links course, bordering the North Sea in Scotland.

And the defending champion is Ariya Jutanugarn, but she hasn't played well on "linksy" courses in the past. Given the current state of her game, this doesn't bode well for her this week -- especially if the weather turns.

That's a possibility. The extended forecast calls for temps in the mid-teens C (that's high-50s F) with heavy showers on Thursday (scattered showers the rest of the week) and steady winds around 10-12mph. So who am I picking this week?
  • I start with Karrie Webb. She came close at the Scottish Open last week, and we all know that age means something at Opens. If the weather toughens up, I suspect she'll be right there on Sunday afternoon.
  • The same goes for Cristie Kerr. She hasn't played particularly well in this event in the past. But with a win already this season and a strong Scottish showing under her belt, I think bad weather could play into her hands.
  • Mighty mite Mo Martin always seems to play well at the RICOH and already has one major win in this event, at Royal Birkdale, along with a T2 last year.
  • So Yeon Ryu continues to play well, with the ANA and the Walmart already this season. She also has a strong history at the RICOH. You have to figure the World #1 will have yet another chance at a victory this week.
  • And my flier is... Stacy Lewis. Yes, she has a win at the RICOH (2013) and a 4th last year, but her 3-year win drought will probably make it more difficult to break through this year.
My pick this week is... Kerr, but I confess that my pick is a sentimental one. She's six points shy of entry into the LGPA Hall of Fame, and this major would get her two points closer. If I was betting money on the outcome, I'd take Webb.

Tony's preview contains a full list of broadcast times -- as does the LPGA overview page -- but it all gets underway Thursday morning on GC, from 6am ET to 1pm ET. GC and NBC will share the broadcasts over the weekend.

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