aiming for success on links courses
Defending champion Se Ri
Pak doesn't have great memories of the first and only time she played a links
course at the Women's British Open.
with a reputation as one of the rising stars in women's golf, the Korean found
her game blown away at Lytham St Annes in 1998 and hopes the same won't happen
as the championship makes its debut at Turnberry.
``Those were horrible
memories. I don't want to think about that,'' she said on the eve of the championship.
was the first time I ever played links golf. The wind was there and it was raining
every day. I shot a really, really bad score and I was just out of control. I
just didn't know how to play those conditions.
``After that I thought I'd
never come back again.''
Pak, who tied for 34th place with a 20-over total
of 308, didn't play the British Opens of 1999 and 2000 but came back last year
when the LPGA made it a major as replacement for the du Maurier Classic, held
in Canada. That tournament dropped off the Tour because the Canadian government
would no longer allow tobacco sponsorship of sports events.
Open, sponsored by the manufacturers of breakfast cereal Weetabix, now carries
the flag of a major even though it has been on LPGA Tour since 1994 and the 1
million pound ($1.5 million) championship, with a top prize of 155,000 pounds
($233,000), attracts all the top names on the LPGA Tour. Dottie Pepper is missing
with a left shoulder injury but is the only big absentee.
In contrast to
Lytham and Turnberry, last year's venue Sunningdale is in southern-central England,
a long way from the coastal winds and, in any case, with fairways protected by
tall trees. Pak finished with a 66 to post an 11-under 277 and then watched those
playing behind fail to catch her.
``Last year there was no choice because
the LPGA made it a major and I had to play,'' Pak said. ``But last year was pretty
good, it was fun.
``This is going to be different from last year again.''
winner of a major this year, the LPGA Championship at the DuPont County Club,
Wilmington, Delaware, the 24-year-old Korean has already won four.
she went to Lytham, having won two majors in her rookie year, she just couldn't
handle the strong winds blowing off the sea with no treelined fairways around
to act as windbreaks.
She at least arrives at Turnberry, one of the courses
regularly on the rotation for the men's British Open, with some experience of
And she's won the event, which is more than can be said for
Sweden's Annika Sorenstam, herself the winner of four majors including this year's
Nabisco Championship at Rancho Mirage, Calif.
British Open runner-up three
times, the Swede said she had not played any of the links courses in Scotland
since she was an amateur in 1987.
``Coming here this week I played at Troon,
Glasgow Gailes and Prestwick to get a little feel for the links,'' Sorenstam said.
``I love it. I like the history behind it. It's the sort of golf course that makes
``It's seaside. It's windy. You have to avoid the fairway bunkers.
But it's still beautiful. It's still really a challenge.
``Being a European
this event has always been one of the bigger tournaments,'' Sorenstam said. ``I've
finished second a few times so I always come here hoping it's going to be my year.
I'm still hoping.''
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