Golf Lowdowns: Maguire and Meadow line up in US Women’s Open at Southern Pines

World number one Jin Young Ko is favourite on a course where her short game and putting should be key assets

Lowdowns

US Women’s Open

Purse: €9.25m (€1.7m to the winner)

Where: Southern Pines, North Carolina, USA

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The course: Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club – 6,638 yards Par 71 – is a Donald Ross design that has a reputation for excellence in course presentation. It is playing host to the US Women’s Open for a record fourth time (Annika Sorenstam won in 1996, Karrie Webb in 2001 and Cristie Kerr in 2007). Designed by Ross and opened in 1928, Pine Needles was renovated in 2004 by John Frought who oversaw the restoration of greens and bunkers to their original Ross design while in 2016 Kyle Franz undertook a rebuilding of the greens and a bunker restoration project.

The field: Nelly Korda is back after a long absence due to health reasons, which makes for a field deserving of the US Open and which includes Annika Sorenstam on the back of her US Seniors Open win of last year. Michelle Wie West is playing in her last event, having announced her plans to retire after the championship.

Quote-Unquote: “My arm wasn’t feeling too great. I listened to my body, went to ER, got some ultrasounds, found out that I had a blood clot, saw a specialist . . . . I’ve been good ever since” – world number two Nelly Korda on discovering a blood clot which has kept her absent since early March.

Irish in the field: Stephanie Meadow is in a group with Annabel Fuller and Bronte Law (6.14pm Irish time); Leona Maguire is grouped with Lizette Salas and Jeongeun Lee6 (7.09pm).

Betting: World number one Jin Young Ko is the 15/1 favourite on a course where her renowned short game and putting should be key assets. Leona Maguire’s poor run of form (three missed cuts) has seen her drift out to 66/1 which represents decent each-way value for championship which she has had as a priority from early on this season.

On TV: Live on Sky Sports Mix (from 6pm), Sky Sports Golf (from 11pm).

The Memorial

Purse: €11.2 million (€2m to the winner)

Where: Dublin, Ohio, USA

The course: Muirfield Village Golf Club – 7,533 yards Par 72 – is a Jack Nicklaus signature course which is the traditional home of the Memorial but also, in its time, has staged Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup and Solheim Cup matches. Designed by Nicklaus in association with Desmond Muirfield, it opened for play in 1974 and has become a favoured stop on tour for players as reflected in the very strong field. Notorious for its fast greens (often up to 14 on the stimp), the course features many notable holes with the Par 5 11th, which has a meandering stream and various levels of terrain, its signature hole.

The field: Seven players from the world’s top 10 are included, with world number two Jon Rahm – a winner in 2019 – the headline act in a stellar line-up that also features defending champion Patrick Cantlay, Cameron Smith, Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy.

Quote-Unquote: “Do I know I can finish out the week? Yeah. Do I know that I can contend? Yes. Do I know that I can finally enjoy golf again? Yes. That’s a big step for me and my health and my mental state” – Bryson DeChambeau on coming back after a long spell out due to a wrist injury.

Irish in the field: Séamus Power is in a group with KH Lee and Marc Leishman (off the first, 1pm Irish time); Shane Lowry is grouped with Jon Rahm and Bryson DeChambeau (off the first, 5.48pm); Rory McIlroy is in a group with Hideki Matsuyama and Patrick Reed (off the first, 6pm).

Betting: Jon Rahm’s putter has warmed up of late and he is the market leader at 9/1 with Rory McIlroy a 10/1 shot and defending champion Patrick Cantlay priced at 14/1 . . . . . better value cane be found with the 33/1 (ew) about Joaquin Niemann while Séamus Power is a 50/1 shot, which also looks good each way value.

On TV: Live on Sky Sports (from 5pm, featured groups on the red button from noon).

Porsche European Open

Purse: €1.75 million (€300,000 to the winner)

Where: Hamburg, Germany

The course: Green Eagles Golf Club(North Course) – 7,475 yards Par 72 – was originally designed by its owner Michael Blesch but underwent a significant upgrade and renovation by European Tour Design which included the redesign and construction of six greens and other improvements. It is one of the longest courses played on the DP World Tour. Two Par 5s extend beyond 600 yards, the ninth and the 16th.

The field: Tommy Fleetwood is back from a spell stateside to headline a field that also features Europe’s Ryder Cup captain Henrik Stenson and last week’s Dutch Open winner Victor Perez.

Quote-Unquote: “I’m up there in the top 50 of the (Race to Dubai) rankings but I’m not pleased with what I’ve done this year. I haven’t really hit form where I feel like I’m in control. I feel like I’ve always been battling” – defending champion Marcus Armitage hoping a return to a happy hunting ground will kickstart his year.

Irish in the field: Cormac Sharvin (7.30am Irish time), Jonny Caldwell(12.30pm) and Niall Kearney (1.10pm).

Betting: Tommy Fleetwood is a strong favourite at 10/1 with in-form Polish player Adrian Meronk and left-hander Bob MacIntyre rated at 16/1s . . . . Thorbjorn Olesen’s improvement was shown in his recent win in the British Masters and he is worth a look at 40/1.

On TV: Live on Sky Sports (from noon).

Philip Reid

Philip Reid

Philip Reid is Golf Correspondent of The Irish Times