Georgia Hall points to Ken on the course at Women’s British Open

English woman leads at Royal Lytham and St Anne’s after an opening round of 67

England’s Georgia Hall tees off from the 5th on the first day of the 2018 Women’s British Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club. Photo: Paul Elliss/Getty Images

England’s Georgia Hall tees off from the 5th on the first day of the 2018 Women’s British Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club. Photo: Paul Elliss/Getty Images

 

It took Georgia Hall just a single shot to deliver a statement of intent at the Women’s British Open. That the course opens with a par three provides such opportunity. Hall’s first tee shot, to within a foot of the hole, was duly backed up. Her Thursday round of 67 – five under par and bogey-free – raises the prospect of only a third British success in this event since it was afforded major status in 2001.

Hall will hope location carries deeper meaning: the last such victory, by Catriona Matthew in 2009, was at Lytham.

Hall finished third in this event a year ago. Then, as now, the Englishwoman opted not to use her standard caddie, her boyfriend Harry, with father Wayne taking on bag-carrying duties.

“He knew about it in about March,” Hall said of the disappointment for Harry. “Dad’s done it for the last four or five years and he did the Scottish Open as well; it is our thing. Harry was okay, he gets to do all the rest of the tournaments.”

More pertinent, perhaps, was the dinner Hall shared with the former European Tour player turned analyst Ken Brown at the start of the week. “We were talking about when he played here and he walked nine holes with me on Wednesday,” Hall said.

The 22-year-old Hall also welcomed the concept of pressure over the coming three days. “Because that means I’m doing okay,” she said. “It is the British Open. I expect some pressure.”

Australia’s Minjee Lee, who lost out on a playoff at the Scottish Open on Sunday after missing a three-foot putt at the 72nd, set the early pace with a 65. Mamiko Higa of Japan is just one adrift.

Matthew, playing in the company of Lee, signed for a 71. Charley Hull played the closing four holes in two under in matching Matthew’s score. Florentyna Parker’s 69 was most notable for a hole in one at the 9th. “I was two over par so you think ‘just hit the green’ because you’re not playing great,” Parker said. “It was a quite short hole, downwind. My caddie said eight iron. I wasn’t sure, seven- or eight-, since the wind was strong.

“I hit my eight iron and I was like: ‘Phew, I got it on the green.’ It was directing towards the pin and bounced, I think, a few times, and then it just disappeared. It was amazing. I’ve now had three but that’s my first in a major.”

A rapid improvement in the weather after a squally morning on the Lancashire coast was reflected in the scoring. Yu Liu was one of few to make progress as the wind swirled and rain battered down before taking a triple-bogey seven at the last for a 69. On the same hole, Shanshan Feng thinned a shot from a greenside bunker but watched her ball, remarkably, hit the pin before flying back to a decent position. Feng duly chipped in for a par four before providing the uncontrollable laugh which perfectly described the absurdity of the situation.

Michelle Wie’s appearance lasted only 12 holes. From the position of seven over par she withdrew citing a hand problem.

“I have been doing everything humanly possible this past couple of weeks to get my hand healthy enough to play this event,” she said. “Unfortunately it wasn’t enough. I gave it my all today but I just couldn’t handle the pain any longer.”

A penny for the thoughts of Paula Creamer, the first reserve who would have been given a place in the field had Wie not started her round. – Guardian

Collated first round scores in the Ricoh Women’s British Open, Royal Lytham & St Annes, Lytham St Annes, Lancashire (Britain & Irl unless stated, par 72):

65 Minjee Lee (Aus)

66 Mamiko Higa (Jpn)

67 Pornanong Phatlum (Tha), Teresa Lux (Tai), Mi Hyang Lee (Kor), Georgia Hall, Sung Hyun Park (Kor)

68 Lydia Ko (Nzl), Sandra Gal (Ger), Mina Harigae (USA)

69 Madelene Sagstrom (Swe), Angel Yin (USA), Brooke M. Henderson (Can), So Yeon Ryu (Kor), Lydia Hall, Moriya Jutanugarn (Tha), Florentyna Parker, Carlota Ciganda (Spa), Yu Liu (Chn)

70 Celine Herbin (Fra), In-Kyung Kim (Kor), Hye Jin Choi (Kor), Cloe Frankish, Wichanee Meechai (Tha), Brittany Altomare (USA), Bronte Law, Mi Jung Hur (Kor)

71 Nelly Korda (USA), Ally McDonald (USA), Camilla Lennarth (Swe), Jennifer Song (USA), Jessica Korda (USA), Angela Stanford (USA), Annie Park (USA), Phoebe Yao (Tpe), Shanshan Feng (Chn), Marina Alex (USA), Tiffany Joh (USA), Ariya Jutanugarn (Tha), Sei Young Kim (Kor), Catriona Matthew, Charley Hull, Pernilla Lindberg (Swe), Lizette Salas (USA)

72 Ryann O’Toole (USA), Cristie Kerr (USA), Amy Yang (Kor), In Gee Chun (Kor), Jenny Shin (USA), Karolin Lampert (Ger), Aditi Ashok (Ind), Emma Talley (USA), Rebecca Artis (Aus), Haeji Kang (Kor), Hyo Joo Kim (Kor), Amy Olson (USA), Jane Park (USA), Anna Nordqvist (Swe), Thidapa Suwannapura (Tha), (a) Julia Engstrom (Swe)

73 Caroline Inglis (USA), Meghan MacLaren, Jeong Eun Lee (Kor), Valdis Thora Jonsdottir (Isr), Astrid Ger Pradenne (Fra), Megan Khang (USA), Robynn Ree (USA), Su Oh (Aus), Ludovica Farina (Ita), Silvia Banon (Spa), Mo Martin (USA), Christine Wolf (USA), Eri Okayama (Jpn), Noemi Jimenez Martin (Spa), Mariajo Uribe (Col), (a) Atthaya Thitikul (Tha), Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras (Tha), Caroline Hedwall (Swe), Wei-Ling Hsu (Tai), Kanyalak Preedasuttijit (Tha), Laura Davies, Jenny Haglund (Swe)

74 Casey Danielson (USA), Nuria Iturrios (Spa), Brittany Lincicome (USA), Jacqui Concolino (USA), Xi Yu Lin (Chn), Olivia Cowan (Ger), Sarah Kemp (Aus), Jaye Marie Green (USA), Daniela Darquea (Ecu), Laetitia Beck (Isr), Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong (Tha), Eun-Hee Ji (Kor), Brittany Marchand (Can), Ashleigh Buhai (Rsa), Krista Ursula Wikstrom (Fin), Sun Ju Ahn (Kor), Katie Burnett (USA), Lynn Carlsson (Swe), Danielle Kang (USA)

75 Cheyenne Woods (USA), Misuzu Narita (Jpn), Chella Choi (Kor), Caroline Masson (Ger), Melissa Reid, Nasa Hataoka (Jpn), Brittany Lang (USA), Lindy Duncan (USA), Yani Tseng (Tai), Hannah Green (Aus), Katherine Kirk (Aus)

76 Frida Kinhult (Swe), Inbee Park (Kor), Ayako Uehara (Jpn), Holly Clyburn, Tonje Daffinrud (Nor), Mariah Stackhouse (USA), Anne Van Dam (Ned), Jin Young Ko (Kor), Rachael Goodall, Hee Young Park (Kor), Klara Spilkova (Cze)

77 Mirim Lee (Kor), Jodi Ewart Shadoff, Austin Ernst (USA), Sakura Yokomine (Jpn), Azahara Munoz (Spa), Karrie Webb (Aus), Sarah-Jane Smith (Aus), Leonie Harm (Ger), Kris Tamulis (USA)

78 Nanna Koerstz Madsen (Den), Nicole Broch Larsen (Den), Kylie Henry, Marianne Skarpnord (Nor), Linn Grant (Swe)

79 Inci Mehmet, Lee-Anne Pace (Rsa)

80 Hollie Muse, (a) Agathe Laisne (Fra)

81 Celine Boutier (Fra)

87 Sideri Vanova (Cze)

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