Braving the elements is part and parcel of links golf and one thing is for certain, the elements can be pretty wild in and around St Andrews. Within moments of arriving at Kingsbarns, the heavens opened to truly biblical proportions. The sound of the rain hitting the media centre was loud, dips were even coming through the roof. If this is our sanctuary, then spare a thought for those actually braving those elements and taking on the course.
Hailed as one of the best modern courses constructed, Kingsbarns is only a short drive away from the hallowed ground of St Andrews. It is no stranger to hosting large events being part of the European Tour’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship but this time it has the honour to host a Major.
The Ricoh Women’s British Open will be a different test for the players compared to last year. We have moved away from the tree lined grandeur of Woburn to the traditional links that the tournament has been used to of late. This will be a whole new challenge for those looking to take away the trophy.
As the rain continued to hit with sheer brutality the players participating the Pro-Am were given a taste of what was to come. For others, the push for a final qualifying spot was all that mattered. The Castle Course hosted the final qualifying some of women’s golf’s biggest names aiming to make the event.
Paula Creamer was one who found herself in that position. The Pink Panther herself had not done enough to make it by right and for her, the prospect of qualifying awaited. Not that is was an issue though. The Solheim Cup star eased through taking one of the 22 spots on offer. She did so near the top of the leaderboard no less. It has been a good stay in Scotland for Creamer who also finished in a tie for 13th at the Ladies Scottish Open at Dundonald only moments prior to heading for qualifying. If anything, it shows her steel and determination. She is still hungry for this.
The rain was replaced by splendid sunshine in a matter of minutes and it served as a reminder that in order to win at Kingsbarns the elements have to be mastered. This is a land of contrasts. The sheer beauty of the course combined with the ferocious weather that can strike at any given moment. This really is beauty and the beast.
So who is likely to contend at this year’s Ricoh Women’s British Open? The answer is anyone who can best handle the ever changing conditions that the Scottish weather can throw at them. Perhaps it favours those who made the trip to Dundonald only a few days ago. The likes of Caroline Masson, Cristie Kerr, Karrie Webb and Georgia Hall all walked away with top 10 finishes at that one. Or maybe, just maybe given her route to this championship we may witness the rise of the Pink Panther once again.
One thing is for certain, this really is anyone's to win. It will come down to the ability to manage a difficult course, in tough conditions with an element of luck of the draw. It will be a grinding performance that will win here. So sit back, watch and admire as the Ricoh Women’s British Open puts the best the players in the world against this beast of course.