It's time for the final Major of the year at Carnoustie - who will win?
AIG Women’s Open Golf Betting Tips 2021
AIG Women’s Open Golf Betting Tips 2021 – advised bets
It’s the last of the five women’s Majors at Carnoustie this week and only world No. 2 Jin Young Ko is missing from the galaxy of stars tackling the AIG (British) Open Championship on the great Angus links.
Otherwise, the A (Marina Alex) to Z (Rosie Zhang) of the women’s game are there, headed by world No. 1 Olympic gold medalist Nelly Korda, the inevitable favourite.
The younger of the Korda sisters has dominated the LPGA Tour ever since the get-go in January and bagged the first of what is likely to be many Majors at the PGA at the end of June.
The one negative is that her four British Open visits (MC-42-9-14) have not brought the best out of this 23-year-old and she did finish down the field in the most recent Major, the Evian in France.
But, hey, it’s all part of the learning curve and time is very much on her side.
With three LPGA victories this campaign, she is becoming the full package.
Americans are chuffed they have the top spot in the rankings for the first time since Stacy Lewis in 2014 and it must have had an effect on Ryann O’Toole who defied her record of playing over 200 tournaments without an LPGA victory by capturing last week’s Scottish Open, hardly batting an eyelid against players ranked way above her.
Taiwanese bomber Yani Tseng tamed Carnoustie with a 16-under-par supershow for a four-shot victory the last time the Women’s Open was staged there ten years ago but with the course now 360 yards longer that score is unlikely to be beaten.
The set-up in 2011 received a lot of flak with Carnoustie called “watered down” and too easy at almost 1000 yards shorter than the one where Padraig Harrington had triumphed in the men’s equivalent four years earlier.
One critic said the LGU were “out of touch” with the way modern women were playing the game so it will be fascinating to find out how ‘Carnasty’ stands up to the current generation.
Several, like Korda, smash it over 270 yards.
At any rate, the tees are further back and the yardage increased from 6490 to 6850 so the course may get its own back.
Scoring will greatly depend on wind strength.
It was benign in Tseng’s year and nothing serious is forecast this week although daily showers are on the cards.
Inbee Park, the winner at Turnberry in 2015, is back chasing an eighth Major.
Still in her early 30s, she seems to have been around for ever and remains a force despite giving the youngsters 30 yards and more from the tee.
Danielle Kang won the amateur medal at Carnoustie when 49th in 2011 but her links record as a pro is nothing special.
Reigning champion Sophia Popov was ranked 304th in the world when she pulled off a 500/1 surprise at Royal Troon last year.
An encore will be hard for the German on this year’s form.
Popov was the second European winner in the last three editions, England’s Georgia Hall having won in 2018.
With Emily Pedersen, Charley Hull, Irish star Leona Maguire and experienced Swede Anna Nordqvist, Europe has a big hand to play.
Yet new Asian stars Patty Tavatanakit and Yuka Saso are racing past them by winning one Major apiece this year, Saso only 19 when she fearlessly saw off Nasa Hataoka in a tense US Open playoff.
And Atthaya Thikitul, at 18 another teenage phenom, leads the European money list.
Tavatanakit, 21, made the first Major of the year, The Inspiration, her first LPGA victory in April, holding off Lydia Ko.
She hits it a country mile and looks overpriced at 40/1 as does the ever-reliable Inbee Park at 22/1.
Park, an Open winner on a links and still one of the world’s great putters, has an enviably consistent record in this championship right up to last year when she recovered from an opening 77 to take fourth place at Troon.
She has course form too, sharing seventh place with Nordqvist in 2011, but Carnoustie’s extra length is not in her favour.
New Zealander Lydia Ko, so precociously talented that she ranked world No. 1 before her 18th birthday, has her game back after a three-year spell when she changed pretty well everything in search of more length, lost more than she gained, and won only once.
Still only 24, this dual Major winner is now trending nicely, her links warm-up at Dumbarnie adding a second place to her Olympic bronze and Evian sixth.
Those who came over early to play the Scottish surely have an edge and despite never faring better than third in this Major, Ko is on a roll and the one to beat.