Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Women's British Open 2010 - Tuesday July 27th - Pro Am

Got to Birkdale in nasty drizzle. An artic was being dragged out of the public car park entrance so I had to use the staff car park. Discovered a new innovation this year. Two shotgun pro-ams - one am and one pm. Wandered out to the 14th green where I found Sophie Gustafson. Next up was Cristie Kerr, sporting a natty piece of headgear. She did sort of acknowledge me on leaving the green. She had given one of her playing partners some tips on getting out of a bunker on 14 and some swing tips on the 15th tee. When he hit a good tee shot she told him he owned her $150. He said she was reasonably priced. She retorted that he also owed her $150 for the bunker advice.

Amanda Blumenhurst was next down the 14th. She was having fun with her partners and said Hi to me as she passed on her way to the 15th tee. Karen Stupples was next up and the crowd which had swelled to two were greeted with a polite Good morning from Karen. There was such a big gap after Karen's group that I wandered up the hill and over to the 13th fairway.

Arrived just in time to see Mika Miyazato helping one of her playing partners find his ball in some really nasty stuff short & left of the 13th green. She was playing with a group of her compatriots so it seemed strange whe nhe shouted "Found it".

At this point headed off to the practice range to see who was about then wandered up to the pitching green where I spied an unusual sight. Mardi Lunn, caddying for Trish Johnson these days was watching without a fag in her hand. Larry, the blogging caddie, caddying for Kris Tamulis, was sporting very unusual wet weather headgear - a basball cap with a towel wrapped round his head and neck. It won't catch on as a fashion statement, I hope.

On my way back to the practice green I came across Tutta teeing off at the 10th and decided to follow her for a few holes. Recognised a couple of faces. Her mum was following as was David Leadbetter.

On the 11th fairway David Leadbetter disappeared off and headed in the direction of the group in front. I left Tutta's group holing out on the 11th and wandered around in time to see the Wie group on the 12th green. Bj was fussing around down on the green whilst Bo was up on the hillside in spectator mode.

Wie had a 5 foot putt for birdie on one of the flatter greens on the course. There was a very disappointed exclamation from Bo when she missed the putt. She and her playing patrners seemed to be interacting well. Her playing partners wanted their photos taken with her together with David Leadbetter.

Waited by the 13th tee for Tutta. After much discussion with Dave Brooker about distance to various bunkers and lines to aim for off the tee, Tutta changed her club and proceeded to hit her tee shot into the large fairway bunker she was most wanting to avoid.

As I was the only crowd following the group I opted to follow them down the fairway rather than heading over behind the ropes. It makes a nice change to walk on the short stuff rather than in the long grass. Tutta advanced the ball a short way down the fairway out of the bunker and then hit a gorgeous iron shot to three feet from the pin to save par.

Caught up with Wie on the 14th green. Another new experience for me. Wie being asked for an autograph and her saying yes! Tutta hit a lovely shot on 14 to 6 feet and made a nice birdie. Tutta teed off on 15 with some sort of game bird wandering about just in front of the tee. I don't know exactly waht it was. My degree was in Marine Biology not Ornithology. Give me molluscs and I'm OK.

Decided it was time for a bacon roll and a cup of tea between the pitching area and practice range. Sun came out so it was off with the waterproof trousers. Wandered off to the putting green to see the afternoon Proam types getting ready. Jiyai Shin's caddie had some framed picture to give her as a pressie from Evian as far as I can make out.

On the practice green Anna Nordquist got some sort of putting tool out of her bag and proceeded to show Brittany Lincicombe how to use it including getting down on her haunches to guide Brittany's putter head, just like a coach. Lots of locals seemed to be avidly taking photos of the two of them but it turned out the legendary Alan Hansen was preparing for the Proam on the green in front of them.

Headed out to the 14th green to watch Anna Nordquist starting the afternoon Proam then watched Yani Tseng playing the 9th green and teeing off on 10. Sat in the stand behind the 1st tee to watch Chritina Kim's group tee off. She got a big round of applause and said Hi to everyone loudly. Decided that after 6 hours of fresh air it was time to head for home.

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