The final field is complete for the 2019 AIG Women’s British Open at Woburn from the 1-4 August with Cheyenne Knight leading the 11 qualifiers at Ashridge Golf Club.
American LPGA rookie Cheyenne Knight made light work of her first competitive round on English soil by recording a superb score of 65 (-7) to top an international leaderboard which included four former Solheim Cup players.
Leading the pack for most of the day, the 22-year-old from Texas hit the turn in 32 strokes which included an eagle at the par five second hole before adding further gains at holes 11,12 and 13 to send her on her way to qualifying for her first Women’s British Open.
“I tried not to look at the leaderboard throughout the round and told myself to go as low as I could,” said Knight. “Coming off the 15th I was six under par and I didn’t even look at the leaderboard.”
It would prove to be a wise move for Knight, who carded another birdie at the par five 17th to seal a second career Major appearance.
Knight also revealed she had an ace up her sleeve in the form of Ashridge Golf Club Assistant Professional Stuart Hall, whom she met while practising on Friday evening.
Without a caddie lined up for the qualifier, the pair joined forces to strong effect – and the partnership will continue at Woburn after Hall negotiated holiday leave with his employer to be on the bag at his first Major Championship.
Knight added: “If you qualify with someone, I think it is nice to keep them on the bag because they earned it too. I just hope he can get off his shift this Wednesday.”
Two shots adrift, Germany’s Sandra Gal lived up to her reputation as the most experienced professional in the field by posting a round of 67 (-5) to qualify in tied second place. The former Solheim Cup player and LPGA winner was the star attraction for the spectators at the Hertfordshire venue.
“I had some really good support today and actually even had a few people walk my practice round late yesterday afternoon, having flown back from Geneva,” said Gal. “Today I even had a few dogs following me too, which was really nice.
“I’ve had a tough year this year but did not put any expectations on myself and from the start of the round, I just said whatever happens will happen. You really want to play the AIG Women’s British Open and I’m pleased to be at the tournament again.”
Amateur trio Frida Kinhult, Ingrid Lindblad and Emma Spitz joined Gal at five under par, safely claiming their spot in the coveted Major.
Nineteen-year-old Lindblad, who recently played the Junior Ryder Cup, was the first to post the number, only missing three greens in a bogey-free round.
“I saw after the 16th that there were a lot of players at three under par so I just tried my best to get ahead of them and was able to hole long putts on the par three and then the 17th before just holding on down the last,” she said.
Swedish teammate and current World Amateur Golf Ranked No. 1 Kinhult also posted a bogey-free round with her father and coach, Mikael, playing the role of caddie this week.
Heading down the par four 18th unsure whether four under par would be enough to avoid a play-off, Kinhult took matters in to her own hands, firing a nine iron to within four feet and rolling in the birdie putt.
Scotland’s Kylie Henry, Jacqui Concolino and Noora Komulainen all qualified with rounds of 68 (-4), leaving nine players to fight it out in a sudden-death play-off for the final three spots.
Frenchwoman Valentine Derrey made a birdie at the first extra hole to ease through, while Agathe Sauzon, also from France, and American Whitney Hillier showed nerves of steel to make it through at the fifth time of asking.
Today's Qualifiers— AIG Women’s British Open (@AIGWBO) July 29, 2019
5. Emma Spitz
Congratulations on qualifying for the #AIGWBO
See you at @WoburnGC pic.twitter.com/mFcfHxIZKm
Woburn has hosted the Championship on ten occasions, the first nine of which were on the Duke’s Course, while the 2016 Women’s British Open was played on the Marquess’ Course to great acclaim from the 144-strong field of world-class players.
Forming part of the Woburn Estate, home to the Duke of Bedford, Woburn Golf Club is one of the UK’s premier golf facilities, boasting three world class Championship golf courses and has held many European Tour and Senior Tour events as well as Final Qualifying for The Open.
The Women’s British Open was founded by the LGU in 1976 and is staged in conjunction with IMG, the world’s largest sports marketing company, since 1984. The event has been co-sanctioned by the LPGA and LET since 1994 and gained Major status in 2001. The Championship is now owned by The R&A.