x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Davies' 79 leaves her trailing but unbowed

Laura Davies could scarcely hold back the tears at the end of a wind-bedevilled 79 which left her nine shots behind Angela Stanford.

LYTHAM ST ANNES // Laura Davies could scarcely hold back the tears at the end of a wind-bedevilled 79 which left her nine shots behind Angela Stanford, the early leader in the first round of the Ricoh Women's British Open at Lytham. At 45, Davies cares as much as she ever did. "Every time I do a bad score give fodder to those idiots who say I shouldn't be out here any more," she said. "Never a week goes by when people don't come up to me and ask, 'When are you going to retire?' It drives me mad."

Davies said that she took a long, hard look at the 59-year-old Tom Watson as he came close to winning the British Open at Turnberry. "What Tom's performance told me," said the winner of four LPGA majors, "is that I'm only 45 and that I have another 14 years of good golf ahead. Whatever people say, I still believe I'm good enough to win." On a day when Michelle Wie was level par with two to play, Davies felt that her four double bogeys were all down to bad bounces and bunkers. Nothing, she said, annoyed her more than her six at the 18th. "I'd hit a great drive. It looked bang on line and then my caddie said to me, 'You're not going to believe the bounce you got there' and I didn't."

Last year, 13 Asian players finished in the top 20 and many predict that much the same will happen here. At tea-time, the tally was three out of the top five, with the engaging Song-Hee Kim from Korea heading to overtake Stanford when she was three under par with four to play. "Their attitude is different to ours," said Karen Stupples. "Almost from the moment they hit their first shots, golf becomes their career path. They stick to the fairways and they are totally committed."

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