Double champion Yani Tseng unfazed as weather casts cloud over Hoylake

YANI TSENG, the winner for the past two years, was hoping for some rough weather when she arrived at Hoylake for the Ricoh Women’s British Open. The world No 1 got her wish.

The 23-year-old put together a 16 under par total at a balmy Carnoustie last year but the general consensus is that anyone who manages to match par by Sunday evening could well lift the coveted trophy.

Strong winds sent the scoreboards flying on Tuesday and the rain reached monsoon proportions yesterday. The forecast is for more of the same.

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“The tougher the conditions, the happier I’ll be,” claimed the smiling Taiwanese star. “I love the course, I love links golf and I’m excited by the challenge. If it stays like this, it’s going to be very tough.”

Tseng has reigned supreme in the women’s game for the past few seasons and already has five majors to her name but has had a mini-slump this summer. But, as she looked forward to her bid to become the first three-in-a-row winner of the event, she revealed she had listened to and learned from men’s world No 1, Rory McIlroy. She said: “He also struggled a little but I listened to his interviews. He said he had to enjoy the game again, not become too stressed. That’s what I have to do.”

Nothing much upsets 2009 champion Catriona Matthew, who became the first Scot to win a major when she took the title at Royal Lytham & St Annes.

She is seeking a second win of the season after the Irish Open and, with elder daughter, Katie, now in primary one, juggling family and golfing life has taken another twist.

But the 43-year-old remains as committed as ever and Graeme, her husband and caddie, stayed at home in the past couple of weeks while she finished 11th at the Canadian Open and fifth at the Kingsmill Championship.

“Graeme’s caddying this week but the plan is that we’ll not both be away for more than two weeks at a time,” she said. “I’ll see how it goes next season.”

Matthew’s only visit to Hoylake was 20 years ago and she has happy memories of helping Great Britain and Ireland win the Curtis Cup. But she reckons conditions will be rougher this week and her main aim is to keep double-bogeys off the card.

Carly Booth is the only other Scot in the field and it is not only the Perthshire 20-year-old’s first Women’s British Open but also her first major. However she feels at home as her mum, Pauline, is a Liverpudlian and she is staying with her cousin this week. She has also called on family hospitality to squeeze in a few practice rounds at Hoylake.

It’s been a breakthrough year for Booth, who won the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Ladies’ Open at Archerfield in May and added the Swiss Open a few weeks later. Now she sits at the head of the Ladies’ European Tour Order of Merit.

“I’m excited about this week, but I just hope the weather is kind to us,” she said more in hope than conviction. “The difference to my game this year is my putting. I’ve also settled into life on Tour. It was harder than I expected in my first two years. Of course, when you play well it becomes much more fun.”

For those who enjoy golf in calm, sunny conditions, fun might be in short supply this week but it promises to be another captivating chapter in this great British summer of sport. Success has been the byword over the past month, and Matthew would love to be part of it.