Lydia Ko and Brooke Henderson got timely breaks before the Ricoh Women’s British Open.
Ko and Henderson were both off last week while many top players competed in the UL International Crown team matches in Illinois.
The 19-year-old Ko visited France for a promotional event for her upcoming title defense in The Evian Championship and took some tourist time in London before arriving at Woburn Golf Club.
“I went and watched a musical in London,” Ko said Wednesday, the day before the start of play on Woburn’s Marquess Course. “I watched ‘Matilda’. We asked some friends which musical. I’ve watched three, four other musicals here in London. I said, “Hey, what’s popular right now? I watched ‘Miss Saigon’, ‘Mama Mia’, ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,’ what’s my next go-to?” And they said ‘Matilda.’
The 18-year-old Henderson had played nine straight weeks on tour.
“And then I also added another two-day event in there, as well,” Henderson said. “So, kind of 10 weeks in a row, but it was fun. It did get a little bit tired, but I just rested on my days off, Monday and Tuesday, a little bit more than normal. Just tried to pay attention from my body with that.”
The second-ranked Canadian successfully defended her title in Portland, Oregon, and won the KPMG Women’s PGA for her first major victory during the stretch. She has learned to listen to her body.
“I think it also taught me a lot about how I’m feeling when I’m just that little bit fatigued or I’m just not feeling my best,” Henderson said. “I think moving forward, it really helped my game to improve.”
The tournament is the fourth of the LPGA Tour’s five major championships. Ko won The Evian last season for her first major and made it two straight at the ANA Inspiration in California in April. She then lost a playoff to Henderson in the KPMG Women’s PGA and tied for third in the U.S. Women’s Open.
“This year has been a lot of fun,” Ko said. “There are a lot of highs. I think actually winning The Evian Championship I think give me the confidence, and then winning the ANA Inspiration, and to contend in the next two majors, even though I wasn’t holding the trophy at the end of them.”
She’s coming off a victory two weeks ago in Ohio, her fourth LPGA Tour win of the year.
“It’s been a learning progress,” Ko said. “Just to be able to play in major championships, going down in the last group or to be in contention, I think there’s always a lot to learn from that.”
English star Charley Hull is playing on her home course.
“It’s pretty cool that it’s at Woburn,” Hull said. “It’s nice to be home. I remember being very excited when it was announced two years ago but the time has flown by since then. I’m really looking forward to it.”
The 20-year-old Hull has recovered from the asthma attack that kept her out of one of the four-ball matches last week in the UL International Crown.
“I feel a lot better,” Hill said. “It’s always in that part of America that my asthma gets really bad. Here in England I’m used to the pollen and stuff but last week it was hard to breathe with the humidity. They put me on air and that helped a lot.”
U.S. Women’s Open champion Brittany Lang is still adjusting to her playoff victory at CordeValle.
“It’s a new world,” Lang said. “It’s definitely tiring. There are a lot more demands. Everybody is congratulating you. It’s a new world for me but I’m just excited to get going for the British.”
Fourth-ranked Lexi Thompson helped the U.S. win the International Crown.
“It has been a crazy last few days,” Thompson said. “We had a lot of media to do on Sunday and then had to rush to the airport. Yesterday was the first day I got to play the golf course.”
Third-ranked Inbee Park, the winner last year at Turnberry, is sidelined by a lingering left thumb injury. She hopes to ready to compete for South Korea in the Olympics.
U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Hannah O’Sullivan is in the field.