Leona Maguire and Stephanie Meadow have traded the searing heat of Tokyo for the fresh air of Fife and this week’s Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open at Dumbarnie Links from August 12-15.
Cavan professional Maguire had been gunning for gold in the lead-up to the Olympics but in the end had to settle for a tie for 23rd in a frustrating trip to Japan for the 26-year old.
“It’s not going to be your week every week,” Maguire said, who showed flashes of brilliance but a few too many mistakes in her bid to make the podium. “But at the same time I’ll finish 20-something out of the best field in golf so. It’s still early on in my LPGA career, I’ll learn what I can from this week and take it into the next two weeks.”
Maguire had tried to prepare herself for the sizzling temperatures touching forty Celsius with hot baths pre-Japan but there’ll be no such concerns over the next fortnight with Maguire perched on familiar Scottish soil ahead of a Major date at next week’s AIG Women’s Open at Carnoustie.
“We’ve two big weeks coming up with the Scottish and Open and I haven’t played links golf since this time last year in Troon. Carnoustie will be a good test so I’m looking forward to that, and it will be nice to get out of this heat,” she admitted.
Stephanie Meadow wouldn’t exactly be used to playing in such temperatures either despite now calling Phoenix, Arizona her home. Still, the Jordanstown pro rose to the challenge last week, producing a superb five-under par final round to finish in seventh position on 12-under par.
Languishing in 88th place on the Race to CME Globe this year, Meadow will be determined to bring her Olympic form into this week where a shift in mindset inspired by the Games could pay dividends as she looks to make a late-season assault on the money-list.
“It’s an interesting mentality,” she said. “There’s no cut and all you think about is getting a medal so I think I might take some of that and set the sights higher and kind of focus on that and let nothing else slow you down. That’s something I’ve learned from this week and hope to take on to the next coming weeks.”
The Irish pair will once again face a star-studded field as they look to make their presence felt in Scotland. Patty Tavatanakit, one of 14 major champions lining out at Dumbarnie, has only played a links course one other time in competition, at the 2020 AIG Women’s Open. Though she missed the cut at Royal Troon, she came away with an appreciation for the challenges that links golf offered.
“You don’t have to be perfect. You can just scramble your way around the course and try to score out here, you don’t have to hit it perfect,” said Tavatanakit, who is making her first appearance in the TGWSO.
“It’s something that I haven’t experienced a lot growing up in Thailand, in the U.S., it’s just not something that I’ve been playing a lot to be familiar with it. I think it’s different, and I feel like even though I didn’t play well last year at Troon, I still had fun.”
Like Meadow and Maguire, Hannah Green is one of 30 Tokyo 2020 Olympians in this week’s field. When asked if the major champion felt any jet lag heading into her first LPGA Tour event since the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, Green chuckled.
Bouncing around the world is in the nature of the LPGA Tour, but Green said she has enjoyed some much-deserved rest since landing Sunday night from one of the most memorable experiences of her career. After not touching the clubs for five weeks, Green finished in a tie for fifth at Kawsumigaseki Country Club. Despite missing out on a medal, the 24-year-old said she has felt the impact over the past few days from representing Australia on the Olympic stage.
“I had a lot of messages from people who don’t particularly watch golf. I spoke with Webby (Karrie Webb) after the tournament. She was in hotel quarantine, so she pretty much didn’t have anything else to do besides watch golf, but she said that we got really good coverage being the second week, as there weren’t too many sports on,” said Green. “I feel like I’ve had a lot of messages from people that don’t even play golf or usually watch golf and have some new fans now.”
Green said she’s ready to get back in the swing of consecutive weeks on Tour, and like she has been playing catch-up with friends on Tour since returning to a place that feels like a second home. Green’s mother was born and raised in Fraserburgh, almost three hours north of Dumbarnie Links. Though fans are limited this week, Green is hoping for her family to make a possible appearance at the AIG Women’s Open with 8,000 fans a day expected next week at Carnoustie.
“I’m not sure if they’re allowed this week but I think [AIG Women’s] Open they’re going to definitely try and get out here. Normally my mom would come and we’d go visit up there but obviously with the strict bubble, it’s a little bit different. Fraserburgh is a few hours away, so I won’t be going there unfortunately to see them, but hopefully they can come and make it to the tournament.”
Thursday’s tee times:
- Stephanie Meadow – 12.32pm
- Leona Maguire 1.32pm