Ursula Wikstrom from Finland fired a five-under-par 67 over The Castle Course in St Andrews on Monday afternoon to lead the 22 players who qualified for the Ricoh Women’s British Open, which starts at Kingsbarns Golf Links on Thursday August 3rd.
Wikstrom made five birdies in generally fine conditions to make a welcome return to the championship after a two-year hiatus.
She said afterwards: “I was playing well on the par 5s. It started on four when I hit my second shot to five metres, so it was an easy birdie there. On nine, I hit the drive on the fringe, so there were quite a few two-putt birdies and no bogeys. I missed the cut last week so I played yesterday. My caddie has been here a little bit!”
Ursula’s caddie is her husband, Mika, who is a member of The RandA and a frequent visitor to St Andrews. The pair will enjoy working together in this week’s championship and she added:
“It will be great to play this week, because it’s been a while. After a couple of rounds last week (in the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open, I’m getting used to links golf again, because it’s a different type of game.”
Earlier in the day, Paula Creamer, Ashleigh Buhai and Tiffany Joh had rounds of 68 and all of those on three-under-par also qualified for the championship.
However, there was a tense play-off between 14 players on two-under-par for the 11 remaining spots. 10 players qualified with pars on the first extra hole, the short 10th and the remaining four players headed to the par 4 11th.
After Laura Sedda was eliminated with a bogey, Nicole Garcia, Scot Laura Murray and Swedish amateur Amanda Linner went to the par-5 15th, where Garcia sealed the final spot with a birdie by making and up and down from long grass at the back of the green