England’s Liz Young has a busy month ahead as she is preparing to play in the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open followed by the Ricoh Women’s British Open at six-and-a-half months pregnant.
The 33-year-old from Brokenhurst Manor in Hampshire has played better than ever since announcing that she is expecting her first child on 25th October and easily qualified to play in the fourth Major Championship of 2016.
After a bumpy start to the season in New Zealand, Australia and China whilst suffering from morning sickness and dizziness, she has finished tied for ninth, 11th and eighth in the Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco, the Buick Championship in China and Tipsport Golf Masters in the Czech Republic respectively – moving up to 18th on the Ladies European Tour Order of Merit. She is raring to play in the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Woburn Golf Club starting on July 28, but expecting a baby girl has led to her adapting her game slightly.
She explained: “I can’t hit the ball as far. I used to be an average to long hitter and now I’m a short hitter, so it’s adjusting to that and having to hit fairway woods into par fours, especially for the British Open. As long as you keep it straight and have a good short game, then you’re in with a chance. That’s what I’ve been doing for the last three tournaments.”
England’s top woman player in her amateur days, playing under her maiden name of Elizabeth Bennett, the former Curtis Cup player has not ruled out the possibility of capturing a first professional victory on home soil in Britain.
She continued: “I’m still going into tournaments thinking that I can win it. I know my golf’s good. I’ve got to make adjustments. Competing was my first goal and anything could happen at any point.
“As soon as I’ve got to the tournament, I’ll still be wanting to win it. Realistically, with Scotland, I think it will depend on the weather and if we have bad weather then that’s going to make me tired a lot quicker. At the Ricoh Women’s British Open, I always get good feelings when I come to Woburn, so why not?”
Liz has been inspired by fellow competitors such as Catriona Matthew, who won the HSBC Brasil Cup in 2009 when four months pregnant before going on to win the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Royal Lytham 11 weeks after giving birth to her second daughter and she will be asking the experienced Scot for advice when they play at Dundonald Links in a fortnight’s time.
However, Britain’s biggest tournament, to be played at the venue where she won the 2002 Prince of Wales Amateur Challenge Trophy, is her Major ambition.
“This is a dream come true. When this came up on the schedule, the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Woburn, I thought, ‘Great!’ This is my favourite course in the UK, so I love it. I got pregnant at the beginning of the year and thought that I wouldn’t be playing in it. I was quite sad, so when I found out after Pilsen that I was definitely going to be playing I was thrilled – I’m so excited!”
This will be Liz’s fourth appearance in the Ricoh Women’s British Open (2014, 2013 and 2008) and her seventh appearance in the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open. She posted a career best tie for fourth in the tournament at Archerfield Links in 2011, before matching that result at the 2013 Allianz Ladies Slovak Open.