This week’s Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open at Dundonald Links in North Ayrshire is the perfect warm up for next week’s Ricoh Women’s British Open at Turnberry, but for top European Suzann Pettersen, victory this week is top of her priority list.
The world no.7 has finished third and second in the last two British Opens at St Andrews and Royal Birkdale respectively, both on world class links courses, but after two practise rounds at Dundonald Links, she said: “It’s a beauty of a links course.”
“I like to collect wins around the world and this is a place I’ve not managed that yet. I’ve been close the last couple of years. In the British Open at Birkdale last year I finished second, finding the formula to do well in it. I’m now hoping that I can become even more familiar with links golf heading into Turnberry next week.
“If I was looking ahead I’d probably be in Turnberry already. I’m not going to go there. It’s perfect. I can concentrate on this week and then go there on Sunday night, jump in the car and I’m there. I can go out on Monday morning while the rest are still travelling from the US. It’s perfect preparation, this event. I feel I am already one step ahead. But I’m here to win this week.
“I’m excited to be back in Scotland. I’ve never played back-to-back leading up to the British Open so I decided to try and change it up a bit and fall in love with links golf.”
In 16 years on tour, during which time she has amassed 21 wins around the world, including two majors and a win at Portmarnock Links in the 2008 Irish Open, Pettersen has played a lot of world class courses, but she says: “St Andrews still stands out. The first time I played there I didn’t think much of it. It was a calm day and I couldn’t see why people were talking so highly of it. But the conditions change from day to day and the more you play it the more you see how it changes. You feel the difference in the wind.”
She also rates Dundonald Links extremely highly. “I think this is a great golf course. I’ve never played Troon but this has some character. I guess if you played this from the tips it is quite a beast.
“It has a fantastic finishing stretch. The 14th is a reachable par-5 then you’ve got a tough par 3. The 16th and 17th are also good holes. Indeed, the 16th could almost be the Road Hole.
“I got home in two yesterday at the 18th but I’m not sure the risk is worth it. I had 220 yards to the pin and with the creek at the side you’ve got to be able to fly it all the way up there.
“What I like about these courses is that you’d rather play them than practice. Some of the courses we play are one-directional but that’s not the case when it comes to a links.”