Davies – course novice

“It’s not a bad idea really,” said England’s leading lady, Laura Davies.

Remarkable, then, that in a career spanning 33 years, Davies has never once played the Old Course.

So how will she cope on the untried links, where hazards named ‘Hell’ and ‘Valley of Sin’ juxtapose with the picturesque coastal surroundings?

“I think this is just one (course) that is so generous off the tee, as long as you keep it out of the bunkers and there’s a lot of it out there and a lot of fairway and a lot of light, wispy rough,” she adds.

Davies actually encountered the rough on her first tee shot during a two-hole practice yesterday.

“(I) ripped it out of bounds on the first,” she laughs. “It was windy.

“It was a pretty decent strike. I had people heckling me on the first tee, as well, so it was a hard shot,” she added, acknowledging the supporters who had warned her not to hit it into the rough.

Despite the laughs, the sense of occasion and precedent has not been lost on any of the players.

“Everyone has really been looking forward,” Davies reveals.

“I have not heard one person say anything other than how excited they are to be here.”

It will be left to Australian Nikki Garrett to make history at 6.30 tomorrow morning.

She will be the first woman to strike a ball in a women’s professional tournament on the Old Course.

But greater accolades await, and the players’ seemingly limitless lengths of preparation are testament to the importance of this tournament, both personally and in terms of women’ golf.