Buoyed by back-to-back top 10 finishes in the last fortnight, Stacy Bregman arrived at Royal Birkdale on Monday aiming for more success in this week’s Ricoh Women’s British Open. Following a tie for fifth at the Italian Ladies Open at the end of June, the 28-year-old Joburg pro notched her fourth top 10 finish this season at the ISPS Handa European Ladies Masters on Sunday. The strong performances in the last fortnight has significantly boosted her confidence ahead of the season’s third Major.
“I’m hitting ball great at the moment and when you are scoring and getting good results, it feeds your confidence. You just want to take it to next level,” Bregman said. The reigning Zambia Ladies Open champion Bregman joined the weekend action at the Buckinghamshire Golf Club near London after rounds of 70 and 71. She reeled in five birdies on the back nine for a third round 68.
With mom Lynn and sister, Melissa Lever, in support, Bregman romped to a flawless final round 69 to share of sixth on 10-under-par 278. A cheque worth €13,240 lifted Bregman to seventh in the rankings, making her the highest ranked South African on the current on the ISPS Handa Order of Merit. “I’m really pleased that I’ve been able to maintain a top 10 ranking this season, but I would be even happier to get that first LET win under the belt. It would be a dream come true for me to get my first podium finish outside Africa at the British Women’s Open. Stranger things have happened, and I am feeling really good going into this week. I missed the cut in my other three starts, but I tied for 67th at Royal Birkdale in 2010. I have some great memories of that event and I really like the course, so it could just be my week,” she said.
Bregman had a practice round on Monday and said the course will present a tough challenge, “I like the layout of this links course and it suits my game,” she said. “I always perform better at ball striking courses, like the Perugia Golf Club where we played the Italian Open and last week. The greens are ample, but they run very fast and you have to keep it in play around this layout. It wasn’t too windy when we played the practice round, but it will be tough to play if the wind gets up. It’s a Major, so the set-up will be challenging and it will be target golf all week. Miss it in the right spots, keep it in the fairway and try to hit it on the right side of the pins and you have a chance to score.” Bregman will have caddie Steve Walsh by her side at Royal Birkdale. “Steve did bag duty for me in Australia where I tied for third at the Volvik RACV Ladies Masters in February. We hooked up again a few weeks ago and it’s been great to have Steve back on the bag. He has a lot of experience and it’s good to have someone with so much experience with you at events like the Ladies European Masters and the British Women’s Open, where the standard of the field is so much higher,” she said.
The other African contenders joining Bregman at Royal Birkdale this week include reigning Investec Cup for Ladies champion, Lee-Anne Pace, three-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner, Ashleigh Simon, Connie Chen and Swaziland’s Nobuhle Dlamini. LET rookies Nicole Garcia and Kim Williams both missed qualifying for the last 14 spots in the Final Qualifying at Southport & Ainsdale Golf Course on Monday.
Photo: Stacy Bregman and Steve Walsh during the ISPS Handa European Ladies Masters
Photo credit: Tristan Jones