Stanford on song despite howling gale

Majority of the field falters during vicious day on links but prayers pay off for American

Anna Rawson, by day a Touring golf professional, by night a catwalk model, believes the only way to save the crumbling women's game is "to sexy it up". The controversial Aussie's latest suggestion is for the players' individual records of choice to be blasted out on loudspeakers as they step on to the first tee. "Blame It On The Bogeys" would have been apt for Rawson here on the first day of the Ricoh Women's British Open yesterday.

In fairness, Rawson was far from being the only player racking up the blue numbers. Of the first 100 players to finish, a staggering 35 – more than a third – failed to break 80. Indeed, when put alongside Gwladys Nocera's 91, Rawson's 82 looked almost respectable. Nocera, if you didn't know, is the European No 1.

The Frenchwoman had two eights on her card and, get this, no pars whatsoever on the back nine. More than any other, her tear-stained scorecard summed up the misery of a long and abject day on the links. The winds raged, the pin-positions were on the bloodthirsty side of sadistic, the rounds took six hours and the rough gobbled up victims like pit-loads of crocodiles hiding under green afros. Believe it, this was "sexy" only to the worryingly weird.

However, there were a few competitors who deserved to whistle "I Will Survive" as they walked off the final green. The American Angela Stanford left some awful form behind her to record a heroic two-under 70. The 31-year-old spent her formative years on the blustery fairways of Texas but has shown no particular love of the links. "My best performance in the British was my first, in '02," said Stanford, referring to her13th placing at Turnberry. "To be honest, I didn't think I was going to be doing that today."

Stanford's groundwork certainly did not scream of a pro ready to take on Lytham's brutal challenge. While her rivals were being blown all over Lancashire on Monday and Tuesday, Stanford was sightseeing in Rome and did not arrive at the course for a practise round until Wednesday afternoon. "I did say a few prayers in the Sistine Chapel, though," she pointed out. The Korean Song-Hee Kim was later to join her at the top of the leaderboard.

Anybody around par had fared rather splendidly and, for many, Michelle Wie being up there on one-over was the day's most positive sight. This is the last chance the former girl wonder has to win a major as a teenager and she displayed all of her new-found maturity in her 73.

Also on the same number was the Scot Vikky Laing, although with respect to the qualifier, the performance of her countrywoman Catriona Matthew was perhaps the more remarkable story. The 39-year-old is playing just her second tournament in six months because of the birth of her second daughter, Sophie, 10 weeks ago, but still managed to knock it around in 74. It could and should have been even more impressive as she lost a ball on the 17th.

Alas, by and large the English did not fare well. Samantha Head was on the heels of the pacesetters after her own 74, but the fancied trio of Laura Davies (79), Karen Stupples (82) and Melissa Reid (81) struggled badly. Stupples, the 2004 champion, called the rough "hellacious", while Davies was too upset to talk. It was not a pop track the old girl needed as she slouched up to that 18th green, but something by Mendelssohn.

Walking up the final fairway to music was another of Rawson's ideas in the manifesto she presented on ESPN on Wednesday night. It was radical stuff but do not expect anyone to take it seriously. In February, when asked about the game's image, Rawson said: "They [the media] still think we're at 25 years ago, you know, when the tour was full of, you know, a lot of dykes and unattractive females that nobody wanted to watch." No, they don't place too much stock in her opinions.

Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
peopleThreats follows actress' speech on feminism and equality at the UN
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits