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.

Sport
Premier League Live
footballLIVE Follow all the Premier League action as it happens
News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
gadgets + echSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
News
James Argent from Towie is missing, police say
peopleTV star had been reported missing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone