Women’s Open 2014: Dame Laura Davies eyes repeat Royal Birkdale win aged 50
She is a beacon for middle-age ambition in a sport suddenly flush with teenage sluggers
She is the oldest player in the field contesting her 30th Ricoh British Women’s Open, yet you would have to walk the length of the Fylde coast to find a golfer with more enthusiasm than Dame Laura Davies.
At 50 Davies might be in a minority of one this week believing she is a contender for a championship she first claimed 28 years ago. And that is why she is still here, a beacon for middle-age ambition in a sport suddenly flush with teenage sluggers.
The same Royal Birkdale track was the scene of her 1986 triumph, the memories of which still inspire her. “I still feel 21. I have got a bad heel at the moment so I’m walking like a 50-year-old, or even a 60-year-old, but the enthusiasm is still there and in my mind I’m still good enough,” she said.
“If I could just hole some putts and sort that aspect of my game I would be in shape. I haven’t given up on the chances of winning here, that’s not to say I will, of course. I understand the pressure on these young girls to be out here practising every day but the longevity won’t be there.”
Ranged against her is arguably the most talented group of young women the sport has seen, Britain’s Charley Hull, at 18, attempting to join fellow teenager, America’s Lexi Thompson, 19, as a Major champion.
Hull was seventh behind Thompson at the first major of the season, the Kraft Nabisco Championship. She won for the first time in Morocco, scored a top 10 at the Ladies European Tour’s flagship event last week, the ISPS Handa Championship, and just loves Birkdale.
“I played it as an amateur. I missed a four-foot putt on the last to qualify [for the Open] and I was about 14 then, so it’s good to be in it and not have to qualify this time. It’s my favourite links course because I think it’s a fair links. It’s a proper golf course.”
Lincoln MP Karl McCartney 'denied all knowledge' of the Twitter activity
Latest in Sport
Phil Hughes injury: Cricket world reels as Australian opener 'fights for his life'
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund player ratings: Who was the star man at the Emirates? Alexis Sanchez? Santi Cazorla? Or Yaya Sanogo?
Phil Hughes: A swashbuckling, raw and talented batsman who had the world at his feet
Phil Hughes dead: List of players who have tragically died on the cricket pitch
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund report: Yaya Sanogo and Alexis Sanchez are on target as Gunners secure impressive victory
- 1 Sean Abbott: Messages of support flood in for bowler following death of batsman Phil Hughes
- 3 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
- 5 Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Rochester aftermath: Sacking of Emily Thornberry will make work of Labour MPs '10 times harder'