Celine Boutier admits it is a long shot but the French player still starts as favourite to make it three wins in a row at the final Major of the season, this weekend’s Women’s Open at Walton Heath.
The 29-year-old claimed her first Major on home soil at the Evian Championship two weeks ago and followed up with a win in the Scottish Open.
“I know the odds, even to win two in a row are very rare,” she pointed out. “It would be unbelievable to win again this week.
“But I’m feeling good, a little bit tired physically but I’ll just try and focus on putting a few good rounds together and try and give myself a chance on Sunday.
“I am happy to have won my first Major and winning at Evian in front of my family and the French fans was something I had always dreamed of doing, so anything else is a bonus.”
South African Ashleigh Buhai defends the title she won at Muirfield in Scotland a year ago.
“It’s fantastic to be back after a whirlwind year, so many memories,” she said. “Winning a Major has given me so much confidence. It gave me the belief that I can win when I am playing well.
“But I’m trying not to put too much pressure on myself. It’s very hard to defend a title,” she added.
Last year at Muirfield, Rose Zhang was the top amateur. Twelve months on and the 20-year-old American in one of the title favourites.
Having swept the boards at amateur level, Zhang exceeded expectations by winning on her first outing as a professional on the LPGA Tour at the Mizuho Americas Tournament in June.
Since then, she has had top 10 finishes in three Majors.
“It’s crazy,” she admitted. “Last year, I was just trying to understand what it was like to play in The Open as an amateur and now I’m a professional.
“Walton Heath is a little bit wet and there is a lot of heather. The heather is beautiful, but it’s terrible. Not somewhere you want to be.”
Zhang is playing with Buhai and Brooke Henderson in the first two rounds, and she admitted: “It’s so cool. I actually played with Ashleigh in my first US Open back in 2018.”
Ko Jin-young, the world No 2, has had a patchy season. She has won twice – in March and May – but has struggled in recent weeks and, after Evian, she spent a week back home in Korea, but withdrew from a tournament.
“I have an injury in my neck,” she said. “I had a 20-hour flight from Evian and I couldn’t sleep. I had a headache and felt dizzy before the second round so I couldn’t play.
Ko has also struggle with a wrist injury.
“I don’t have much expectation this week, but I like to be here in England, near London,” she said. “But I haven’t set any goals.”
© Agence France-Presse