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Women's Majors - Golf: AIG Women's Open preview

The final Major of 2022, the AIG Women's Open, begins on Thursday at historic Muirfield in Gullane, Scotland.

The Women's Open, a co-sanctioned LPGA and Ladies European Tour event, took place for the first time in 1976 and became an LPGA Major in 2001, when South Korea's Se Ri Pak triumphed at Sunningdale.

Solheim Cup star Anna Nordqvist is the defending champion, the Swede claimed her third Major when defeating Georgia Hall, Madelene Sagstrom and Lizette Salas by a shot at Carnoustie a year ago.

What:

AIG Women's Open

Where:

Muirfield, Gullane, Scotland

When:

4th August - 7th August 2022

How to watch:

Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Golf and bet365 Live Golf Tracker

Odds:

Lydia Ko 11/1, Nelly Korda 11/1, Hyo Joo Kim 14/1, Minjee Lee 14/1, Brooke Henderson 18/1

Ko and Korda leading the way

Two LPGA superstars headline the Women's Open in comeback kid Lydia Ko, who is on offer at 11/1, and US superstar Nelly Korda, who is an 11/1 chance for Muirfield glory.

Ko burst on the scene as a teenager, winning the Canadian Open as a 15-year-old before claiming 14 of her 17 LPGA titles before her 20th birthday, including two Major titles, but swing problems have hampered her in recent seasons.

However, the Korean-born Kiwi arrives in Scotland having achieved top-five finishes in five of her last six events, although she has only registered one top-10 result in 10 Women's Open appearances.

Korda, meanwhile, returned from a blood clot in June and has subsequently finished eighth in both the Women's US Open and the Evian Championship. She has Open form figures of 9-14-13 from her last three appearances and is likely to be a big player.

Others who are expected to contend for the title include 14/1 shot Hyo Joo Kim, who finished fifth and third in the last two LPGA Majors and was third in Scotland last week, and US Open winner Minjee Lee at 14/1.

Evian Championship winner Brooke Henderson is 18/1 while world number one Jin Young Ko is 20/1.

Muirfield course details

Muirfield has hosted the men's Open 16 times, most recently when Phil Mickelson won the Claret Jug in 2013, and its significance as the venue for the women's equivalent should not be underestimated.

The East Lothian links was removed from the Open rota in 2016 after voting against female members but was added again after the decision was reversed the following year. It will now host the Women's Open for the first time.

While most links courses run along the coast and back, Muirfield, a par-71 which will play to 6,649 yards this week, features looping nines which means that wind direction is rarely the same on each hole. Expect good wind players with solid links credentials to perform well.

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Three to follow

Georgia Hall

Some of the stellar names towards the front of the betting lack bona fide links pedigree but that's not the case for Georgia Hall, who can cap a memorable few days in English women's sport by claiming Open glory for a second time.

While the Women's Open has not always been staged on a links course, that was the case when Hall triumphed by two shots at Royal Lytham & St Anne's in 2018, one of a number of strong links performances from the Bournemouth player.

Hall rose to prominence when winning the Women's Amateur Championship at Machynys Peninsula in Wales in 2013 and her Open form figures over the last five seasons read an eye-catching 3-1-35-45-2.

An eighth-placed finish at the Evian, followed by 18th at the Scottish Open, should have Hall spot-on for this assignment and she makes plenty of appeal at 22/1.

Linn Grant

LPGA legend Annika Sorenstam and defending champion Anna Nordqvist have both won the Open and two more Swedes can take inspiration from their compatriots, starting with promising 35/1 shot Linn Grant.

Grant was an impressive winner of the co-sanctioned Scandinavian Mixed, an event where men and women featured on the same leaderboard playing from different tees, in which she beat the best male players by nine shots and was 14 shots better than the nearest female.

After finishing eighth at the Evian, the 23-year-old missed the cut at the Scottish Open last week but she has strong links credentials, winning the Scottish Women's Amateur at Royal Troon and the Ladies' British Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship at North Berwick in 2017.

Madelene Sagstrom

Another Swede, Madelene Sagstrom, came so close to winning the 2021 Women's Open, finishing runner-up to Nordqvist, and there's a chance she can contend again at 66/1.

The Solheim Cup star has been solid since missing the cut in the US Open, finishing no worse than 28th in five starts, and her 14th-placed finish at the Scottish Open last week hinted at more to come as she closed with an eight-under 64 at Dundonald Links.

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