Woburn (United Kingdom) (AFP) - Lexi Thompson, the top American in the field for the Women?s British Open starting at Woburn on Thursday, was surprised to discover that she faces a very different test from her usual trips across the Atlantic.
A top 20 finisher when the wind howled and the rain poured at Turnberry in Scotland a year ago, the world No.4 played her first practice round in calm sunshine and surrounded by trees.
"Yesterday was the first day I got to play the course and it?s in spectacular shape," said the 21-year-old.
"But Woburn?s definitely different from regular British Open golf courses that I?ve played.
"Usually you see a lot of fescue and a lot of wind. But this course is tree-lined with dog-legs. I like it. It?s a great set-up."
Woburn last hosted the Women's Open in 1999, and that was two years before it became a major and started on a rota of men?s Open venues - St Andrews, Birkdale, Lytham, Turnberry, Hoylake and Carnoustie.
Scot Catriona Matthew, the winner at Royal Lytham in 2009, admitted she was a little disappointed to return to a woodland course.
"When you think of a British Open you imagine a links. But I think they came her with the hope of getting good crowds,? said the North Berwick golfer.
Thompson comes into the event fresh from helping the USA win the International Crown team event in Chicago last week - and she is now looking forward to the Olympics in Rio next month.
"Last week was amazing," she said. "Any time I represent my country it?s always the highest honour. But it?s been a crazy few days rushing to the airport and then coming here."
Brittany Lang is an American seeking back-to-back major victories. She won the US Women's Open at Cordevale in California last month and admits it has been a wonderful boost.
"I definitely feel more confident,? she said. "I?m excited to get going for the British. My game is good and I like the golf course but it is a bit different. It?s kind of fun to play links golf, but this is just like the rest of the Tour."
With teenagers Lydia Ko and Brooke Henderson having won the other two majors this year, 31-year-old Lang was a reminder that older players still have a part to play.
"We do have many great players over 30. We have a ton of them," said the Texan. "But the talent keeps getting younger and younger. But, hopefully, some of us older ones can still hold our own out here."
Park Inbee, the winner at Turnberry last year, has pulled out due to a thumb injury. She wants to make sure she is fit to play for South Korea in the Olympic golf event starting on August 12.