Cathryn Bristow also flying the NZ flag at Open

SIMON PLUMB
Last updated 13:28 09/07/2014
Cathryn Bristow
Reuters
KIWI AS: Cathryn Bristow will fly the flag for New Zealand alongside Lydia Ko at the women's British Open this week.

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She may be a 1000-1 shot with the bookies and overshadowed by one of the biggest names in world golf, but Cathryn Bristow will also fly the flag for New Zealand at the women's British Open this week.

While world number two Lydia Ko naturally takes the spotlight going in to Thursday night's start (NZT) of the year's third women's major - where she will again attempt to become the youngest-ever winner of a women's major - Bristow has also managed to sneak in to the prestigious field at Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport, Lancashire.

Left-hander Bristow carded a four-under par 70 at Southport and Ainsdale Golf Club earlier this week to be one of 15 players, from a final qualification stage group of 60, to secure remaining tee times for the Open.

It's the second time 29-year-old Aucklander Bristow has managed to qualify for a major championship, following her inclusion at the 2012 US Open as a second alternate, where she missed the cut.

Currently 84th on the Ladies European Tour's order of merit, last year was Bristow's rookie season on the professional European circuit where she featured in 12 events and managed to just hang on to her tour card through qualifying school.

Previously, Bristow has represented New Zealand at the World Amateur Team Championships in 2008 and in the same year, the Queen Sirikit Cup -where New Zealand finished fifth - and has a degree in psychology from the University of Oregon.

History-hunting Ko, meanwhile, is at 15-1 to win the tournament - one of eight majors on offer which could see the teenage Kiwi become the youngest player ever to win a women's major.

Ko is one of a handful of players to appear at an overnight press conference prior to the opening round.

THE COURSE

Royal Birkdale Golf Club is a regular part of both the men's and women's Open Championship rotation.

Typically, the closing holes also offer plenty of opportunities to make up shots on the field, especially for longer hitters, with three of the final four holes being Par 5's. The last time the women's open was at Birkdale, in 2010, Yani Tseng played the concluding Par 5's in seven-under through the week, including two eagles on the 18th hole.

The men's game has seen both Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson land British Open victories at Birkdale, with the most recent being Padraig Harrington's victory in 2008.

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