Date: January 29, 2008
Author: Angus Morgan

Davies back on course

Angus Morgan, Sportal When Laura Davies&apos 2007 came to a close, she knew some major renovations were desperately needed – not of her golf game, but her home in London. So the four-time Major winner put the clubs away and threw herself into helping her builders in a four-week &aposholiday&apos that&aposs about as clean a break from tournament golf as they come. “I was messing around the house as a brickie&aposs labourer,” Davies said. “I was helping tidy up all the bricks and filling the skip up with all the rubbish, so that was my winter off. “I don&apost like playing friendly golf, I like playing competitive golf so that&aposs why when I&aposm at home, and especially because it was freezing cold and it rained every day, so that&aposs another good reason.” Tearing up floorboards and hauling wheelbarrows is not the classic preparation for a tournament season, but it doesn&apost seem to have done Davies any harm. The 44-year-old veteran was too accomplished for her rivals in last week&aposs LG/Bing Lee New South Wales Open at Oatlands Golf Club and will be looking to follow that first-up victory, the 69th of her career, with No.70 – the 2008 MFS Australian Open at Kingston Heath in Melbourne this week. “I have, over the last two years, had a lot of top-10 finishes and a lot of chances to win but, for whatever reason, just haven&apost quite followed through,” Davies told her pre-tournament media conference at Kingston Heath on Tuesday. “That&aposs why I think Sunday was very important for my year. If I let that one get away early on then maybe that would have been the start of something, but now I&aposve won one, that&aposs a huge step for me.” “I&aposm probably playing better now than I ever did. It&aposs just a matter now of turning top-10 finishes into wins and then all of a sudden people start taking you seriously again.” “When you keep finishing top-10 but now winning there&aposs always that question mark, you know, &aposshe&aposs not a winner anymore&apos. “That&aposs what you&aposve got to do if you want to be recognised as one of the best players.” Starting her season in Australia, Davies believes, gives her the chance to get some Solheim Cup points on the board and generate some early momentum. “I love playing down here, the people have always been really nice to me, it&aposs almost like a second home, that&aposs how I feel when I come down here,” she said. “All in all, it&aposs not something to be missed, really.” And then there&aposs the opportunity to play at Kingston Heath, which she rates as &aposa better version of Sunningdale and by far the best course she will play in 2008. “I&aposve been trying to think of courses I would prefer to play and St Andrews and Royal Lytham is all I could come up with, so this would rate as my third-favourite course I&aposve ever played. “I love well-bunkered golf courses and the two I&aposve mentioned before are probably the two best-bunkered and this one&aposs not far off it.” While Davies believes she is playing better than ever, so is just about everyone else, and there&aposs no comparison between the depth of the fields these days and those from early in her career. “You would turn up at a tournament and know there was only 10 or 15 players that had a chance of possibly winning,” Davies said. “Now, on any given week anywhere – obviously your Lorenas your Annekas have dominated and won huge amounts of tournaments but, other than that, anyone who turns up has got a very good chance of winning, especially on the LPGA Tour.” Not surprisingly, Davies nominates Karrie Webb as the player to beat this week. “There&aposs a lot of young players who, if they like the setup of the course, could get out there, but I don&apost think really low numbers are going to win because it is so well-bunkered and people are going to drop shots,” she said. “But if you finish ahead of Karrie, you&aposre probably going to win.”