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Aussies chase major glory for second week in a row

Whitney Hillier survived a nine-person playoff to qualify for this week's Women's British Open. (Photo: Ladies European Tour)
We haven't yet reached August but the ninth and final major championship of 2019 - the AIG Women’s British Open - gets underway tomorrow evening AEST in England.

Off the back of last week's Evian Championship in France, golf's elite women are, unusually, in the midst of back-to-back major weeks and return to a British venue steeped in golf history.

For the second time in four years, The Marquess' Course at Woburn Golf Club in Milton Keynes will play host but this time for a much heftier prize purse of US$4.5 million.

Now a 54-hole complex, Woburn has, in the past, been synonymous with the Women’s British Open.

For seven years' running in the 1990s, Woburn's Dukes Course was the home of the Women’s British Open before it was given major championship status in 2001.

In more recent years, the Women’s British Open has been staged at some of Britain’s famed seaside links layouts and in 2020 will be staged at Royal Troon but this year it returns to the parkland, tree-lined Woburn where, in 2016, Ariya Jutanugarn won by three shots to record the first of her two major wins.

Australian golfers have won the Women’s British Open on two occasions at Woburn: Karen Lunn in 1993 and Karrie Webb in 1995, while Webb also won in 1997 at Sunningdale and in 2002 at Turnberry when the event was a major.

This week, seven Australians have earned the right to tee it up including Whitney Hillier who successfully qualified on Monday at nearby Ashridge Golf Club.

Hillier was part of a nine-way playoff for three spots and will be joined at Woburn by​ fellow Australians Minjee Lee, Karrie Webb, Hannah Green, Katherine Kirk, Su Oh and Sarah Kemp.

Lee, surprisingly, missed the cut at last week’s Evian Championship but remains Australia’s leading ranked player even though she hasn't recorded a top ten in her last seven appearances.

It may be that her fellow Western Australian Green, who beat her to a first major at the KPMG Women's PGA last month, could well lead the Australians this week.

Green tied for 30th last week in France in her first appearance since winning the Women's PGA.

The 22-year-old made the cut but finished well back in her only appearance at a Women’s British Open last year in her rookie LPGA Tour season.

Kirk has played this event well on occasions including when runner-up to Yani Tseng in 2010 at Royal Birkdale.

The Queenslander's most recent form has been inconsistent, missing half of her last 10 cuts and recording a best of 18th in that time.

Three-time champion Webb will make her 24th Women's British Open appearance though, as essentially a part-time golfer nowadays, is making just her eighth LPGA start for 2019 having missed the cut in five of her last six events.

Oh has made four of five cuts in this championship for a best of 15th last year while Kemp enters off the back of making the cut last week in Evian though has made just two cuts from eight Women's British Opens played.

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