Lost in Yani Tseng’s dominant victory at the Women’s British Open was a strong performance by American Brittany Lang.
Playing two groups ahead of leaders Tseng and Caroline Masson on the final day, Lang tore through the links at Carnoustie to the tune of 5-under, which was tied for second-best round of the day. Tseng was too far ahead for Lang to catch, but her solo second was the best of her career in a major. (She tied for second at the 2005 U.S. Open.)
“I have really been hitting the ball well and playing pretty well for a couple months,” said Lang in a phone interview Tuesday. “I just haven’t really been scoring … just not getting anything out of my game.”
“Since I turned pro, I would probably say yes (it has been my best event) because it’s a major, it’s a big stage. Closing with 5 under coming down the stretch and hitting some of the shots I hit … it was probably my best.”
The effort was at the opposite end of the spectrum from her previous two tournaments. She finished T50 at the U.S. Open then followed that with a T62 at the Evian Masters. The latter was just made a major on the LPGA Tour for next season, bringing the tour’s number of majors to five.
The move received some criticism on this side of the Atlantic. Some golf writers panned the naming of a fifth major as a mere money grab by the LPGA. Some moaned that a major championship can’t be “declared” but must be born out of tradition.
Lang, for one, vehemently disagrees with those notions.
“The Evian Masters, they do have the tradition,” she said. “They run a phenomenal event. It’s a beautiful venue and they have the tradition. They (the organizers) value that tournament. They put a lot of time and energy into it. That’s their baby.
“I would disagree that it’s not born from tradition. It should have been a major a lot sooner. Its not the LPGA trying to make money, it’s the LPGA respecting the tournament.”
Lang might not have had a successful run at the Evian Masters, but she has had plenty of good tournaments overseas – as the British Open proved. In a few weeks, the LPGA Tour will enter a stretch where it will play several events away from the USA – many in Asia.
Lang is hoping to keep her momentum from Carnoustie going for the rest of the season in search of her first LPGA Tour victory. More than anything mechanical, Lang said her mental strength enabled her to put up low numbers at Carnoustie.
“Mentally I was very strong that week,” she said. “That was probably the biggest difference. My mind was very sharp.”
And a little confidence built from her performance won’t hurt either.
“I had worked really hard,” Lang said. “It’s a huge confidence booster. We’ve been working hard on fundamentals and my mind. It’s big to be on that big of a stage and play that well.”
– Chuck Curti