Caroline Masson

caroline masson

Caroline Masson was tied for third place following the first round of the 2011 Women's British Open. Who is she? She's pretty well-known in Europe, but not yet known to a lot of American golf fans.

Masson is a 22-year-old German who was the No. 1-ranked amateur golfer in Europe for a time. As an amateur, she won seven German national championships along with the 2008 Spanish Ladies Open Amateur. She played on two Junior Solheim Cup teams and played for the continental side in the 2009 Vagliano Trophy.

Caroline also played golf at Oklahoma State University for two seasons, leaving in 2009. She entered the LET Q-School later that year, and won it.

Her rookie year as a pro was 2010, when Masson posted four Top 10 finishes on the LET with a best showing of third at the Women's French Open. So far in 2011, Caroline has finished in the Top 11 in each of her last five starts on the LET going into the WBO. Prior to that streak, she had a runner-up finish at the Lalla Meryem Cup and helped Germany to a runner-up finish at the European Nations Cup. So while she's still looking for that first pro victory, Caroline is a player who appears due to win soon.

Bookmark and Share

Big Break Ireland Cast Members

The Golf Channel has announced the next season of The Big Break begins on Sept. 20 and is called Big Break Ireland. The cast includes six men and six women. We're going to ignore the men, because this ain't Golf Dudes. We'll be writing more about the six female contestants in the future, so here we'll just introduce each by quoting what the Golf Channel said about them in its official announcement.

mallory blackwelder big break
Mallory Blackwelder
Golf Channel: "24, Versailles, Ky. – The daughter of 13-year LPGA veteran Myra Blackwelder and professional caddie Worth Blackwelder. After traveling worldwide with the Ladies European Tour in 2010, Mallory is competing full-time on the Futures Tour in 2011."

annie brophy big breakAnnie Brophy (left)
Golf Channel: "24, Spokane, Wash. – A rookie on the LPGA Futures Tour and Notre Dame alum, Brophy is looking to capture the Luck of the Irish."

kelly jacques big breakKelly Jacques (right)
Golf Channel: "25, Thornton, Colo. – Jacques made her return to competitive golf in 2011 after taking time away from the game following graduation at the University of Oklahoma. Currently competing on a limited schedule on the Futures Tour, Jacques has a new, fresh outlook on the game."

nina rodriguez big break
Nina Rodriguez
Golf Channel: "27, San Jose, Calif. – Currently competing on the LPGA Futures Tour, Rodriguez is a late bloomer to the game, deciding to focus solely on golf at age 19."

nicole smith big breakNicole Smith
Golf Channel: "24, Riverside, Calif. – Currently living out of her car, Smith is competing full-time on the Futures Tour. The alumfrom the University of Tennessee is looking to follow in the footsteps of 'Big Break Sandals' competitor Ryann O'Toole, her close friend and travel companion."

whitney wright big break
Whitney Wright
Golf Channel: "26, Greenville, S.C. – Girlfriend of 'Big Break Indian Wells' competitor Robbie Biershenk, Wright is competing on the Futures Tour and supplements her income by competing in charitable competitions on the golf course."

More Pics/Info on Contestants
To view more photos and read more about each, click these links:
Mallory Blackwelder
Kelly Jacques
Nicole Smith
Nina Rodriguez
Whitney Wright
Annie Brophy


Ai Miyazato

ai miyazato

Ai Miyazato is your champion at the 2011 Evian Masters. As you've already heard, the Evian is slated to be elevated to major championship status in 2013. There are plenty of pros and cons to that, well-argued in plenty of other blogs. But one thing that distinguishes (or should) majors from "regular" tournaments is the quality of their winners. And if you look at the list of Evian Masters winners, you see great golfers up and down that list. Miyazato only adds to that legacy.

The victory is Miyazato's second in the Evian and her seventh career win on the LPGA Tour.

More Ai Miyazato pics

Bookmark and Share

Kelly Tidy

kelly tidy
(Photo by Poodle Golf / Flickr)


The final qualifying for the 2011 Women's British Open takes place on Monday (July 24), and one of those playing is Kelly Tidy.

Tidy, from England, was in the field at last year's WBO on the strength of her victory at the 2010 British Ladies Amateur Championship. And Kelly almost went back-to-back in the British Am, getting knocked out this year on the 20th hole in the semifinals. "It wasn't a shameful defence," Kelly said, with admirable modesty.

It's been an active 2011 so far for Kelly, who is 19 years old. She spent several months in Orlando, taking advantage of the good weather and playing with, among others, Christina Kim, Sophie Gustafson and fellow Englishwoman Karen Stupples.

After heading back home, Kelly has played for Great Britain & Ireland teams in the Astor Cup and the Vagliano Trophy. The Astor Cup is played every four years amongst GB&I, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa, and GB&I won this year. "It was a really great week," Kelly said, "I had so much fun."

The Vagliano Trophy is like the Curtis Cup except that rather than GB&I vs. the USA, it's GB&I vs. Continental Europe. This year, the continentals took the trophy.

And Kelly remains busy after the WBO qualifier. "I have a couple more events soon enough," she told me. "The English Strokeplay Championships in two weeks time, and the British Strokeplay Championships." Kelly will be among the favorites at both.

And after that? Pro golf beckons. Kelly isn't sure just yet of an exact timetable for turning pro, but is considering entering Ladies European Tour Q-School later this year. And whenever she turns pro, she's looking forward to it.

"Providing nothing changes, it's most likely I'll have a go (at Q-School) this year," Kelly said. "I'm excited to turn professional as its what I've always wanted to do!"

Kelly is an exciting young player, one we'll be hearing a lot from (and seeing more on Golf Babes) in the future.

Follow Kelly Tidy on Twitter

Bookmark and Share

Ran Hong

golfer ran hongAfter three rounds of the 2011 Evian Masters, Ran Hong stands tied for second with Stacy Lewis, Angela Stanford and Miki Saiki, two strokes behind Ai Miyazato. Who is she?

Ran Hong is a KLPGA member whose Evian appearance is her fifth time playing an LPGA event. She played the Hana Bank Kolon Championship in 2008, 2009 (finishing fourth) and 2010, and also played Evian last year.

SeoulSisters.com tells us that she was born in 1986 and turned pro in 2004. She won twice on the KPGA in 2008 and once last year, and has posted several seasons in the Top 10 on the KLPGA money list.

Bookmark and Share

Benedicte Toumpsin

Benedicte Toumpsin
(Photo by Tristan Jones/LET)


This photo was part of a feature on LET rookie Benedicte Toumpsin posted on the Ladies European Tour website recently.

Toumpsin is a native of Belgium who played her collegiate golf at the University of South Carolina. She earned LET rookie status by finishing 18th in Q-School late in 2010.

While at South Carolina, Toumpsin won the NCAA East Regional. Among her other achievements as an amateur, the LET notes: "She has a glittering amateur career, including victories at the Belgian National Championship in 2010 and 2007, the 2005 Belgium Masters and also represented Europe at The 2005 PING Junior Solheim Cup, as well as finishing fourth at the 2007 KLM Ladies Open in the Netherlands whilst still an amateur."

Bookmark and Share

Brittany Johnston

brittany johnston

Brittany Johnston claimed her first career win on the Futures Tour at the ING New England Golf Classic on Sunday, July 17. She did it by firing a 65 in the final round, beating Alison Walshe by one stroke and Kathleen Ekey - Johnston's former high school teammate - by two strokes.

In a "Quick 18" Q&A on the Futures Tour website there is this exchange:

14. If you could impact women's golf, what would you want your legacy to be?
I would teach young girls to believe in themselves and follow their dreams - you never know where the game of golf can take you.

golfer brittany johnstonNow we know golf can take Johnston to the winner's circle.

Johnston is originally from Ohio. She played college golf at Northwestern, posting 15 Top 10 finishes in NCAA play. She graduated from Northwestern in 2008 with a degreen in political science.

That's the same year Johnston turned pro, and 2011 is her first full season on the Futures Tour. Her first win comes just a couple weeks after she played in the U.S. Women's Open, which she got into through qualifying.

Bookmark and Share

Katy Harris Is Writing Quite a Story

katy harris golfer

Lots of golfers make comebacks. But few attempt those comebacks after going years with almost no golf.

Katy Harris - then known as Katy Wilkinson - was a top junior golfer in the mid- to late 1990s: 2-time Indiana high school state champ, 1997 Indiana Women's Open champ. Then she was a top college golfer at LSU: 20 Top 10 finishes, 11 Top 5 finishes, All-American honors in 2001.

She was poised to turn pro and launch a career in golf. But an injury - and then life - sent her down another path.

At the tail end of her senior season at LSU, during the 2001 SEC Championship tournament, Harris tried to play a ball out of the mud in a water hazard. The mud didn't give; her hand did.

"The impact loosened a joint in my right hand," she said. "It didn't feel too bad at the time. Just a little sore. I was able to shoot a course record - and tournament record at the time - (of) 7-under 65 the next day and finished second at the tournament. (But) the more golf I played, the more my hand hurt. Eventually, I felt pain at impact of every shot."

Even after graduation, and after Katy and her husband moved to Houston, the pain persisted. Surgery was recommended.

"An attempt was made to fuse the joint solid using some bone from my wrist," Katy said. "Pins were involved, it wasn't much fun. Unfortunately, it took two surgeries."

Sharmila Nicollet

Sharmila Nicollet

A tweet from Golfweek's Beth Ann Baldry brings news that Sharmila Nicollet is among five sponsor invitees to the 2011 Evian Masters. This will be, by far, the biggest tournament yet for the young Indian golfer. Nicollet appeared in the LET's Finnair Masters several weeks back and missed the cut. In 2010, Nicollet finished 23rd in the LET co-sponsored Hero Honda Women's Open.

Most of Nicollet's experience to date has come on the Ladies Asian Golf Tour and on the women's tour in India, the WGAI Tour. In 2010, Nicollet was the leading money winner on the WGAI.

The 5-foot-10 Nicollet turned 20 years old in March.

Bookmark and Share

Hee Kyung Seo

hee kyung seo

As I write this, it's early in final round of the 2011 US Women's Open and Hee Kyung Seo is in second place, behind her countrywoman So Yeon Ryu.

Hee Kyung Seo, I am required by law to point out, is known as the "Supermodel of the Fairways" on the KLPGA because of her bold on-course fashion choices. Her off-course fashion choices aren't too shabby either, wouldn't you say?

Seo is an 11-time winner on the KLPGA, a 1-time winner thus far on the LPGA. She's in her first year of playing primarily in the US.

More Hee Kyung Seo pics

Bookmark and Share

So Yeon Ryu

so yeon ryu

As the third round of the 2011 US Women's Open approached its close, Golfweek's Beth Ann Baldry tweeted this:

Karrie Webb's instructor, Ian Triggs, told me to keep an eye on So Yeon Ryu. I see why now.


So Yeon Ryu, as I write this, is in the clubhouse at 1-under, tied for the lead with a couple other players at 1-under still on the course in their third rounds. So at worst Ryu will be very close to the lead, if not sharing it, as the final round starts.

Who is she? The indispensable Seoul Sisters (which is also where the above photo comes from) tells me that Ryo's rookie season on the KLPGA was 2008, that she won four times on the KLPGA in 2009 and once in 2010, finishing second on the money list in 2009.

So Yeon Ryu entered the week ranked No. 40 in the women's world rankings. Ryo, who finished 25th in the 2010 U.S. Women's Open, got into the 2011 Open by virtue of a Top 5 finish on the 2010 KLPGA money list.

Bookmark and Share

Mika Miyazato

mika miyazato lpga golfer

Mika Miyazato is your second-round leader at the US Women's Open. Every year at the Open there are early surprises. Mika Miyazato is not one of those surprises. She's certainly not as well-known to most golf fans as the other Miyazato (no relation between Ai and Mika), but Mika is a very, very talented golfer who is going to be an LPGA winner.

Will the 2011 US Women's Open be one of those wins? We'll know in two more rounds.

Bookmark and Share

Ryann O'Toole

ryann o toole golfer

Ryann O'Toole is getting a lot of searches on Golf Babes today because she's looking good in the first two rounds of the 2011 U.S. Women's Open.

O'Toole is a rookie on the LPGA Tour in 2011, and has been very solid in four starts so far. She's also been great in a couple starts on the Futures Tour this year.

Here's a tournament you probably didn't know O'Toole had won: the 2011 Australian Short Course Championship. It was played on a 4,000-yard par-60 layout.

Something curious about Ryann's career development: She wasn't an automatic starter on her UCLA golf team. She's clearly a very talented player, so you'd think she would have been great at the collegiate level. If you're not familiar with college golf, schools take five players to tournaments, and the low four scores count. O'Toole was passed over by her coach in quite a few events. Oops!

But Ryann can take solace in the fact that the same thing happened to Fuzzy Zoeller when he was at the NCAA powerhouse University of Houston back in the early to mid-1970s. And Zoeller was only on his way to a Hall of Fame career in the pro ranks until back injuries derailed him (not before he won a couple majors).

More Ryann O'Toole pics

Shin Ae Ahn

shin ae ahn

It's probably the case that most American golf fans got their first glimpse of Shin Ae Ahn during the second-round broadcast of the 2011 U.S. Women's Open, when she flashed across the screen a few times.

Ahn is 20 years old at the time of the 2011 USWO, and in her third season on the KLPGA. She spent part of her childhood living in New Zealand training at golf, and still works with golf instructors there.

Ahn was KLPGA Rookie of the Year in 2009. Last year, she won twice and finished third on the KLPGA money list (and that's what got her into the USWO).

Bookmark and Share