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Tournament Highlights – AIG Women’s Open 2023

Tournament Highlights - AIG Women's Open 2023
2RH3DB5 Lilia Vu poses with her trophy following victory during day four of the 2023 AIG Women's Open at Walton Heath, Surrey. Picture date: Sunday August 13, 2023.

Here are all the key details you need to know about what happened in the 2023 AIG Women’s Open, including how Lilia Vu won and insights about the course.

Location

Walton Heath Golf Club, Surrey, England

Yardage

6,881; par 72

Tournament Record

269 – Karrie Webb/Karen Stupples (1997/2004)

Purse

$1.35 million (2022)

Tournament Insight

The AIG Women’s Open is run by the R&A as the women’s equivalent to The Open Championship. Originally conducted by the Ladies European Tour, it became an official LPGA Tour event in 1994 and has been designated as an LPGA major championship since 2001. 

The event moves to a different course in the U.K. each year, sometimes to links courses and other years to inland sites. In 2023, the AIG Women’s Open was held for the first time at Walton Heath Golf Club outside London, which ranks among the top courses in England. In 2024, it will go to the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland. 

Course Insight

Walton Heath has a long and distinguished history, having opened in 1904 with its Old Course and a few years later with the New Course, both designed by Herbert Fowler. For tournament play, a composite course is used with the bulk of the holes from the Old Course. Located just south of London, Walton Heath is set on heathland, which gives it some characteristics of links courses—the turf is firm and the fairways are lined with heather and gorse. 

Five-time Open champion James Braid was the first professional at Walton Heath and served in that role for 46 years. The Duke of Windsor was the captain of the club in 1935, the same year he started his reign as King Edward VIII. Winston Churchill was a longtime member of Walton Heath. The club has hosted notable competitions, including the 1981 Ryder Cup Matches, the European Open in the 1970s to 1990s, the 2011 Senior Open, the 2018 Sky Sports British Masters, and the annual Walton Heath Trophy, a prestigious amateur event. 

How Lilia Vu won in 2023

Lilia Vu shot a final-round 67 on a day when none of the other leading contenders could break par, enabling her to break away to a six-stroke victory. The 25-year-old American entered the final round tied for the lead with England’s Charley Hull at 209. Vu quickly moved ahead with a birdie on the second hole and by the time she birdied Nos. 9 and 10 to go three-under for the round, she had a five-stroke lead. Hull briefly pulled within three thanks to holing a bunker shot for an eagle on the 11th, but Vu birdied the 12th and led by at least four the rest of the way, with a birdie on 18 giving her a 5-under round and 14-under 274 total. Hull closed with a 73 and finished second at 280. Hyo Joo Kim and Angel Yin were one stroke behind through 54 holes, but shot 74 and 75, respectively, on Sunday. Ally Ewing, two back entering the final round, slid to a 75. 

  • Vu finished the year with two major titles (she earlier won the Chevron Championship) and four victories and was the LPGA Player of the Year. 
  • Vu was the first U.S. player to win two major championships in a year since Juli Inkster in 1999. 
  • Vu was the first American to win the AIG Women’s Open since Mo Martin in 2014. 
  • In the past eight years, the event has been won by players from eight different countries—Thailand, South Korea, England, Japan, Germany, Sweden, South Africa, and the U.S. 
  • The victory moved Vu to the No. 1 spot in the Women’s Golf World Rankings. 
  • The six-stroke victory margin was the largest in the AIG Women’s Open since Jiyai Shin won by nine in 2012, and the second largest since the event became a major in 2001. 

This was first published in Essential Golf – you can read the complete magazine here.