US Women's Open: Bronte Law is Britain's leading hope - Iain Carter

Ariya Jutanugarn
Ariya Jutanugarn will defend the US Women's trophy that she won in a play-off last year

Bronte Law's breakthrough LPGA Tour victory provided a timely boost for European golf before this week's US Women's Open in Charleston.

The 24-year-old from Stockport claimed only the third win for the continent on the LPGA circuit in the last 12 months and we have to go back to 2006 and victory for Swedish great Annika Sorenstam to find European hands holding the US Open trophy.

Law's triumph by two strokes in the Pure Silk Championship in Virginia was confirmation of her immense potential and has thrust her into the reckoning for a Solheim Cup debut at Gleneagles in September.

She came close to her maiden triumph three weeks ago by surging into a play-off in San Francisco but lost out to Sei-Young Kim at the LPGA's Mediheal Championship.

It should come as no surprise that Law is making her mark on the premier women's tour.

She turned professional in 2016 after a stellar amateur career in which she rose to number two in the world.

Law became the first Great Britain and Ireland player to win all five matches in the Curtis Cup during the 2016 match, the last of her three appearances in the biennial amateur contest against the United States.

Now in the paid ranks, she is looking increasingly at home against the world's best players.

"She's a real kind of fighter," Solheim Cup captain Catriona Matthew tells this week's The Cut BBC golf podcast.

Annika Sorenstam
Swede Annika Sorenstam's victory in 2006 is Europe's last win in the US Women's Open

"I think she's got a grittiness about her, a never-give-up attitude.

"If you look at her amateur record, she had a great run in the Curtis Cup in matchplay."

Europe's only other winners on the LPGA Tour in the last year have been Georgia Hall at the Women's British Open at Royal Lytham last August and Celine Boutier, of France, in Australia's Vic Open in January.

Hall has failed to recapture the form that brought her first major title on the same Lancashire links where Matthew claimed her Open title in 2009.

"She is struggling a bit this year," Europe's Solheim Cup skipper admitted. "I think sometimes it is difficult after such a big last two years.

"She played so well on her Solheim Cup debut and then winning the British Open last year so maybe it's taking a bit of time to adjust to that. But I'm sure she will come back fighting strong."

Georgia Hall
Georgia Hall has found it difficult to reproduce the form of 2017 and 2018 this year

Matthew also says Europe is overdue a winner of the US Open, arguably the most prestigious title in the women's game.

"It is about time definitely," said the Scot, who recently announced the end of her LPGA Tour playing career.

"You've got a few Europeans playing well so hopefully there will be a few up there contending. Obviously Bronte but Charley Hull as well."

Whoever prospers will have to contend with the demands that go with a course set-up by the United States Golf Association.

"It's always a test, typical USGA," said Matthew, who missed only one US Open since her debut in 1996 until this year.

She was tied fourth in 2001 - one of three top-10 finishes - and added: "They'll have the rough up, and fast, firm greens, so you've always got to play well to do well there."

The one US Open Matthew missed was in 2009, when she gave birth to her second daughter, Sophie, before going on to land her sole major title at Lytham 11 weeks later.

At the time there was little concession from the authorities for players who became mothers but now the USGA has altered its approach.

Two Americans, Stacy Lewis and Brittany Lincicome, have been given exemptions thanks to a new outlook.

Catriona Matthew captains Europe against the United States at Gleneagles in September
Catriona Matthew captains Europe against the United States at Gleneagles in September

"I think it is great to see them coming out with a maternity policy," Matthew said.

"When I had Sophie back in 2009 I petitioned to have my exemption carried over to the following year, but they wouldn't do it then.

"It is great they are moving on and are actually coming out with a maternity policy which they should do in women's sport."

This will be the 74th episode of the US Open, but the first time the women's event has been held at the 6,535-yard par-71 Country Club of Charleston course.

It is known for its challenging green complexes and the par-3 11th is its most notable hole - one where the legendary Sam Snead once infamously carded a catastrophic 13.

Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn is the defending champion, a year on from blowing a seven-stroke advantage before winning a play-off against Hyo-Joo Kim of South Korea on the third extra hole at Shoal Creek in Alabama.

Jutanugarn has slipped down to number four in the world and the favourites this week are Korea's Jin Young Ko and Minjee Lee of Australia.

Canada's Brooke Henderson will be worth watching, while the American challenge is likely to be led by Nelly Korda.

There is an eight-strong UK contingent - namely Law, Hall, Hull, Hayley Davis, Jodi Ewart-Shadoff, Stephanie Meadow, Charlotte Thomas and the veteran Dame Laura Davies.

Of those, the UK's stand-out candidate is Law. She is clearly on a roll and the question is whether she can sustain it for one of the biggest weeks on the women's golf calendar.