England's Laura Davies has staged a remarkable comeback to form this season and she goes into the final major, the Weetabix Women's British Open, as a genuine title contender.

The 42-year-old former world No 1 has even been handed the honour of playing in the first day's star group at Royal Lytham & St Anne's today, alongside 16-year-old American Michelle Wie.

Davies has not won in 28 months, while Wie tied for second behind Australian Karrie Webb in last week's Evian Masters in France.

And the big-hitting Briton admitted that coming so close in elite company was a huge confidence boost.

She started the season by missing seven cuts out of eight in America - and she feared her career might be over.

Davies explained: "I have never been so low. It was embarrassing. I pulled out after I shot 83 in the first round of a tournament in Atlanta and it got so bad that I struggled to take the club back.

"It had happened before with the driver, but this was with every club and it got quite

scary. Golf is the only thing I've ever been good at - to lose it was a shock.

"But then I came back to Europe and shot 66 in the first round of the Swiss Open. It was just a different Tour, a different mindset. I went on to finish second and suddenly all the nonsense was behind me.

"Evian was the best I've played under pressure for years. I'm sorry I didn't win because it's been a long time. But it lifted my confidence through the roof."

Wie is also on a high of confidence, and she admitted she loves links golf, but world No 1 Annika Sorenstam starts as favourite.