Pat Hurst and Ji Young Oh share the lead after Round One of the U.S. Open. Both players opened with -6 rounds of 67. Song-Hee Kim is in third place after her round of 68 while Louise Friberg, Ji-Yai Shin and amateur Maria Jose Uribe are tied for fourth after starting with 69s.
Conditions today were absolutely perfect – temps in the 80s, no wind until later in the afternoon, humidity high enough to keep the greens from drying out. Neither Hurst nor Oh themselves were perfect. Pat bogeyed twice with six birdies and an eagle at the par-5 2nd while “Young” Ji Young (as Mark Rolfing called her multiple times) bogeyed once with seven birdies. Kim’s 68 only contained one bogey as did Friberg’s 69 (unfortunately at her final hole, #9). Uribe out-dueled her much higher profiled partners, Cristie Kerr and Lorena Ochoa, by three and four shots respectively. Shin, the pride of the KLPGA, overcame three bogeys to join the group at -4.
Several players are finishing their last couple of holes as of 8:40pm EDT. Notable scores (amateurs in bold):
70 Paula Creamer, Laura Davies
70 Catriona Matthew, Helen Alfredsson, Linda Wessberg
71 Yani Tseng, Jee Young Lee, Brittany Lang, Ai Miyazato
71 Rachel Hetherington, Sydnee Michaels, Sakura Yokomine
72 Cristie Kerr, Mi Hyun Kim, Tiffany Lua, Jessica Korda
72 Inbee Park, Candie Kung, Amanda Blumenherst, Mina Harigae
73 Lorena Ochoa, Christina Kim, Jeong Jang, Amy Yang
74 Hee-Won Han, Morgan Pressel, Juli Inkster, Karen Stupples
75 Annika Sorenstam, Karrie Webb, Seon Hwa Lee
75 Stacy Prammanasudh, Grace Park, Alexis Thompson
76 Maria Hjorth, Na Yeon Choi, Se Ri Pak
76 Eun-Hee Ji, Sun Young Yoo, Angela Stanford
77 Suzann Pettersen, Sophie Gustafson, Laura Diaz
78 Lindsey Wright, Jane Park
Surprisingly poor opening rounds from Sorenstam, Pettersen, Hjorth and SH Lee. I expected much better things from each of them this week. It’s not too late for any of them to get back in it - with none of the elite players posting better than 70 today, the deficit isn’t as large as it may seem on the surface. Ochoa birdied three of her last six or she would have been facing that same uphill climb. Mulligan Stu pointed out at Waggle Room that the top two amateurs on the board, Uribe and Sydnee Michaels, both play for UCLA and neither may even be the best player on that team! Tiffany Joh failed to qualify for this event.
The TV coverage was a combination of NBC and ESPN talent, with Rolfing, Judy Rankin and Dottie Pepper in the booth, Gary Koch in the tower position, and Jane Crafter, Roger Maltbie and Andy North walking the course. For the most part, this unfamiliar-to-each-other cast worked very well but being in the booth gave Rolfing way too many opportunities to use his favorite “throw-to-commercial” phrase. I’ve been watching too much NBC golf coverage lately, obviously… The four hours of TV coverage gave me at least two dozen highlights to choose from – I’ll try to slim the reel down to eight or ten.