U.S. Women’s Open featured group combines to shoot 13 over
When it comes to asking questions, consider this one to Lexi Thompson a bogey: What was the experience like stepping onto the first tee at the U.S. Women’s Open at Pebble Beach?
“Well, I started on 10,” Thompson said, correcting the interviewer, “but still amazing.”
That wasn’t the only bogey made on Thursday.
The venerable seaside links greeted the world’s best female professionals with overcast skies, brisk-yet-humid air with a slight wind, and a difficult setup for the opening round of the U.S. Women’s Open. Thompson, playing in already her 17th national championship at just 28 years old, only managed a 2-over 74 to sit middle of the pack, but shockingly, she was easily the standout in Thursday morning’s featured group.
Remember those bogeys we were talking about? Well, the top two players in the world, world No. 1 Jin Young Ko and No. 2 Nelly Korda, combined for 11 of them – and a double bogey apiece.
Korda piped her opening tee shot into Carmel Bay and jotted down a double-bogey 6 at the par-4 10th hole. She’d then bogey three of her next seven holes before birdieing the par-5 18th hole to turn in 4 over. After trading birdies at Nos. 3 and 6 with back-to-back bogeys, at Nos. 7 and 8, Korda signed for 76.
While Korda began her year with six top-6s in her first seven starts to retake the No. 1 spot in the Rolex Rankings, she missed six weeks with a back injury before returning two weeks ago at the KPMG Women’s PGA, where she missed the cut.
Korda didn’t speak to reporters after her round. Neither did Ko, whose 79 bested just four players in Thursday’s morning wave.
Ko bogeyed No. 10 and dropped shots on three of her next six holes before yanking her tee ball into the sea at the par-3 17th hole. Ko’s drop saw her hit her third shot from the thick rough, and though she got that shot on the putting surface, she couldn’t hole the 17-footer to save bogey.
By the time Ko made her first and only birdie, at the par-5 sixth, she was 6 over. She followed with a sixth bogey at the par-4 eighth.
Thompson was one bad break from a likely even-par day. Her approach from 159 yards at the par-4 first plugged in the front-right greenside bunker. “I hit not that bad of an iron shot, only 5 yards left, and it plugged in the bunker,” Thompson explained. “Couldn’t really get it out.”
Thompson only advanced her next shot into the fescued lip. Still with 9 feet for bogey, Thompson couldn’t get her first putt to fall and made double. She added three bogeys to offset three birdies.
“Hard,” Thompson said when asked to sum up Pebble on Thursday. “I know there could be a lot more wind than there is today. It always plays difficult. Tee shots are hard, and bunkers have a lot of sand, and the rough is up really thick.
“It’s definitely a major championship golf course.”
As this featured group found out.