Scene set for US Women's Open thriller
BY Bruce Young | LPGA Tour | 2010 US Women's Open | Preview | 06 Jul 2010
The US Women’s Open is played this week at the Oakmont Country Club just outside of Pittsburgh, the event being played on this outstanding layout for the second occasion, 18 years after Patty Sheehan defeated Juli Inkster in 1992.
The greatest event in women’s golf, the US Women’s Open carries a purse of US$3,250,000 making it the equal richest purse in the female game along with the Evian Masters although the title as US Open Champion is clearly the more sought after.
The Oakmont Country Club was built in 1903 and designed then by the Henry Fownse and played host to its first US Open for men in 1927. It has gone on to stage eight US Open Championships, the last of which was won by Angel Cabrera in 2007.
The defending champion this week is Eun Hee Ji who recovered from a slow start to her final round last year to win by one over Candie Kung. It was Ji’s second win on the LPGA Tour in just her second season as a full exempt player. Ji was the third Korean in the previous five years to win the event and given the domination of Korean golfers in recent weeks on the LPGA Tour there is every reason to believe they might add another to that record.
At last week’s Jamie Farr Owens Classic in Ohio, seven of the leading nine players at week’s end were Korean born so there are many in form and the large Korean LPGA Tour representation might just produce another major winner this week.
The American who could well upset those predictions is Cristie Kerr, who won the recent LPGA Championship with ridiculous ease. Kerr broke through for her first major championship when she won this event back in 2007 and in the form she is in at present then she could well add another major to her resume.
She led into the final round last year before stumbling but if she gets into that position again then it is unlikely such will reoccur.
Ai Miyazato has been in such incredible form in 2010 that it would be of no surprise if she took her career to another level this week with a major championship title. It took the Japanese star some time to settle in on the LPGA Tour but now that she has she seems set to replicate her stunning career in Japan. She has been twice third in major championships but this is a great opportunity to go one or two places better.
Ji Yai Shin finished well last week in Ohio and has the game to handle the grind of a US Open style set up. Despite not winning in the US this season she has been 5th or better in six of her nine starts and seems to be warming to her task. Her chances look very good.
Suzann Pettersen has not won in 2010 but she has done well enough to be a factor this week. For some reason she has not played this particular event well with only two top tens in eight starts but she should improve on that this week.
The Australian challenge is headed by two times winner Karrie Webb who while not at her peak is close enough to give a very good account this week. Her 5th place finish at the recent LPGA Championship was very encouraging.
Katherine Hull, Lindsey Wright, Sarah Kemp, Tamie Durdin and Anna Rawson also get their opportunity.