Foreigners dominate delayed US Women's Open
BY Bruce Young | LPGA Tour | 2007 US Women's Open | Round One | 29 Jun 2007
Nine foreigners were amongst the eleven players under par as the first round of the US Women’s Open at Pine Needles Lodge and Country Club was brought to a halt by darkness at 8.30 pm.
Yet another LPGA rookie, Angela Park, is making her mark in 2007 and her opening round of three under 68 further confirms her immense talent. This is the second major in 2007 where she has led after the opening round.
The 18-year-old, Brazilian born but of Korean heritage, has led several events this season and has regularly started tournaments well in recent weeks. Park played the Duramed Futures Tour last year but gained access to the LPGA Tour via final qualifying late last year where she finished fifth. She has already recorded three top tens in 2007 one of those when third at the second event of the season, the Fields Open in Hawaii. She shared the lead after round one of the recent McDonald’s LPGA Championship.
This is Park’s fifth major championship her best result to date being when 5th at the Kraft Nabisco in 2006 when playing on invite.
“Last week actually I was hitting my driver terribly,” said park after her round. “I was kind of worried coming into this week, since I knew the fairways are usually narrow, and the rough is usually really hard to get out of in U.S. Open events. So my coach thankfully came over here and we worked on a few things on my swing and got it going.”
“I putted extremely well out there today, only 27 putts. I think that was the main key. Coming into this week I realised that the greens were very difficult and the course was playing very long. And I’m not a very long hitter. I thought I would have to back up on my short game and my irons, which I did well today.”
Park made a brilliant start to the event opening with three consecutive birdies and played her opening nine holes in 31 to set a blistering pace. She was out early at 7.33 and led for most of the day.
Also out early was Karrie Webb who had come into the event confident of a good week. She had declared her swing in very good shape but the results, with one or two exceptions, had not been reflecting as much. Four and half hours after she had set out with great hopes, Webb was trying to come to terms with an opening round of 83.
“I have no excuses, it was a terrible round. I probably had one of the worst days of my career,” she said after her round.
After a weather break of more then three hours late in the afternoon, play resumed with Park in the lead by one and she would remain that way until play was brought to a halt by darkness at around 8.30 pm local time. She led at that point by one over American, In-Bee Park and Korean Jee Young Lee and France’s Karine Icher.
There were still a number of players on the course, some with as many as ten holes to play. They will complete round one tomorrow, before starting their second round.
Only eleven players were under par at the completion of play on day one’s play, the Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club already indicating that by week’s end par will be a much sought after score. The golf course has been softened by rain taking a little of the sting out of it but it appears to be a golf course that will truly test this high quality field.
Lorena Ochoa made a solid start her round of even par 70 including an eagle at the 14th where she holed an unlikely shot from the fairway bunker with a fairway wood. Cristie Kerr, Morgan Pressel and Annika Sorenstam were amongst others at even par although Sorenstam was one of those stranded on the golf course at the 14ht hole and will be forced to return tomorrow to complete her round.
Among several profile casualties on day one was Michelle Wie, whose fortunes continue to tumble after her round of 82.
The best of the Australians was Katherine Hull with a round of one over 72 that included a fast start where she moved within one of the lead with two early birdies.