2022 Women’s US Open First Round Notes

LEADERBOARD
 PlayerTo ParScore
1Mina Harigae-764
2Ingrid Lindblad (a)-665
T3Minjee Lee-467
T3Anna Nordqvist-467
T3Ryann O’Toole-467

MINA HARIGAE LEADS AFTER 18 HOLES AT PINE NEEDLES

On a sunny and blisteringly hot day at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club, Mina Harigae rose to the top of the leaderboard at the 2022 U.S. Women’s Open presented by ProMedica. The 13-year LPGA Tour veteran, winless in more than 250 career starts, carded the lowest round of her major career on Thursday, a 7-under 64 that featured nine birdies and puts her at the head of the field.

“I was putting really well out there today. I haven’t had any tournaments or rounds so far this year where I was putting confidently, so today was the first day,” said Harigae, who hit all 14 fairways on Thursday and needed just 24 putts, the fewest of the field. “Right off the get-go, No. 1 and 2, I made gettable putts. You know, 7 to 10 feet. That really got my confidence going.”

Harigae is already a USGA champion, taking the 2007 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links title just one week before she played the 2007 U.S. Women’s Open at Pine Needles. She doesn’t remember much of that week in Southern Pines, where she ultimately finished T66, last among those who made the cut. Fast forward 15 years and Harigae will use some savvy veteran knowledge to her advantage as she heads into Friday’s second round.

“Just being appreciative of where I am, really taking in the moment, but at the same time, not trying to put so much precedent on how big the moment is,” said Harigae, who has never held the lead after the first round in her LPGA Tour career. “It’s another day on the golf course, another hole. You just have to execute the shots and putts out there.”

Swedish amateur Ingrid Lindblad captured hearts on Thursday morning with a 6-under 65, setting a championship scoring record for the low 18 holes by an amateur en route to solo second. “I hit a few shots close to the pin, and then my putting was great today,” said Lindblad, a rising senior at Louisiana State University. “Made a few par saves and made a few putts for birdies. It just worked from fairway to green.”

Ryann O’Toole opened with a 4-under 67 on Thursday, the lowest round of her 10 U.S. Women’s Open appearances. She sits tied for third with major champions Minjee Lee and Anna Nordqvist, giving O’Toole her best U.S. Women’s Open start since she tied for second after the opening round in 2011.

“I definitely feel like my putting was on today,” said O’Toole, who ultimately finished ninth in 2011. “I made some really good putts, some saves, some long ones, so that was nice to have for a change. I feel like I can always count on my iron game, so it was nice to see that the putter really showed up. I think going into tomorrow, just take it as it comes.”

Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings No. 1 Jin Young Ko is one of 10 players tied for eighth at -2, a group that includes 2017 U.S. Women’s Open champion Sung Hyun Park and American Amy Olson, who joined Ko as U.S. Women’s Open co-runners-up in 2020. Rolex Rankings No. 2 Nelly Korda, playing in her first event since undergoing surgery for a blood clot in early March, rejoined the LPGA Tour with a 1-under 70 and is tied for 18th after the first round.

Three-time U.S. Women’s Open champion Annika Sorenstam, making her first major appearance since 2008, carded a 3-over 74 on Thursday and is tied for 86th. Sorenstam earned a spot in the field after winning the 2021 U.S. Senior Women’s Open and while today’s round was not as spectacular as when she was in her prime, the luster of major golf still made for a memorable day.

“What a nice warming welcome here at Pinehurst, Pine Needles. It was nice to see Donna (Andrews). I played against Donna, so it was great to have her as the announcer, the starter,” said Sorenstam, who won the 1996 U.S. Women’s Open at Pine Needles. “I was teeing off first, and she said, one more minute. It was probably one of the longest minutes ever. I was like, I’m ready now.”

2014 U.S. Women’s Open winner Michelle Wie West, who announced earlier this week that she is stepping away from full-time competition, shot a 2-over 73 and is tied for 67th. Defending champion Yuka Saso opened with a 6-over 77 and is tied for 133rd.

MAJOR CHAMPION ANNA NORDQVIST NEAR THE TOP AFTER DAY ONE OF USWO

Major champion Anna Nordqvist came to Southern Pines with little preparation after withdrawing from last week’s Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play presented by MGM Rewards and wasn’t too sure what to expect at a venue she’s never played. But it didn’t seem to faze the 34-year-old who opened her 14th appearance at the U.S. Women’s Open presented by ProMedica at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club with a 4-under 67. The score ties her low round for the major championship – she also shot 67 in the final round at CordeValle in 2016 to finish solo second, her best result in the event – and Thursday saw Nordqvist make five birdies and one bogey, including three in a row on holes 14 through 16.

“I really didn’t make a lot of mistakes out there,” said the Swede. “When I did, I put myself in good positions to make up-and-downs. But overall I felt like it was really solid. That’s about all you can ask for in a U.S. Open. The course is hard. Even if you have a shorter iron in on some of the holes, you’ve just got to hit the right areas on the greens or they’re going to roll away really far. I think it’s a great golf course, a little bit different from a lot of other courses that we play.”

It was at last year’s AIG Women’s Open at Carnoustie that Nordqvist captured her third major title, but since that win, she’s only notched two top-15s, neither of which have come in 2022. Her best finish so far this year is a tie for 26th that came at the LOTTE Championship, and though she hasn’t missed a cut in her seven starts, Nordqvist is looking to turn things around as the LPGA Tour enters the meat of the major season, hopefully beginning her bounce back this week in North Carolina.

“I definitely would say majors get my adrenaline going a little bit differently than some of the other courses,” said Nordqvist, who also won the 2009 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and the 2017 Amundi Evian Championship. “I feel like a lot of courses we play are not so penalizing when you’re a little bit off line. That’s why I like the way the major sets up. You don’t necessarily have to shoot 20 under to win. Ball-striking has always been my strength of my game, hitting a lot of fairways and a lot of greens, so it probably favors me when it gets a little bit tougher. And I’m pretty stubborn and I hate to give up, so I think that’s probably more than anything the trait I need on a week like this.”

RYANN O’TOOLE ROCKING AND ROLLING AFTER THURSDAY AT PINE NEEDLES

It’s been a solid season so far for 35-year-old Ryann O’Toole. She’s carded two top-10 finishes – a T6 at the LOTTE Championship and a T5 at the Palos Verdes Championship presented by Bank of America – and has three additional top-15s, including a tie for 13th at The Chevron Championship, the year’s first major. So it’s no surprise that O’Toole is near the top of the leaderboard after round one of the U.S. Women’s Open presented by ProMedica, opening the week at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club with a 4-under 67, carding five birdies and a single bogey.

“I definitely feel like my putting was on today,” said O’Toole, who only needed 28 putts to get the job done on Thursday. “I made some really good putts, some saves, some long ones, so that was nice to have for a change. I feel like I can always count on my iron game, so it was nice to see that the putter really showed up. I’m curious to see what my strokes gained were. I was trying to look on the 18th board to see. My caddie yelled at me to focus on my putt instead.”

This is O’Toole’s 10th appearance in the U.S. Women’s Open – her finish was a solo ninth in 2011 at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs – and her 67 marks her lowest round ever in the event. She only has one win on the LPGA Tour, coming at last year’s Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open, and she’s only missed two cuts since that maiden title. As she looks ahead to the next three rounds in Southern Pines, O’Toole hopes to continue her upward trend and looks to put herself in contention on the weekend, a place she’s become very comfortable since that overseas win last year.

“I’m trying not to make it 200-something starts before another (win),” she said. “Other than that, I feel like my game has been in a good spot this whole year. It’s kind of been trending in the right direction, kind of how was it last year at the same point. I’m just trying to work off that and know that it paid off last year and see what it does this year.”

AMATEUR INGRID LINDBLAD SETTING RECORDS IN FRONT OF ONE OF THE GAME’S GREATEST

With a record-setting 6-under 65, Swedish amateur Ingrid Lindblad swept her way to a leading spot among the world’s best female golfers at the 2022 U.S. Women’s Open presented by ProMedica. Lindblad, who just finished her junior year at Louisiana State University, carded seven birdies and just one bogey on a steamy day at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club in Southern Pines, N.C.

“I hit a few shots close to the pin, and then my putting was great today,” said Lindblad, the No. 2 amateur in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Rankings. “Made a few par saves and made a few putts for birdies. It just worked from fairway to green.”

With the 65, Lindblad set a U.S. Women’s Open record for 18-hole score by an amateur. The previous mark of 66 had been returned three times, most recently by Epson Tour winner Gina Kim in the first round in 2019. Her record-breaking day was made even more magical by the company Lindblad kept inside the ropes, playing alongside 72-time LPGA Tour winner and three-time U.S. Women’s Open champion Annika Sorenstam.

“When I saw that I’m playing with her I was like in shock. I was like, this cannot be true,” Lindblad said of playing with her childhood idol. “Then on the first tee box I get her scorecard, I’m like, I have Annika’s scorecard in my hands. But it was really cool. We had fun out there. She fist pumped me for a few birdies, and it was fun.”

For Sorenstam, seeing her young fellow Swede take control of an incredibly difficult Pine Needles track was nothing short of inspirational. “She’s authentic. She’s got a special look, but she’s a fearless player. I think she’s confident in her own game,” Sorenstam said. “I know she doesn’t shy away from the limelight that maybe I did as a young girl. I think she embraces it quite well, and she has some good tournaments coming up this summer, and I think she’s excited. She’s going to be a senior. She’s one of the leaders. She’s really a terrific young lady, and I think she’s going to do well.”

The future of Swedish women’s golf? Sorenstam knows that it’s in good hands, thanks to Lindblad.
 

PLAYER NOTES

Rolex Rankings No. 52, Mina Harigae (64)

  • She hit 14 of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 greens, with 24 putts
  • This is Harigae’s 13th season on the LPGA Tour; she has no career victories and 19 career top-10s, most recently a tie for third at the 2021 CME Group Tour Championship
  • This is Harigae’s 12th appearance in the U.S. Women’s Open; her best finish is a tie for 28th in 2012 at Blackwolf Run
  • Her best finish in a major championship is T13, recorded at the 2020 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and the 2021 AIG Women’s Open
  • Harigae was a member of the 2021 U.S. Solheim Cup
  • She was a member of the 2008 U.S. Curtis Cup team
  • Harigae won the 2007 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links at Kearney Hills Golf Links

CHAMPIONSHIP FORMAT

156 players; 72 holes, stroke play, cut to top 60 and ties after 36 holes

SOCIAL MEDIA: #DRIVEON

Championship: @uswomensopen, @usga (Twitter and Instagram); #USWomensOpen

LPGA: @LPGA, @LPGAMedia (Twitter), @lpga_tour (Instagram)

TV TIMES (all times Eastern)

Friday, June 31-3 p.m.Round 2Peacock
Friday, June 33-8 p.m.Round 2USA
Saturday, June 412-1 p.m.Round 3Peacock
Saturday, June 41-3 p.m.Round 3USA
Saturday, June 43-6 p.m.Round 3NBC
Sunday, June 51-3 p.m.Round 4USA
Sunday, June 53-7 p.m.Round 4NBC

TOURNAMENT SCORING RECORDS

18 holes: 63, Helen Alfredsson, first round, 1994

36 holes: 132, Helen Alfredsson, 1994

54 holes: 201, Juli Inkster, 1999

72 holes: 272, Annika Sorenstam, 1996; Juli Inkster, 1999; In Gee Chun, 2015

VIA LPGA

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