Day 1 of the 2013 U.S. Women’s Open Championship from Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, New York is complete, and many players are in the hunt.
Ha-Neul Kim finished the day at six-under par after shooting an opening-round 66. She made everything look easy on the day, missing just one fairway and five greens. She rarely needed additional putts to put the ball in the cup, which really helped her Day 1 score.
Kim currently holds a one-shot lead over Inbee Park, who nearly played a flawless round but had a minor hiccup on the sixth hole to end hopes of a bogey-free round.
Four women are two shots off the lead, and 15 contenders in total are four shots back or less. With Sebonack playing easy on Thursday, the rest of the tournament is bound to be a treat. The eventual winner could finish Sunday at 20-under or better if the conditions in New York stay the same.
What else was happening on Thursday at the U.S. Women’s Open Championship? Ahead is the current leaderboard entering Friday with analysis on two of the top storylines thus far.
U.S. Open Leaderboard (Full Leaderboard at USGA.org)
|T9||Jodi Ewart Shadoff||-2|
|T17||Kyung Kim (a)||-1|
|T17||Na Yeon Choi||-1|
|T17||Brooke Mackenzie Henderson (a)||-1|
Top-Ranked Amateur in the Hunt
Lydia Ko is one of a few amateurs at Sebonack Golf Club, but there’s no question that she’s the cream of the crop. While Ko wasn’t bad on Thursday, she did look a little out of her league at times. Still, she shot even par in Round 1 and should be able to move toward the top of the leaderboard by making some adjustments.
Ko didn’t get off to a good start by bogeying the opening hole. She was just fine throughout the rest of the front nine and even birdied three of the last five holes to sit at two-under with nine to play.
But the back nine weren’t as nice to Ko as the front nine were. She bogeyed three holes, and if it weren’t for a birdie on 15, she’d be in poor shape entering Friday.
Ko played well throughout the day, but putting was her main weakness. She hit 13-of-14 fairways and 15-of-18 greens on Thursday, which is fantastic. The problem was that she averaged 1.83 putts per hole. If she would have two-putted less often, she’d be among the leaders.
Inkster at Even Par
Juli Inkster is playing in her 34th U.S. Open this week and is one of the entrants to keep an eye on. The Hall of Famer has won the major tournament twice in her career, in 1999 and 2002.
Inkster didn’t need to qualify for the tournament, as the she received a special exemption, according to The Associated Press (h/t ESPN). Through 18 holes, she’s making the most of her opportunity to try to win a third U.S. Open title. Inkster finished the first round at even par and is six shots off the lead.
Inkster started to struggle over a six-hole stretch from the fifth to the 10th. She bogeyed three of those holes but managed to birdie the eighth to avoid putting herself in a major hole. She played well from that point but really made her mark on the final hole of the day.
Inkster sat at two-over entering the 18th hole but eagled to finish Round 1 at even par.
Her biggest problem on the day was hitting greens. She only hit 8-of-18 greens throughout the round, which didn’t give her many opportunities to make birdies. If she doesn’t improve, the veteran may not make the cut.