Filled with more exciting twists and turns than a pro racing event, the 2014 iteration of the U.S. Women's Open will reach a conclusion on Sunday as Day 4 fades.
A seemingly unpredictable conclusion, that is.
Headlined by names such as Michelle Wie and the unfathomable story of 11-year-old Lucy Li—who has since bowed out of the proceedings—the tournament has been anything but boring.
Expect the remainder of Day 4 to be no different. Here is a look at an updated list of final tee times and the overall leaderboard.
|Pos.||Name||Overall||R4 Score/Tee Time|
|T1||Amy Yang||-2||1:35 PM|
|T1||Michelle Wie||-2||1:35 PM|
|T3||Juli Inkster||+2||1:24 PM|
|T3||Stephanie Meadow||+2||1:24 PM|
|T3||Na Yeon Choi||+2||1:13 PM|
|T3||Minjee Lee||+2||1:13 PM|
|T7||Pornanong Phatlum||+ 3||1:02 PM|
|T7||Karrie Webb||+ 3||12:51 PM|
|T7||So Yeon Ryu||+ 3||1:02 PM|
|T7||Sakura Yokomine||+ 3||12:51 PM|
Note: Full leaderboard and further info available at LPGAScoring.com.
An Unexpected Star Continues to Shine
While Li has rightfully received the bulk of the attention and possibly has more eyes than ever on the sport, her failure to make the cut means more folks can stop and appreciate the fine body of work Stephanie Meadow has crafted thus far.
Playing in her first tournament as a professional, the former Alabama standout has thrown her name in with the heavyweights of the sport.
Don't expect it to stop.
Who wins the U.S. Women's Open?
Nobody saw it coming, either. (Go ahead, look at LPGA.com's leaderboard projection—the slot next to Meadow's name is blank.) Tied with the likes of American legend Juli Inkster, Meadow had been strongest on the front nine before falling off, but she gained some semblance of momentum by nabbing par on the final two holes of Saturday's round.
While Meadow has tallied four bogeys in each of the three rounds, her five birdies in Round 3 were the most in a given round this weekend and suggest she is getting a strong feel for Pinehurst at just the right time.
A second-place finish for Meadow in her pro debut seems storybook-worthy, but she has done nothing but improve each day. Sunday will prove more of the same.
A Familiar Face Pulls Away
It seems a tad boring to roll with a favorite, but Wie has proved time and again to be the star of the show, and the time seems right for her to land a coveted victory.
That said, it is easy to discredit Wie at this juncture after her implosion in Round 3, which saw her surrender a four-stroke lead she had gained by the 11th hole, landing her tied with Amy Yang at two under par heading into Sunday.
Competitors such as Karrie Webb were quick to point out that Wie's missteps were a great crutch, as captured by The Associated Press, via ESPN.com. "Michelle Wie has put a few of us back into the tournament," Webb said. "Two hours ago, I didn't think I had a shot. I'm pretty happy about that."
Wie herself put it best, saying she was not willing to take many risks on such a tricky course.
"U.S. Opens are tough," she said. "I feel like maybe on a different golf course, I would have taken that chance. You just don't want to be too greedy out here. Even though you make bogey, sometimes you just don't want to make a double out here. I felt like I made the right decision there."
But Wie's performance is, well, par for the course at Pinehurst. No player goes through any round unscathed. Just ask the co-leader, Yang, who did not record par until the eighth hole of Saturday's proceedings.
An adjustment from Wie, which she says includes fewer warm-ups to keep energy levels high, per Steve DiMeglio of USA Today, means she will be able to get back to the form that saw her look like the runaway winner in the first place.
The parity of the leaderboard heading into Sunday was a nice surprise, but Wie has the experience and overall skill to claim the top spot by the time Sunday's round concludes.