Thursday, July 5, 2012

U.S. Women's Open Thursday Afternoon: Lizette Salas Posts 2nd-Straight 69 to Open an Open

Lizette Salas birdied 2 of her last 4 holes to become the 1st golfer to post a round in the 60s at the 2012 U.S. Women's Open.  Her opening 69 at Blackwolf Run matches her opening round last year at The Broadmoor.  Meanwhile, Jennie Lee birdied her last 4 holes in a row to catch Ai Miyazato, Lexi Thompson, and Beatriz Recari, the leaders in the clubhouse from the morning wave, at -2.  With plenty of players under par still on the course, I'll keep updating this post as more of them finish their rounds.

[Update 1 (7:33 pm):  For a quick indication of how deep the LPGA is, consider that I ranked Salas the 22nd-most-likely non-winner on tour to break through in the 2nd half of the season, and didn't even put Lee in my top 40!]

[Update 2 (8:50 pm)  Brittany Lincicome matched Salas's 69.  Given that she hasn't done anything special since Alabama, I wasn't expecting this out of her, but she's definitely got a good game for majors, especially on big courses like Blackwolf Run.]

[Update 3 (8:53 pm):  And Cristie Kerr just joined them!  3 birdies in her 1st 8 holes and 11 straight pars coming in is a fantastic U.S. Women's Open round!  Again, a bit out of the blue, as her last really good tournament was the Lotte and she missed the cut last week....]

[Update 4 (8:54 pm):  And I see that Mika Miyazato, Inbee Park, Sandra Gal, and Vicky Hurst joined Meena Lee at -1.]

[Update 5 (8:57 pm):  Park doubled 16; otherwise, she would've had a great shot at breaking 70, too.  Gal bogeyed 18 when she needed a birdie to break 70....]

[Update 6 (9:03 pm):  Add Suzann Pettersen (18th-hole bogey) and Na Yeon Choi (33-38) to the list of 71s.  Not bad, but when you get a chance to go more under at a U.S. Women's Open, you wouldn't be human if you didn't feel a bit disappointed by those finishes.]

[Update 7 (9:07 pm):  But hey, at least they did better than the tangle of big names at +2, which is only 5 shots back but also introduces doubts about whether they'll stay on the right side of the cut line tomorrow for Ya Ni Tseng, So Yeon Ryu, Shanshan Feng, In-Kyung Kim, Morgan Pressel, Hee Young Park, Michelle Wie, and Candie Kung, among others.]

[Update 8 (9:14 pm):  Nice afternoon 72s from Hee Kyung Seo, Mindy Kim, and Ilhee Lee.  And not-bad 73s from Brittany Lang and Katie Futcher, among others, keep them right in the mix. It's shaping up to be a very strong opening-day leaderboard!]

[Update 9 (9:31 pm):  Jennifer Song had a gutsy round today.  After bogeying 2 of her 1st 3 holes, she took a deep breath and birdied 5, 7, 10, 14, and 16, despite doubling the par-3 8th.  In the end, she bogeyed the 18th for a 72, breaking a 9-hole bogey-free run.  Now that's a USWO trial by fire!]

[Update 10 (9:34 pm):  So, in the end, on a day when Blackwolf Run seemed almost benign, only 14 players went under par, only 23 shot par or better, and the top 60 and ties will be at +3.  With a few groups still out on the course, the scoring average for the day is around 76.19.]

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