Lots of golfers took runs at Inbee Park's opening 67 in the morning wave of the U.S. Women's Open. Late in that wave, Caroline Hedwall came to 9 needing a birdie to pass Park and bogeyed it. In the afternoon wave, the weather stayed placid and several golfers took advantage of their opportunities. In-Kyung Kim birdied 6 of 8 holes in the middle of her round, but a 3-putt bogey on the par-5 18th left her tied with Hedwall at -4. Lizette Salas and Anna Nordqvist each made 6 birdies and 2 bogeys to join them 1 shot behind the world #1. In the end, though, it was KLPGA superstar Ha-Neul Kim, who's actually been having an atrocious year at home, to match Park's 25 putts and outdo her with a bogey-free 66.
Others played almost as well in the afternoon wave. Maude-Aimee Leblanc bombed her way to a 69 while Paz Echeverria did it with precision play. Catriona Matthew bounced back from a double on 18 with 3 birdies in her last 4 holes on the front to post an opening 70, while Jessica Korda matched her by offsetting her 4 bogeys with 6 birdies. Shanshan Feng, Haeji Kang, and Pornanong Phatlum put together 71s that could easily have been lower. A bunch of prominent Americans hung tough and played solid golf, including Juli Inkster, Paula Creamer, and Cristie Kerr at E and Morgan Pressel and Angela Stanford at +1. Other heralded international players also stayed in the mix, including Mika Miyazato with a 72, So Yeon Ryu and Azahara Munoz with 73s, and Amy Yang with a 74.
But others struggled. Ya Ni Tseng took a triple late in her round and had to settle for a 76. Chie Arimura bogeyed 3 of her last 4 holes to join her at +4. Ji-Yai Shin went 8-4-3-7 to start her round and opened with a 44 on the back, but fought back with a bogey-free 32 on the front. It was even worse for Beatriz Recari, who opened with 4 bogeys in a row and tripled the par-5 8th on her way to an 81. Annie Park, who led USC to a national championship as a freshman star, had a tough day, as well, with a 79, 1 shot behind her Stanford rival Mariah Stackhouse.
All in all the 1st-round scoring average was 75.319. It certainly makes you wonder what the scores will look like when the winds come up!