Thursday's roundup: LPGA's Lee almost breaks Indianwood record
San Martin, Calif. — When Mirim Lee walked off the course following her record-tying round, she described her day with words usually not heard when talking about the U.S. Women’s Open.
“So today’s round was easy day — easy round, yeah,” Lee said Thursday.
She sure made it look that way when she became the fifth golfer to shoot a round of 8-under par at the U.S. Women’s Open, making 10 birdies on the way to a 64 to take the early lead at CordeValle.
With the greens not quite as firm as they likely will be later in the week and the wind not playing a major factor, there were low scores to be had throughout the field — at least for the opening morning of the tournament.
“I definitely expect it to change,” said Christie Kerr, who was three shots behind Lee in a tie for second. “I don’t think the USGA likes when we shoot 8-under on their golf course. You have to expect it to change, and if it doesn’t, then you’ll have opportunities to score.”
Lee is the first woman to shoot that far below par at the U.S. Open since Lorie Kane and Becky Iverson did it in the second round in 1999 at Old Waverly in Mississippi. The lowest total score in a round in U.S. Open history is a 63 by Helen Alfredsson in 1994 at the par-71 Indianwood in Michigan.
Lee capped her record day with birdie from about 8 feet on her final hole at the par-5 ninth to take a three-shot lead over Minjee Lee and Kerr after the morning groupings.
“The course is perfect,” Mirim Lee said. “Greens are fast.”
Kelly Tan, Brittany Lang and Anna Nordqvist were all four shots back at 4 under, while six other golfers finished the morning round at 2-under, including Christina Kim and Lizette Salas.
So Yeon Ryu, the 2011 U.S. Open champion, shot a triple-bogey eight on her final hole at the ninth to fall from 4-under to 1-under.
Defending champion In Gee Chun, followed by about a dozen members of the Flying Dumbo fan club wearing shirts that Chun designed, hit back-to-back bogeys on the front nine and finished 1 over. Chun is seeking to become the eighth player to repeat as U.S. Open champion and first since Karrie Webb did it 15 years ago.
The marquee pairing featuring the top two players in the world in Lydia Ko and Brooke Henderson and fourth-ranked Lexi Thompson teed off in the afternoon.
Kerr, playing in the same group with Mirim Lee, nearly matched her stroke for stroke with players standing 3 under through their first 11 holes.
But Lee birdied five of her final seven holes, while Kerr had three birdies and a bogey down the stretch as a gap opened between the two.
Tom Gillis (Lake Orion) shot 2-under 70 in the first round of the Lecom Health Challenge in Clymer, New York.
Justin Hicks (Grosse Ile) is at 1-over 73. Rhein Gibson leads with an 8-under 64.
Scott Hend and Felipe Aguilar made it through blustery conditions and shot 3-under 69 to share the lead after the first round of the Scottish Open in Inverness, Scotland.
Phil Mickelson made three bogeys on the par 5s and opened with a 76.