While focused on the third round of the U.S. Women’s Open, Chella Choi was not keenly aware of her score or its historical significance.
She only knew the birdies were piling up.
"I made birdie a lot today, maybe nine birdies,” said the 24-year-old from the Republic of Korea of her 6-under 64 on Saturday.
She made five of them in a six-hole stretch, part of an outward-nine 29 that surpassed the championship’s nine-hole scoring record. Choi offset bogeys on Nos. 11 and 15 with a trio of incoming birdies, which gave her an opportunity to par No. 18 and tie Helen Alfredsson record score of 63, set in 1994.
Choi ran her long birdie putt past the hole, and her uphill, 3-foot par putt lipped out.
"I didn't know that," she said when asked if she knew what was at stake on the final hole. "But now it's so exciting, so close."
With the 64, Choi joins a trio of players with the second-lowest score for any round in the U.S. Women’s Open. Kelli Kuehne, Lorie Kane and Becky Iverson each shot 64 in the 1999 U.S. Women’s Open at Old Waverly Golf Club in West Point, Miss. She also broke the third-round scoring record of 65 shot by Na Yeon Choi at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wis., three years ago.