U.S. WOMEN'S OPEN
Rounds 1 and 2: 5 Groups to Watch July 10, 2017 | BEDMINSTER, N.J. By Michael Trostel, USGA

Brooke Henderson will be hungry for a U.S. Women's Open title after nearly winning her second major earlier this month. (USGA/Chris Keane)

Tee Times: Rounds 1 and 2

The 72nd U.S. Women’s Open will be the third USGA championship conducted at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. In 2009, the U.S. Junior Amateur and U.S. Girls’ Junior were played concurrently on the Old and New Courses at Trump, with Jordan Spieth and Amy Anderson emerging as victors. Twelve competitors from the 2009 Girls’ Junior will be in the field this week, including Lexi Thompson and two-time U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Danielle Kang.

Here are five groups to watch on Thursday, July 13 and Friday, July 14, during the first two rounds of the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open:

Lexi Thompson, Stacy Lewis, Brooke Henderson (Thursday, No. 10, 7:07 a.m. EDT; Friday, No. 1, 12:52 p.m. EDT)

Thompson already has one victory and four runner-up finishes in 2017 and is the highest-ranked American in the world (No. 3 as of July 3 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings). Amazingly, the 22-year-old is playing in her 11th U.S. Women’s Open. The 2008 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion has two top-10 finishes in this championship, including a tie for seventh in 2014.

Lewis, 32, hasn’t won in more than three years, but has 31 top-10 finishes in that span. She has also made the cut in the last nine U.S. Women’s Opens, highlighted by a runner-up finish to Michelle Wie in 2014. At age 19, Henderson is already among the greatest Canadian players in women’s golf history. She has four victories, including one major – the 2016 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship – in her short career, and came close to successfully defending the title, finishing as the runner-up two weeks ago.

Inbee Park, Lydia Ko, Shanshan Feng (Thursday, No. 10, 7:18 a.m. EDT; Friday, No. 1, 1:03 p.m. EDT)

The three medal winners at the 2016 Olympic Games – Park (gold), Ko (silver) and Feng (bronze) – are grouped together for the first time since they stood on the platform together in Rio de Janeiro.

Park, who turns 29 the day before the championship begins, is a two-time winner of the U.S. Women’s Open (2008 and 2013) and a seven-time major champion. She missed last year’s Women’s Open at CordeValle because of a thumb injury, but still had a banner season that included qualifying for the LPGA Hall of Fame and winning the Olympic event by five strokes.

Ko, 20, held the 54-hole lead at last year’s Women’s Open before settling for a tie for third. The two-time major champion held the title of top-ranked golfer in the world for 84 weeks before Ariya Jutanugarn passed her in June. Feng, 27, was the first player from China to become a member of the LPGA Tour. She has two top-10 finishes in the Women’s Open (T-4 in 2012 and T-9 in 2013) and her lone major victory came in the 2012 Wegmans LPGA Championship.

Brittany Lang, In Gee Chun, (a) Eun Jeong Seong (Thursday, No. 10, 7:40 a.m. EDT; Friday, No. 1, 1:25 p.m. EDT)

This grouping matches the last two U.S. Women’s Open winners, Lang and Chun, with the reigning U.S. Women’s Amateur and U.S. Girls’ Junior champion, Seong.

Seong has forged one of the most illustrious amateur careers of the last 30 years. The 17-year-old from the Republic of Korea is already a three-time USGA champion and the youngest player to appear in four championship finals. Last year, Seong became the first player to win the Women’s Amateur and Girls’ Junior in the same year. She also won the Girls’ Junior in 2015 and is one of three players to win consecutive Girls’ Junior titles.

Lang earned her first major championship win in her 47th start, defeating Anna Nordqvist in a playoff for the 2016 U.S. Women’s Open at CordeValle. The victory came 11 years after Lang finished runner-up as an amateur in the 2005 Women’s Open at Cherry Hills. Chun used a run of three consecutive birdies on Nos. 15, 16 and 17 to pass Lewis, Park and Amy Yang to claim the 2015 championship. Since the beginning of 2016, Chun has one victory and seven runner-up finishes.

Anna Nordqvist, Haru Nomura, Amy Yang (Thursday, No. 1, 7:51 a.m. EDT; Friday, No. 10, 1:36 p.m. EDT)

Yang’s incredible consistency in the Women’s Open manifested itself once again in 2016. Her tie for third at CordeValle marked the third year in a row – and sixth time in seven years – that she finished in the top 10. While the 27-year-old has yet to win a major championship, Yang has 16 top-10 finishes in 40 starts.

Nordqvist’s bogey-free 5-under 67 was the lowest final round in the 2016 Women’s Open and vaulted her from a tie for 15th into a playoff, which she lost to Lang. The 30-year-old Swede won the 2009 McDonald’s LPGA Championship and has a victory in each of the last four seasons. Nomura, 24, has three wins in the past 16 months, including a six-hole playoff victory in which she outlasted Cristie Kerr at the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout earlier this year.

Suzann Pettersen, Michelle Wie, Brittany Lincicome (Thursday, No. 1, 12:52 p.m. EDT; Friday, No. 10, 7:07 a.m. EDT)

Three veterans of this championship highlight the featured group coverage on Thursday afternoon. Pettersen (14), Wie (13) and Lincicome (13) have combined to play in 40 U.S. Women’s Opens.

Wie, the 2014 champion, has seen a revival in her game in 2017. After totaling 16 missed cuts and just one top-10 finish in 2015 and 2016, the 27-year-old has already posted five top 5s in the first half of this year. Pettersen has posted a top-10 finish in a major in each of the past 11 years, including victories in the 2007 Women’s PGA Championship and the 2013 Evian Championship. The 36-year-old Norwegian was co-runner-up in the 2010 Women’s Open at Oakmont. Lincicome, 31, also has two major championships to her credit, along with three top 10s in the Women’s Open. Earlier this year, she shot 26 under to win the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic in a playoff over Thompson.

Michael Trostel is the senior content producer for the USGA. Email him at mtrostel@usga.org.

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