U.S. WOMEN'S OPEN
Thursday: 9 Notes, Quotes, Facts and Figures July 13, 2017 | Bedminster, N.J. By Michael Trostel, USGA

Rachel Heck, 15, is more than holding her own against the world's best players. (USGA/Chris Keane)

U.S. Women's Open Home

Shanshan Feng’s 6-under 66 is her first round in the 60s in 33 U.S. Women’s Open rounds. Feng spoke about being grouped with fellow Olympians Lydia Ko and Inbee Park in the first two rounds: “I was excited because it's the first time since Rio that all three of the medalists have been in the same group. I was just enjoying it so much on the course and I think that really helped my performance, too.”

Amy Yang, who has finished in the top 4 the last three years, shot a 5-under 67.  When first-round play concludes on Friday morning, it will officially mark the fourth consecutive year she has been in the top 10 after 18 holes in the U.S. Women’s Open.

Ko, after an opening 4-under 68, on starting well in her sixth U.S. Women’s Open: “I feel a lot older than when I first played [in 2012]. Nine hours of sleep is like a nap for me now! I haven't had great starts in the past, but no matter how times you’ve played I think you always get excited and a little bit of the butterflies on the first tee since this is the biggest major championship.”

In contrast to the U.S. Open, where the top three players in the world (Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day) missed the cut, big names thrived in the first round. The four players at the top of the leader board – Feng, Yang, Ko, and So Yeon Ryu – are all in the top 10 of the Rolex Rankings. Four other top-10 players – Lexi Thompson, In Gee Chun, Brooke Henderson and Sei Young Kim – also broke par on Thursday. If present form holds, it will be a star-studded leader board heading into the weekend.

After play resumed on Thursday, Suzann Pettersen and Brittany Lincicome finished putting out on the par-3 14th to stay in position and give their fellow competitor, Michelle Wie, additional time to get treatment on her injured neck and back. The gesture did not go unnoticed by Fox Sports broadcaster and two-time Women’s Open champion Juli Inkster, who commended the players for their sportsmanship.

Amateur Hye-Jin Choi opened with a 3-under 69 on Thursday. The last amateur to shoot a round of 3 under or better in the U.S. Women’s Open was Numa Gulyanamitta (3-under 68) in the third round of the 2011 championship at The Broadmoor. Fifteen-year-old Rachel Heck, the youngest player in the field, is also 3 under through 13 holes.

Seven amateurs were at par or better when play concluded on Thursday. The last time that many amateurs shot rounds of par or better in a U.S. Women’s Open was when 10 did it in the first round of the 2008 championship at Interlachen Country Club.

The shortest hole on the course played as the most difficult on Thursday. The 154-yard seventh hole played to a stroke average of 3.35 and yielded nearly as many double bogeys (11) as birdies (14).

The first round was suspended at 4:29 p.m. EDT due to dangerous weather conditions. Play resumed at 6:34 p.m. EDT, then was suspended again at 8:33 p.m. EDT due to darkness with 39 players still on the course. The first round will resume at 6:45 a.m. EDT on Friday. The second round will begin at 7 a.m. EDT with all tee times delayed 15 minutes from the original posted times.

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

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