3 Things to Know: 78 th U.S. Women’s Open, Round 2

By Ron Sirak

| Jul 07, 2023 | Pebble Beach, Calif.

3 Things to Know: 78 th U.S. Women’s Open, Round 2

If the first round is any indication this championship will not only make history as the first U.S. Women’s Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links but will continue living up to its reputation as a stern test for the world’s best players. On Thursday, the top two players in the Rolex Women’s Golf Rankings – No. 1 Jin Young Ko and No. 2 Nelly Korda – shot a combined 11 over par.

But like many USGA Open competitions, , the top of the leader board on Day 1 was littered with unfamiliar names.

Friday’s second round is an opportunity for players who posted big opening-round numbers – Ko shot 79 and Korda 76 – to try to get back in the mix.

But this much was clear: the damp weather, gnarly rough and small greens presented a difficult challenge – and that was on a benign day when the winds were calm. The weekend could bring the gusts so many are familiar with at U.S. Opens staged at Pebble Beach..

So as cut day arrives, here are 3 things to know:.

The Unkindest Cut of All

Job 1 for anyone on Friday is to make certain they qualify for the weekend. The top 60 and ties  will play the final 36 holes. Michelle Wie West, the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open champion, opened with a 79 and Annika Sorenstam, who triumphed three times, posted an 80. Both have said this is their last U.S. Women’s Open, and Friday might be their final walk in this event.

Ko and Korda each have a lot of ground to make up, as does 2017 champion Sung Hyun Park, who opened with a 79. So Yeon Ryu, the 2011 champion playing on a special exemption from the USGA, sits at 76.

For those who have watched events at Pebble Beach over the years, the scoring holes are Nos. 1-7. Keep an eye on who makes a move there.

Amateurs Strut Their Stuff

Catherine Lacoste, of France, remains the only amateur to have won the U.S. Women’s Open, doing so in 1967 at the Cascades Course of The Homestead in Hot Springs Virginia. After the first round, three amateurs were in red figures – Áine Donegan, of the Republic of Ireland (69), Benedetta Moresco, of Italy (70), and Amari Avery, Riverside, Calif. (70).

All three have a key element in common: They play college golf in the United States; Donegan at Louisiana State University, Moresco at Alabama and Avery at the University of Southern California. Lacoste, who attended this week’s Reunion of Champions, is probably smiling.

Always the Bridesmaid, Never the Bride

Amy Yang played her first U.S. Women’s Open in 2007, and three years later, she began a streak of seven top-10 finishes in eight starts. In all, she has 20 top-10 finishes in women’s majors without a title. After a 2-under-par 70 in Thursday’s opening round, the Korean is positioned to make another run at that elusive major championship.

Twice she has finished second in this event: 2012 and 2015. She tied for third in 2014, finished solo fourth in 2014 and tied for fifth in 2010. Yang doesn’t have six runner-up finishes like Phil Mickelson in the U.S. Open, but her frequent appearances on the leader board create the feeling that her breakthrough victory is only a matter of time.

Ron Sirak is a Massachusetts-based freelance writer whose work has previously appeared on USGA websites.