LPGA Rookie Tardy Finding Magic at Pebble, Midway Leader

By David Shefter, USGA

| Jul 08, 2023 | Pebble Beach, Calif.

LPGA Rookie Tardy Finding Magic at Pebble, Midway Leader

Pebble Beach is one of those places where people come to rejuvenate their mind, body and soul. From the breathtaking vistas to its iconic golf courses and world-class amenities, it’s hard not to become a new person in this remarkable region of the world.

Just ask Bailey Tardy.

A struggling LPGA Tour rookie who had to earn her card via the Q-Series last fall after finishing outside the top 10 on the Epson Tour money list by less than $2,000 – the top 10 are guaranteed LPGA cards – has found something through two rounds of the 78th U.S. Women’s Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links.

On Friday, Tardy, 26, of Norcross, Ga., who had missed five cuts in 10 LPGA Tour events, used her 7 a.m. tee time to full advantage, posting a second-consecutive round in the 60s on the 6,424-yard, par-72 layout to grab the 36-hole lead. Buoyed by a front-nine 31, which included an eagle-3 on the sixth hole and a birdie on the par-3 seventh hole on consecutive days, Tardy carded a 4-under 68 in cool but overcast conditions to match the championship’s lowest round.

At 7-under 137, the 2016 USA Curtis Cup competitor and former University of Georgia All-American leads Allisen Corpuz and 2014 Amundi Evian champion Hyo Joo Kim by two strokes. Hae Ran Ryu (72) is four strokes back, while Leona Maguire (74) and 2021 runner-up Nasa Hataoka (74) were the only other players under par through 36 holes at 143.

Coming off a missed cut in the year’s second major two weeks ago, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club, Tardy used the brief hiatus to work on her putting. She even contemplated ditching her flatstick, but instead put the club in a brief “timeout for three or four days,” while adding a Simpsons-themed headcover.

“I think I hit 16 out of 18 greens first round at KPMG and shot 4 over,” said Tardy, “so it was on my putting there. I really focused on that in the off week, and it's worked out, I guess.”

Actually, where she’s done most of her damage the first two days is from the fairway at a venue known for being a second-shot course. Tardy ranks No. 1 in strokes gained approach at +4.57 and is tied for first in greens in regulation (28 of 36), a vital statistic considering Pebble has some of the smallest green complexes in golf (average size of 3,500 square feet).

Add it all up and two of Tardy’s seven rounds in the 60s this season have come at this seaside paradise.

It did help that she laced a 307-yard drive on the par-5 sixth that set up a 183-yard approach to 4 feet to set up the eagle. And with favorable wind on No. 7, she knocked her tee shot on the 107-yard hole to 3 feet. Two holes later, she left herself a 108-yard approach on the 434-yard, par-4 that she stuck to 8 feet for what would be the day’s final birdie, although she had one more birdie chance on the par-5 closing hole but missed from 7 feet.

“Honestly I'm just enjoying the moment,” said Tardy, competing in her fourth U.S. Women’s Open but first since turning professional in 2017. “I'm leading the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, and I think that's just something so special. I’m trying not to get too ahead of myself. There's so much golf left.”

Kim, the runner-up in 2018, briefly reached 7 under for the championship with a birdie on the par-4 first hole, her 10th of the day, but closed with consecutive birdies on Nos. 8 and 9, statistically the hardest (4.69) and sixth-toughest (4.30) in Round 2.

Corpuz, 25, of Kapolei, Hawaii, was a member of the victorious 2021 USA Curtis Cup Team in Wales before turning professional. The former University of Southern California standout added a 2-under 70 to the 69 she posted on Thursday.

Major champion and 2018 U.S. Women's Open runner-up Hyo Joo Kim stayed in contention with a second-round 71 on Friday. (USGA/James Gilbert)

Major champion and 2018 U.S. Women's Open runner-up Hyo Joo Kim stayed in contention with a second-round 71 on Friday. (USGA/James Gilbert)

Ryu, 22, the owner of five professional wins in her native Korea, overcame two early bogeys with birdies on Nos. 1 and 2. Like Corpuz and Tardy, she is seeking her first victory on the LPGA Tour. She owns three top-seven finishes in 2023, including solo third at the Americas Mizuho Open in New Jersey.

Hataoka and Maguire each have come close to winning majors. Maguire was in the final pairing two weeks ago at Baltusrol but wound up tied for 11th in the KPMG Women’s PGA following a Sunday 74. Hataoka has lost playoffs in the 2018 KPMG Women’s PGA and 2021 U.S. Women’s Open at The Olympic Club to 2017 U.S. Women’s Open champion Sung Hyun Park and Yuka Saso, respectively.

What’s Next

The 74 professionals and four amateurs who made the 36-hole cut at 6-over-par 150 will play Rounds 3 and 4 on Saturday and Sunday. The third round will begin at 7 a.m. PDT off the first tee with the final pairing of Bailey Tardy and Allisen Corpuz teeing off at 1:36 p.m. NBC Sports has the live broadcast beginning at 3 p.m. EDT, while Sirius/XM Radio will be live from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. EDT. 

Two-time major runner-up Nasa Hataoka, of Japan, enters the weekend at Pebble Beach six strokes back of the 36-hole leader. (USGA/Kathryn Riley)

Two-time major runner-up Nasa Hataoka, of Japan, enters the weekend at Pebble Beach six strokes back of the 36-hole leader. (USGA/Kathryn Riley)


  • The second round began with 20 players in red figures and ended with only six, as the scoring average went from 75.5 on Thursday to 76.1.

  • Defending champion Minjee Lee holed out for an eagle-2 on the 16th hole – her seventh of the round – from 141 yards out en route to shooting a 1-over-par 73. She’ll enter the weekend eight strokes back.

  • Notable players to make the 36-hole cut included newly minted professional and two-time USGA champion Rose Zhang, world No. 2 Nelly Korda, world No. 3 Lydia Ko, local favorite Mina Harigae and past U.S. Women’s Open champions In Gee Chun (2015), Yuka Saso (2021), Jeongeun Lee6 (2019), A Lim Kim (2020) and So Yeon Ryu (2011), who was given a special exemption by the USGA. Ryu posted a second-round 70. Zhang shot a 71 to move into a share of 11th, eight strokes behind Bailey Tardy.

  • Five past champions missed the cut: Ariya Jutanugarn (2018), Michelle Wie West (2014), Annika Sorenstam (1995-96, 2006), Sung Hyun Park (2017) and Eun Hee Ji (2009). Sorenstam and Wie West both have said this is their last U.S. Women’s Opens.

  • Other notables to fail to play the weekend included world No. 1 Jin Young Ko, world No. 4 Lilia Vu, reigning U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Saki Baba, reigning U.S. Girls’ Junior champion Yana Wilson, 2022 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Krissy Carman, two-time USA Curtis Cup competitor/NBC-Golf Channel on-course reporter Emilia Migliaccio and world No. 13 Lexi Thompson, the runner-up two years ago at The Olympic Club.

  • The Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking® of the four players to make the cut are 10 (Amari Avery), 95 (Monet Chun), 97 (Benedetta Moresco) and 144 (Aine Donegan). A total of 27 amateurs competed.
  • Hye-Jin Choi’s 68 in the afternoon matched the championship’s lowest round with Tardy, Xiyu (Janet) Lin and Hyo Joo Kim.

  • Alison Lee, the runner-up to Minjee Lee in the 2012 U.S. Girls’ Junior and member of the victorious 2014 USA Curtis Cup Team, withdrew after four holes on Friday due to a back injury.


“There's a lot of seals and otters and fun water life out here. Oh my gosh, and the dogs. I love dogs. I have one myself, but obviously she doesn't travel with me. The dogs on 9 and 10? They're amazing. There are probably 15 dogs down there [on the beach below] and they're just having the time of their lives running in sand and the water. My caddie and I love dogs. We were just talking about how good they are.” – Bailey Tardy when asked about taking in the views between shots

“I think I'm a really solid ball-striker which I think you need on big courses like this. Me and [my caddie] Jay [Monahan] do a great job of just looking at the course and really being honest about where my game is at, what shots I do or don't have for the week, and putting together a really solid game plan according to that.” – Allisen Corpuz

“Round two is over for me. Of course, I have some regrets, but what can I do? It's over, right? I'm still on the leader board, so I'll just continue to work very hard, and I [still] have a chance to be a champion.” – Hyo Joo Kim

“There are only four folks ahead of me and I want to play my game with those folks in mind. And I think I was able to achieve my expectations.” – Nasa Hataoka

“Really grateful that I was able to make the cut, and I'll be able to kind of steady myself and go into the weekend with a fresh mind. I've been in this position before where you have to chase and it's nothing new to me. I'll just get my game plan and try to hit as many fairways and greens, because that will allow you to gain more birdie opportunities. That's all I can do.” – Rose Zhang

“We all can't really believe it to be honest. We made the main news channel in Ireland, which is like a big deal. Then one of my best friends here, I've known her since I was about four years old, and she was just over in the States at her aunt's house in San Francisco with her dad and a few of her siblings, and they extended their flights to stay for this.” – Aine Donegan, who is leading for low-amateur honors through 36 holes

“Definitely a relief. Obviously, I'm trying to compete, trying to win. Yesterday was a little tough, rough start for me. Making the cut, hopefully more people could come watch me.” – Monterey, Calif., native Mina Harigae

David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Email him at dshefter@usga.org.