3 Things to Know: 79th U.S. Women’s Open Presented by Ally, Round 1

By Ron Sirak

| May 30, 2024 | Lancaster, Pa.

3 Things to Know: 79th U.S. Women’s Open Presented by Ally, Round 1

When the U.S. Women’s Open Presented by Ally was at Lancaster Country Club in 2015 attendance records were set for the championship and the course received rave reviews from the players. And the early buzz on the practice range is that the course is even better and perhaps even more demanding than when In Gee Chun won with a score of 8-under-par 272.

With only two par-5 holes and playing to a par-70, the 6,583-yard test will demand accuracy off the tee so that the contoured and quick greens can be approached with the proper irons and the correct spin. Thunderstorms that battered Southeast Pennsylvania on Memorial Day missed Lancaster and the greens already have fire to them. USGA officials seem to have the masterpiece by designer William Flynn exactly where they want it for the championship.

Here are 3 things to look for in Thursday’s first round.

Nelly Korda on a Historic Run

Nelly Korda has played eight times on the LPGA Tour this year and won six events. She’s No. 1 in the Rolex Rankings with a lead of 6.67 points over No. 2 Lilia Vu, who has 6.34 points. That means the gap between No. 1 Korda and No. 2 Vu is greater than the gap between Vu and someone with zero points. Korda comes into Lancaster with the bar of expectation set staggeringly high.

Nelly first played the U.S. Women’s Open in 2013 at age 14, finishing T-64. She wasn’t here in 2015 and her best finishes are T-8 in 2022 and T-10 in 2018. “To get to come out here every year and compete at the golf courses for the highest prize money and against the best players in the world, there's nothing better than that,” Korda said.

Lexi Says Hello and Goodbye

Championship week began with a bang when Lexi Thompson announced on Tuesday that this would be her last year as a full-time competitor on the LPGA Tour. Thompson, 29, is playing in the U.S. Women’s Open for an astonishing 18th consecutive time, her debut effort coming in 2007 at the age of 12. Thompson, who won the 2008 U.S. Girls’ Junior and went 4-0-1 for the United States in the 2010 Curtis Cup, was second in the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open and third in 2021, one stroke out of the playoff.

“This is where the whole dream started of playing on the LPGA tour and being out here and playing professional golf and playing against the best,” Thompson said about the U.S. Women’s Open. “I only thought it was right to make [the announcement] here."

Lexi, who is sure to draw a large share of the spectators, starts her championship on No. 1 at 1:58 p.m. on Thursday with two-time USGA champion Rose Zhang and Minjee Lee.

Déjà Vu All Over Again

An unusually large contingent of players in the field of 156 this week competed in the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open with 36 making a return trip to Lancaster Country Club. Among them are winner In Gee Chun, runner-up Amy Yang and Canadian Brooke Henderson, who tied for fifth.

Also coming back is Hannah Green, a two-time winner on the LPGA Tour in 2024. But Green wasn’t a competitor in 2015; she was a fan attending as part of the Australian junior golf mentorship program run by Karrie Webb, who is the last player to win this championship in consecutive years (2000-01).

Ron Sirak is a Massachusetts-based freelance writer.