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

By Ron Sirak

| May 31, 2024 | Lancaster, Pa.

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

Saturday is considered to be Moving Day in stroke play championships. While leaders are trying to protect the cushion they’ve established, those in their rearview mirror are trying to draw closer, getting into position to make a run at the championship in Sunday’s final round. That should make for a lot of fireworks in the third round.

The stout challenge presented by Lancaster Country Club has kept anyone from running away from the field. Pretty much anyone who made the cut at 8-over-par 148 can make a move on Saturday that will give them a chance on Sunday. Keep an eye out for who has the hot hand among those who go out early.

Here are 3 things to look for in Saturday’s third round.

How Far Is Too Far

The always lingering question about Moving Day is: How far back is too far to get into contention? The stingy way Lancaster Country Club has been giving up low scores means that someone who does get hot and shoots something in the 60s can make up a lot of ground.

Keep an eye on 2020 U.S. Women’s Open champion A Lim Kim, who is at 145, nine strokes off the lead. At 146 is 2019 U.S. Women’s Open winner Jeongeun Lee6. At 147 are a pair of major championships winners – Celine Boutier and Hannah Green. Putting up a red number on Saturday could thrust any of them into the mix.

How Young Is Too Young

You will want to follow Asterisk Talley, a 15-year-old high school freshman, in Saturday’s third round. She’s trying to become the first amateur to win the U.S. Women’s Open since Catherine Lacoste in 1967. She would also be the youngest winner of the U.S. Women’s Open, shattering the record of 19 years, 11 months and 17 days shared by Inbee Park and Yuka Saso.

“I feel like my expectations were to at least make the cut,” said Talley, who set a lofty goal for a teenager but has now raised the bar even higher. “Then if I achieved that, I wanted to get low amateur. But I feel like that's still achievable even after today's round. I feel like I'm doing what I want so far, and I'm really happy with where I am.”

Talley is a breath of fresh air and a total hoot to watch. Her teenage enthusiasm is totally infectious.

Weather or Not

After a cool morning, the mercury will climb to 80 degrees on Saturday, the warmest it’s been all week. That means the slippery greens will get even slicker. The wildcard is the wind. If it’s as pesky as it has been the first two rounds, low scores will be hard to come by. The dramatic elevation changes at Lancaster Country Club are even more difficult to navigate when wind must be factored into the equation.

And then there is the question of the golf course. Last year at Pebble Beach, there was only one round in the 60s in the third round and a half-dozen in the final round. Will Saturday be the generous round this year and Sunday the sterner test? That’s a question that will be answered on the golf course. And watch that closing nine holes. For the tournament, the five most difficult holes are there: Nos. 12, 18, 10, 14 and 15, in that order. That’s a stout finish that should produce a lot of drama.

Ron Sirak is a Massachusetts-based freelance writer.