U.S. WOMEN'S OPEN
3 Things to Know: U.S. Women's Open, Round 3
June 1, 2019 | Charleston, S.C.
By Ron Sirak
When a line of thunderstorms rattled across the Country Club of Charleston late Friday afternoon, halting play for two hours, Jessica Korda was the leader in the clubhouse at 5-under-par 137. By the time second-round play was halted by darkness, Mamiko Higa had the lead at 136. Both will be going after their first major championship on the weekend.
Also chasing history is Gina Kim, a 19-year-old amateur who will start her sophomore year at Duke University in the fall. They are just a few of a bunch of compelling stories on the leader board at the 74th U.S. Women’s Open.
Here are three things to know for Saturday.
Not only is Jessica Korda trying for her first major championship, a slew of other prominent players are very much in the hunt going into the weekend of the second U.S. Women's Open to be played in South Carolina (the 1962 championship at The Dunes Golf & Beach Club in Myrtle Beach was the other). Jessica’s sister Nelly is at 2 under par and tied for 10th place after completing her second round – she was one of 45 players who had to return to the course on Saturday morning to complete Round 2 because of the weather delay. Five-time LPGA Tour winner Minjee Lee is also at 2 under par and Sei Young Kim, who with eight LPGA victories has the most LPGA wins in the field without a major, is at 3 under, in a tie for fifth to start Round 3.
Among those lurking entering Saturday’s third round are a bunch of talented players with the kind of impressive résumés that should concern the leaders. Sitting at 2 under par, just four off the lead, is Inbee Park, who is seeking her 20th LPGA win, her eighth major championship and her third U.S. Women’s Open. Lexi Thompson is 3 under par. Defending champion Ariya Jutanugarn is 3 over par while her sister, Moriya, is 1 under. Brooke Henderson is 3 over and So Yeon Ryu, the 2011 Women’s Open winner, is 3 under par. Jin Young Ko, the only two-time winner on the LPGA this year, one of those being the first major of the season, the ANA Inspiration, is even par.
Gina Kim, who is at 4-under-par 138, is trying to become the only amateur other than Catherine Lacoste in 1967 to win the U.S. Women’s Open. In 2017, Hye-Jin Choi finished second to Sung Hyun Park and was leading until she hit a shot into the water on the par-3 16th hole. Last year, Patty Tavatanakit was T-5. In 2005, Morgan Pressel and Brittany Lang were T-2.
Kim, 19, who will be a sophomore at Duke in the fall, has been simply brilliant. She opened with a 66 and followed with a 72. Andrea Lee, a 20-year-old Stanford student, is the second-best amateur at 141.
Ron Sirak is a Massachusetts-based freelance writer who frequently contributes to USGA digital channels.