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5 things we learned Saturday at the U.S. Women’s Open

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We learned that 2020 was as kind to the the golfers at Champions Golf Club, as it was to the rest of humanity. We learned that sadism still has a place on the tournament set-up committee of the USGA. We learned that there is little to no hope of the fourth round finishing on schedule on Sunday. All in all, December in Houston is proving to be little better than July in Houston, just the opposite end of the weather spectrum.

It was a rough go on Saturday for the world’s finest female golfers. Just two golfers broke par on the day, and it’s a certainty that the high-ringer score would be much more impactful than the low one. In fact, two holes (1 and 15) recorded zero birdies on the day. It’s almost humorous that Chella Choi had an ace at the 180-yard 12th. That there was even one moment of perfection on such a foul day, is little consolation.

We did learn five things on this Saturday of the 75th U.S. Women’s Open, and here they are.

1. Ji Yeong Kim2 posted a round for the ages

Four birdies. Zero bogies. Fourteen Pars. The only things that Ji Yeong Kim2 didn’t do on Saturday were win the tournament (that chance comes tomorrow) and birdie 1 or 15 (no one else did, either.) To make complete sense of her round, is impossible. To understand its value, consider that Kim started the day on the other side of the draw, the one that teed off on the back nine. At dawn, there were 33 golfers ahead of her. At dusk, only two. Kim2 is tied with Moriya Jutanugarn for 3rd place, two back of Amy Olson (second place) and three behind third-round leader Hinako Shibuno. Hae Ran Ryu was the only other golfer to shoot below par on Saturday, and she managed just one stroke below the dais.

2. How about them amateurs?

There are still three amateurs inside the top 15, a tremendous feat. One of them is not Linn Grant. For the second time in her young career, Grant entered the final 36 holes with a chance at victory. For the second time in her young career, Grand shot herself out of contention, with a woeful day-three showing. In complete contrast, Kaitlyn Papp maintained a semblance of composure, returning only three strokes to Old Lady Par. She rests in a tie for 5th, just four shots out of first. Sweden’s duo of Maja “House of” Stark and Ingrid Lindblad sit tied for 15th at +2. They won’t win on Sunday, but one of them could claim low amateur, should Papp falter.

3. Hinako Shibuno preserved her lead, just barely

Hinako Shibuno was unable to increase her three-shot advantage on Saturday. In fact, the Cypress Creek course took most of it back. Shibuno made three bogies and one birdie on day three, moving to four-deep, just one shot ahead of North Dakota’s Amy Olson, the day-one leader. After making 10 birdies over the first two days, Shibuno showed that she can hold on when the well dries up. Another 74 might be enough to win tomorrow. It would keep her under par for the week, but I don’t think that it will get the job done. Shibuno will have to be sharper to claim a second career major title.

4. The golf course got away again

It’s not Shinnecock Hills yet, but it might be by tomorrow. The sayers of the USGA had to have an idea that weather would play a role in the event. What were they thinking, that 1974 Winged Foot was a nice throwback? That bogey golf would keep viewer interest up in December? The USGA had an opportunity to showcase women’s golf at a time of year when it is an afterthought, and failed miserably. Let’s hope that the Olympic Club in 2021 offers a manageable set-up, or at least a plan B. After all, Olympic has a proven record of providing awkward event conclusions.

5. Prediction time

It’s a super-safe bet that Danielle Kang will not call me anytime soon to be her life coach. My unwavering support ends today, after Kang super-struggled to a 79. What I do know is this: there is no clear favorite to win on Sunday, but there are so many players for whom a victory would represent a lifetime achievement. There’s Lydia Ko, trying to regain her teenaged dominance. How about Moriya Jutanugarn, who would love to step clear of her sister’s long shadow? Amy Olson, for one, who has been here before and misfired, and would love to put those memories away in a closet. I’ll take Yealimi Noh for the win, however. Noh played well last week at the VOA, and will have enough good shots and putts left to hold on while the golfers around her falter.

 

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Ronald Montesano writes for GolfWRX.com from western New York. He dabbles in coaching golf and teaching Spanish, in addition to scribbling columns on all aspects of golf, from apparel to architecture, from equipment to travel. Follow Ronald on Twitter at @buffalogolfer.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Ethan

    Dec 13, 2020 at 1:24 am

    Questionable takes.

    4: The idea that golf should be showcased with -16 or more under par over four round courses or else its a failure is a sad idea of golf. The ability to overcome hard golf courses and post the lowest score should be celebrated.

    The men’s US Open this year was hyped up of people waiting to see people face a difficult course and for scores to be high. The LPGA and USGA should not be criticized differently.

    5: Kang is 1st in the CME race and 3rd on the money list year. Support should stay strong.

  2. Nick

    Dec 12, 2020 at 10:54 pm

    I don’t know if the course got away from them. Cypress is a long, hard golf course. The USGA does not play preferred lies, so everyone has to play the same course. I’m pretty sure Jackie Burke would tell the players to suck it up and go play.

    • Ronald Montesano

      Dec 15, 2020 at 11:09 pm

      I’m not certain that “preferred lies” has anything to do with everyone playing the same course. The rules of golf dislike LCP because there are no mud balls on sand-based courses. Golf on farmland is a different animal, so not playing LCP actually made Saturday more random and less like playing the same course. Does that make sense?

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Coolest thing for sale in the GolfWRX Classifieds (05/06/21): “Classic” Titleist 915 Fairway wood

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At GolfWRX, we love golf, plain and simple.

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment of the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball. It even allows us to share another thing we all love – buy and selling equipment.

Currently, in our GolfWRX buy/sell/trade (BST) forum, there is a listing for a highly desirable Titleist 915 fairway wood (wiener dog not included).

To check out the full listing in our BST forum, head through the link: Titleist, Odyssey, and Nike gear!
This is the most impressive current listing from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules
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Coolest thing for sale in the GolfWRX Classifieds (05/05/21): Callaway Epic Speed Triple Diamond

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At GolfWRX, we love golf, plain and simple.

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment of the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball. It even allows us to share another thing we all love – buy and selling equipment.

Currently, in our GolfWRX buy/sell/trade (BST) forum, there is a listing for a Callaway Epic Speed Triple Diamond driver shafted with a Fujikura Speed 661.

To check out the full listing in our BST forum, head through the link: Callaway triple diamond Epic Speed driver

This is the most impressive current listing from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

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Tour Photo Galleries

Interesting photos from Tuesday at the Wells Fargo Championship

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This week, the PGA Tour is at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the Wells Fargo Championship. GolfWRX was on-site Tuesday to spy a glimpse into the bags of some of the world’s top golfers where the field is getting ready to play starting Thursday for the $8.1 million purse, with the winner going home with just over $1.45 million dollars and the important 500 FedEx Cup points.

Don’t forget you can check out all our image galleries in the GolfWRX Tour Equipment forum.

New Ping irons and wedges spotted

It’s a big week at the Wells Fargo for Ping, with the official tour launch of the new i59 irons and Glide Forged Pro wedges. We are still seeking out the full tech, and potential release info, but you can join the discussion about the new gear in the GolfWRX forums: Ping i59 irons – 2021 Wells Fargo Championship

That’s one way to make a site line

Although he is still one of the better ball-strikers on tour, Lucas Glover’s difficulty with the putter has been well documented. We spotted him on the putting green at Quail Hollow making an improvised site line on his Scotty Cameron Newport 2. Those Sharpies are good for more than just signing autographs!

Very unique hosel on this Odyssey

This Odyssey widebody putter has its plumber’s neck hosel very close to the center of the topline to reduce toe hang and offer a one-of-a-kind view in the address position.

Bettinardi prototype high toe mallet

This Hexperimental Proto from the folks at Bettinardi looks like the milled steel lovechild of their Studio Stock 17 and a Queen Bee 11. It combines the high-toe look with a bumpered mallet.

Jason Day working with a new putter

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: the Bryson effect is real. This week, it looks like Jason Day has moved to a SIK putter paired with an LA Golf putter shaft after a very long run with a TaylorMade Spider.

Speaking of Jason Day and new gear…

The new SIK putter was seen in the bag with no backup in sight and a new wedge (under plastic). Super bonus points for the Augusta National pro shop (only for Members and guests) accessories bag Day is using—that’s serious golf drip.

Wyndham Clark PXG irons confirmed

IMG_9688.jpeg

After some speculation about their existence, we now have confirmation that the irons being used by Wyndham Clark are a yet-to-be-released PXG Gen 4 0311 ST (Super Tour) blade. You can see more pictures of the iron here: GolfWRX Forums In hand Gen4 0311 ST irons

Xander’s got a lot of headcovers in there

Xander Schauffele must be on the lookout for some new fairway woods, because he had five different options under headcovers on the range at Quail Hollow. Maybe he has a few of those Triple Diamond Epic Speeds under there? GolfWRX Spotted: Callaway Epic Speed Triple Diamond fairway wood

Rickie working on a lot, including his tempo

Rickie had a lot going on at the range on Tuesday and one of the more interesting things of note was an iron shafted with a Fujikura MCI tempo trainer.

Dufner with new Cobra putter

The search for a putter seems to be nonstop for Jason Dufner at the moment and after some time with an oversized Cobra mallet, it looks like he has moved onto something a little smaller and with a bit more toe hang.

Smiling assassin Sungjae Im

If you were inside the top 25 on the FedEx Cup and playing as well as Sungjae is right now, you’d probably be smiling too.

Rafa is rolling one very nice Scotty Cameron

When it comes to Scotty Cameron Circle T putters, the “Timeless” Newport 2 style stands alone and Rafa’s custom looks really good from here.

You can check out all the pictures from Tuesday of the Wells Fargo in the links below

2021 Wells Fargo – Tuesday #1

2021 Wells Fargo – Tuesday #2

2021 Wells Fargo – Tuesday #3

2021 Wells Fargo – Tuesday #4

2021 Wells Fargo – Tuesday #5

Bettinardi putters & covers – 2021 Wells Fargo

Ping i59 irons – 2021 Wells Fargo Championship

New Ping Glide Forged Pro wedge – 2021 Wells Fargo

Behind the scenes on the PXG truck – 2021 Wells Fargo

PXG Gen 4 0311 T & 0311 ST irons – 2021 Wells Fargo

Jason Day testing a SIK putter with LA Golf shaft – 2021 Wells Fargo

Scotty Cameron T2 putter – 2021 Wells Fargo

KH Lee’s Odyssey putter – – 2021 Wells Fargo

Patrick Cantlay’s Cameron T-5 – 2021 Wells Fargo

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