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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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Tour Photo Galleries

Photos from the 2021 Farmers Insurance Open

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GolfWRX is live from Torrey Pines for the Farmers Insurance Open, where a strong field is assembled for the second leg of the West Coast Swing.

In addition to OEMs in general, shaft companies in particular, seeding new wares among the pros, equipment switchers, newly minted free agents, and wholesale full-bag equipment deal signees are getting their toolboxes in order.

We have an overflowing plate of general galleries for you to check out, as well as wealth of special galleries for your perusal.

Check out our photos from the Farmers below.

General galleries

Special galleries

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Most interesting photos from Tuesday at the 2021 Farmers Insurance Open

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If you haven’t already had the chance to dive into the more than 10 galleries of pictures we have from the Farmers Insurance Open being held once again at Torrey Pines, be sure to check them out here in the GolfWRX Tour & Pre-release Equipment forum.

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Bubba using iron covers

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Being a Jordan ambassador has some perks, and for HV III that means his own custom elephant print bag, which also features the name of Jordan’s personal course Grove XXIII (23) on it. I hope that means Harold gets his pick of tee times.

Blast from the past “YES” putter spotted

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It’s been a long time since YES! Golf was a major player in the putter world, but we did manage to spot this Mollie model being used by Troy Merrit.

Jhonattan Vegas wearing True Linkswear

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Jhonattan has been a long-time Nike staffer, and it’s a bit of a surprise to see him wearing anything but the “swoosh.” Judging by his golf bag along with his outfit, Mr. Vegas is a complete free agent, so following him week to week could be interesting.

Charl Schwartzel with Bettinardi wedge in the bag

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Former Masters champ Charl Schwartzel is a notorious tinkerer to the point that he once drilled holes in his own irons to reduce their head weight. Although they are more well know for their putters, Bettinardi has been producing some amazing wedges and it looks like one has ended up in Charl’s bag.

Billy Horschel’s Florida Gators bag

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Just in case you didn’t know where he went to school, Billy Horschel is making it very clear with his new Florida Gators bag.

Hunter Mahan’s swing is still pure

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Although he has struggled in recent years, you wouldn’t know it by his golf swing—Hunter Mahan’s got game and some serious flow out the back of his hat!

Adam Scott with AutoFlex

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Although less well known outside of the main shaft companies AutoFlex has been making headlines thanks to some in-depth reviews, especially from the team at TXG: Testing Autoflex golf shafts. Adam has gone through a number of shafts recently including a Ventus Red from Fujikura, so it will be interesting to see how this works out.

Jason Dufner with Odyssey Jailbird

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Jason must have a love for the classics. He refuses to give up his Titleist 915F 7-wood, and this week he was spotted using an Odyssey Jailbird Versa which was released all the way back in 2014.

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GolfWRX Classifieds (01/27/21): Titleist TSi3, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Proto PXG 0811+

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At GolfWRX, we love golf equipment plain and simple.

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment for 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 – the equipment itself.

One of the best ways to enjoy equipment is to experiment and whether you are looking to buy-sell-or trade (as the name suggests) you can find almost anything in the GolfWRX BST Forum. From one-off custom Scotty Cameron Circle T putters, to iron sets, wedges, and barely hit drivers, you can find it all in our constantly updated marketplace.

These are some of the latest cool finds 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

Member PT1911 – PXG Proto 0811+ driver

The PXG Proto drivers were an underground hit – and this is your chance to get a great driver head for a great price.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: PXG 0811+

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If you are looking for a pure forged cavity back iron – look no further than these P7MC irons in amazing shape and ready to play.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: P7MC irons

Member DougNG – Titleist TSi3 Fairway wood

The TSi series drivers are already being named some of the hottest in 2021, and the fairways are following suit. Here is your chance to snag one for a great price!

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: TSi3 15°

Remember that you can always browse the GolfWRX Classifieds any time here in our forums: GolfWRX Classifieds

You can also follow along on Instagram: GolfWRX Classifieds

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