The stories have been building for the past year since Annika Sorenstam won in a playoff in the 2006 U.S. Women’s Open. U.S. Women’s Open. Since that date, the compelling stories have been building exponentially and seem to have converged at Donald Ross’s Pine Needles in Southern Pines, North Carolina.
Lorena Ochoa is the new number one ranked woman in the world. Michelle Wie has battled an injury and struggled to break par all amidst a cloud of media attention. Morgan Pressel has cashed the check on her golfing potential with a major win. So it should come as little surprise that a three and a half our weather delay due to lightning barely surfaced as news after today’s round. Stealing the spotlight today was round leader Angela Park.
LPGA rookie Angela Park, just 18 years old, began her round on the first hole and took advantage of the easier start on the front nine. Three birdies on the first three holes, another on the 8th, and with only one blemish on her card – a bogey on the par 4 17th hole, Park found herself in the club house with the first round lead. No one would be able to catch her. Park said of her round, "I putted extremely well out there today, only 27 putts. I think that was the main key. Coming into this week I realized that the greens were very difficult and the course was playing very long. And I’m not a very long hitter. I thought I would have to back up on my short game and my irons, which I did well today."
Lorena Ochoa and Annika Sorenstam both finished with solid rounds of even par. Ochoa’s round was capitalized by an eagle 2 on the par 4 14th from a fairway bunker with her five wood. Ochoa had to talk her caddie into hitting her five wood rather than her seven wood, she said, "I hit it perfect and just nice high fade and I guess it was very nice to just hear the crowd clapping and getting louder and louder and it was very special." After missing two months of the season with an ruptured and bulging disks in her back, Annika Sorenstam appears to be rounding into form. Her doctors have given her the all clear to play at 100%, and so far she has done that. Sorenstam’s afternoon round was interrupted by the weather delay, and she was only able to finish 13 holes before darkness halted play, "It’s a long day so I really have to save energy as much as I can. And go from there. It’s nice to have the momentum and go out early tomorrow and finish the round," she said.
While Ochoa and Sorenstam appear to be on cruise control, Michelle Wie and Karrie Webb appear to be in free fall. Michelle Wie’s recent tournament history has been one she’d likely want to forget about. However after her first round today, she’s not ready to turn the page quite yet. Her opening 82 is her highest ever first round score in a major and extends her consecutive rounds over par streak to 21. Wie struggled with all aspects of her game, hittingly only four fairways and four greens in regulation, three of which came on par 3’s. With a quivering voice in her press conference that betrayed her poker face, Wie was optimistic about her progress, "I know I played better than this. It’s just a very fine line between shooting 69 and shooting what I shot today. And it’s a couple strokes here, a couple strokes there. And like I said, once I trust myself and once I have confidence again, I think it’s a done deal." Just how the deal gets done remains to be seen since even making the cut this week will require a herculean effort. Seven time major champion, Karrie Webb, faced an even tougher day than Michelle Wie. Five bogies and a double on her front nine combined with six more bogies on the back lead to a round of 83, putting her in second to last place for the tournament.
|T2||Jee Young Lee||12||-2|
Max Homa’s winning WITB: 2023 Farmers Insurance Open
Driver: Titleist TSR3 (10 degrees, A1 SureFit setting)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei 1K Black 65 TX
3-wood: Titleist TSR3 (16.5 degrees, C1 SureFit setting)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue TR 8 X
7-wood: Titleist TSR2 (21 degrees, C1 SureFit setting)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD XC 9 TX
Irons: Titleist T100S (4), T100 (5), Titleist 620 MB (6-9)
Shafts: KBS Tour $-Taper 130 X
Wedges: Vokey Design SM9 (46-10F, 50-12F, 56-14F, 60-04L)
Shafts: KBS TOUR $-Taper 130 X (46), KBS Hi Rev 2.0 125 S (56-60)
Putter: Scotty Cameron T-5.5 prototype
Ball: 2023 Titleist Pro V1
Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet
More Max Homa WITBs
- Max Homa WITB 2022 (July)
- Max Homa’s winning WITB: 2022 Wells Fargo Championship
- Max Homa’s winning WITB: 2021 Fortinet Championship
- Max Homa’s winning WITB: 2021 Genesis Invitational
- Max Homa WITB 2021 (January)
- Max Homa WITB 2020
- Max Homa’s winning WITB: 2019 Wells Fargo Championship
- Max Homa WITB 2017
- Max Homa WITB 2013
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