Lang in front at US Women’s Open
Brittany Lang lead the 1st round of the 65th US Women’s Open – but Scot Mhairi McKay was just two shots behind.
American Brittany Lang shot a two-under-par 69 at Oakmont in Pennsylvania on Thursday to lead the first round of the 65th US Women’s Open by one stroke with Scotland’s Mhairi McKay just two shots off the pace .
Lang, 24, was one of only five players to finish Thursday under par at the infamously tough, par-71 course near Pittsburgh, which is staging a US Women’s Open for only the second time, Patty Sheehan having won there in 1992 in soft and wet conditions with a four under par total.
On a harder, faster track 18 years later, and with many predicting carnage for the best female players in the world, Lang’s round featured five birdies and three bogies to give her the 18-hole lead from a South African amateur, Kelli Shean, a student at the University of Arkansas, and three South Koreans, MJ Hur, Inbee Park and Amy Yang.
Lang credited her positive attitude as the key factor that helped her tame Oakmont.
“Any golf course you can shoot a low number, there’s no question,” Lang said.
“If you just know where to hit it, if you’re on your game hitting the ball well, you’re going to hit fairways, you’re going to hit greens, and you’re going to make pars. One or two are going to go in.
“I got very lucky today in that a lot of the long putts went in. If you’re hitting the ball good, you can for sure shoot a low score here.”
Scotland’s McKay, 35, led after the first and second rounds of the 2003 US Women’s Open at Pumpkin Ridge and she made a strong start at Oakmont with three birdies and three bogeys in a level-par round of 71 that tied her for sixth place with Japan’s Sakura Yokomine.
McKay said: “I’m delighted to have finished the first round and be at even par.
“I mean, what a fantastic golf course Oakmont is. It’s just a treat to be here and to play well is just a real bonus.
“I’ve got my husband (Dave) on the bag, so we’re still happily married at this point in time,” she joked.
“My baby (14-month-old) Angus was watching from the ladies’ locker room in day care. Hopefully he saw me par the ninth.”
McKay said pars were valuable commodities around Oakmont.
She continued: “It’s quite a beast out there. I played well today. I did make some mistakes, but the strategy was just to take my medicine when those errors came up and just give myself an opportunity to have a putt for par.
“I did make a couple of really good saves. Just tried to stay really patient out there, and it paid off.”
World number one Cristie Kerr, the American who rose to the top of the rankings with her victory at the LPGA Championship, the second major of the year, three weeks ago, is also handily placed in a tie for eighth after a one-over 72.
The woman she replaced in the rankings, Japan’s Ai Miyazato, is a further shot back on two over.
Of McKay’s fellow Britons, Scottish amateur and Curtis Cup player Sally Watson was tied for 50th with England’s Karen Stupples, amongst others, at four over following a 75.
Becky Morgan of Wales shot a six-over 77 alongside defending champion Ji Eun-hee of South Korea.
Another Welsh golfer, Becky Brewerton, is at seven over with Scotland’s Janice Moodie, while reigning Women’s British Open champion Catriona Matthew of Scotland shot a nine-over 80.
Even further back is American star Michelle Wie, who, starting from the 10th tee, was eight over for her front nine on the way to a birdieless 11-over 82 which featured five bogeys and three double bogeys.
“I didn’t play well at all today,” Wie said before sounding an optimistic note when adding: “Tomorrow is a whole new day. I’m just going to go out there and try to shoot my best.”
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