The LPGA Tour headed to the Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club in Southern Pines, North Carolina for the U.S. Women’s Open, which is second major championship of the 2022 season. The event, which is solely conducted by the USGA, began in 1946 and is the longest running tournament on the LPGA Tour.
Last year, Lexi Thompson held a five-shot lead heading to the back nine of the final round, only to stumble to a 41. She missed the opportunity to enter a playoff with Yuka Saso and Nasa Hataoka when she bogeyed the last hole. On the third playoff hole, Saso dropped a 12-footer for birdie for the victory.
The 2022 U.S. Women’s Open was played on a par 71 layout of 6546 yards. The purse was a hefty $10 million with 650 points towards the Race to the CME Globe for the winner.
Ingrid Lindblad led those that teed off in the morning with a round of 64. The amateur from Sweden went five under on her last nine holes. Mina Harigae caught and surpassed Lindblad with a round of 64 that included five birdies on the front nine and four on the back. Minjee Lee, Anna Nordqvist, and Ryann O’Toole were lurking at just three off the pace. Lexi Thompson, who recorded an eagle on the par 5 1st, was tied with Ally Ewing at three-under par. Among those at two-under par included Madelene Sagstrom, Amy Olson, Matilda Castren, Jin Young Ko, and Moriya Jutanugarn. Coming in at one-under were the likes of Nelly Korda, Leona Maguire, Hannah Green, Eun-Hee Ji, and PajareeAnannarukarn.
A total of 27 of the 158 players in the field shot under par in the first round on a day when the average score was nearly three-over par. A logjam at even included Lilia Vu, Nasa Hataoka, Sophia Popov, Megan Khang, Celine Boutier, Patty Tavatanakit, Lizetee Salas, AtthayaThitikul, and Danielle Kang. At one-over par and still in good position were Yealimi Noh, Brooke Henderson, Jennifer Kupcho, Jessica Korda, Lydia Ko, and In Gee Chun. Notables at two-over included Gemma Dryburgh, Ariya Jutanugarn, Marina Alex, Brittany Alomoare, Michelle Wie West, and Jeongeun Lee6.
Those who will need a better round to make the cut include Annika Sorenstam, who shot a 74 in her first LPGA Tour major since 2008. Others at three-over were So Yeon Ryu, Cheyenne Knight, Paula Reto, Carlota Ciganda, Nanna Koerstz Madsen, and Ayaka Furue. Other notables included Mel Reid and Charley Hull at four over, Brittany Lang and Hinako Shibuno at five-over. Defending champion Yuka Saso recorded five bogeys from 4 through 9 and was at six-over par.
Minjee Lee and Mina Harigae were at the top of the leaderboard at nine-under par at the halfway point. Lee posted a 66 that included six birdies and a bogey, while Harigae shot a round of 69. After a stellar round of 64 that included a 30 on the front nine, Hyejin Choi was tied at seven-under along with Anna Nordqvist. Number one player in the world Jin Young Ko was in the mix at six-under along with amateur Ingrid Lindblad. Moriya Jutanugarn and Sei Young Kim both shot 68 and where only four shots back at five-under par.
Among those at four-under par included Bronte Law, Megan Khang, and Andrea Lee. Nelly Korda posted a sub-70 round of 69 and was in at three-under along with Eun-Hee Ji and Lexi Thompson, who was two-over on the last four holes. Leona Maguire and Lilia Vu were the notables at two-under par. Lizette Salas, Hannah Green, and Lydia Ko were among six at one-under.
All told, 26 players in the field finished the first two rounds under par. Yuna Takagi rebounded from an opening round of 74 with a 68 and was at even. Notables at even included Celine Boutier, Ally Ewing, Brittany Altomare, and Jessica Korda. Among those at one-over were Carlota Ciganda, Jeongeun Lee6, Georgia Hall, Charley Hull, Matilda Castren, Nasa Hataoka, and Jennifer Kupcho. AtthayaThitikul had an up-and-down round but was in under the cut line after a 73. She was at two-over, along with Alison Lee, and Yealimi Noh. Notables right on the cut line were Danielle Kang, Brooke Henderson, and In Gee Chun.
After an opening round of 69, Madelene Sagstrom posted a round of 77 and missed the cut at four-over. Michelle Wie West (five-over), Ariya Jutanugarn, Stacy Lewis, and Gaby Lopez (six-over), all missed the cut. One of the favorites, Patty Tavatanakit, along with defending champions Yuka Saso, also missed playing the final 36 holes. Three-time U.S. Open winner Annika Sorenstam struggled to a round of 81 and finished at 13-over.
Minjee Lee bolted to the lead after a round of 67 sparked by four straight birdies from 9 through 12. At 13-under par she held a three-shot cushion over Mina Hariage, whose 70 included four birdies and three bogeys. Moving into sole possession of third was Bronte Law, who recorded a 67 and was seven-under par. Lydia Ko led a strong group of six at six-under par after a round of 67. Joining here were notables Jin Young Ko, Anna Nordqvist, and amateur Ingrid Lindblad. Leona Maguire, Moriya Jutanugarn, Eun-Hee Ji, and Megan Khang were in the mix at five-under.
Number two player in the world Nelly Korda was within six of the lead before bogeys on the last three holes. She sits at four-under and sole possession of 14th. Lexi Thompson looked to be in position to make a run after two birdies to start her round, but posted three over the rest of the way and was at two-under. Sei-Young Kim was at one-under after struggling for a round of 75.
Only 19 players remained under par after 54 holes. Among those at even included Brooke Henderson and Charley Hull. Notables include AtthayaThitikul, Celine Boutier, and Nasa Hataoka (two-over), Jessica Korda and Ally Ewing (three-over), Ryann O’Toole (four-over), Danielle Kang (five-over), Matilda Castren and Brittany Altomare (six-over), and Jennifer Kupcho and Jeongeun Lee6 (seven-over).
Scoring conditions were difficult in the final round. Only two players posted rounds under par with Jeongeun Lee6 posting the round of the day with a 69. She finished tied for 28th at five-over par. Also under par for the day was Hyejin Choi, who recorded a 70 and was in sole possession of third at seven-under par.
Alone at the top was Minjee Lee, who posted a 71 and won by a comfortable four shots despite bogeying two of the last three holes. The win was the 8th career LPGA Tour victory and 2nd major for the 26-year-old from Perth, Australia. Mina Harigae posted a score of one-over par 72 and finished second.
Jin Young Ko finished fourth at six-under par and Lydia Ko placed fifth at five-under par. Anna Nordqvist (73) and Bronte Law (74) finished tied for 6th at four-under par. Nelly Korda, in her first event in months after recovering from a blood clot in her left arm, was tied for 8th with Leona Maguire and Megan Khang at two-under. The only other players to finish under par were amateur Ingrid Lindblad, Moriya Jutanugarn, and Xiyu Janet Lin.
Sei Young Kim posted a 72 and was the only player in the field to finish even. Brooke Henderson finished at two-over, along with Eun-Hee Ji who recorded seven bogeys and struggled to a 78. Lexi Thompson was in the mix early in the third round but struggled over the final 18 to a 76 and finished three-over along with Charley Hull.
Other notables included AtthayaThitikul (four-over), Nasa Hataoka (five-over), Celine Boutier and Lilia Vu (six-over), Jennifer Kupcho (seven-over), Yealimi Noh (11-over), Jessica Korda and Danielle Kang (13-over).
The LPGA Tour heads to Seaview, Bay Course in Galloway, New Jersey for the Shoprite LPGA Classic June 10-12. The 54-hole event was held from 1986 through 2006 and returned to the schedule in 2010. Celine Boutier posted a final round of 63 last year to fend off the likes of Jin Young Ko, Inbee Park and Brooke Henderson for her 2nd career LPGA Tour win. The tournament is played on a par 71 layout of 6190 yards. The purse is $1.75 million with 500 points towards the Race to the CME Globe to the winner.