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Paula Creamer hitting her tee shot at the 13th hole during a practice round ahead of the 2017 U.S. Women's Open at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. on Tuesday, July 11, 2017.  (Copyright USGA/Chris Keane)

Paula Creamer hitting her tee shot at the 13th hole during a practice round ahead of the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. on Tuesday, July 11, 2017. (Copyright USGA/Chris Keane)

 

BEDMINSTER, N.J. – Thursday can not come soon enough for the world’s best female golfers.

156 golfers, including defending champion Brittany Lang and lone New Jerseyan, Marina Alex of Wayne, will finally tee it up as first round play begins at the USGA’s 72nd U.S. Women’s Open Championship at the much-discussed Trump National Golf Club (Old Course) in Bedminster, New Jersey.

10 past U.S. Women’s Open champions are in this year’s field, highlighted by 2011 champ So Yeon Ryu (the world’s current No. 1 player), Michelle Wie, Inbee Park, Karrie Webb, Paula Creamer, and Cristie Kerr amongst others.

Ryu has two wins to her credit this season (the Wal-Mart Northwest Arkansas and this season’s first major, ANA Inspiration) and an impressive nine top-10 finishes in 12 starts this season.

“I’m having a really great year this year. To be honest, last year was bit of a struggle with my game. I started to change my swing and I started working with a new coach,” said Ryu. “This year I finally settled with my golf swing and my coach, who is not new anymore, Cameron McCormick.  I’ve been doing lot of incredible stuff with him and my team.”

Wie, the 2014 champ and playing in her 14th US Open this week, comes into New Jersey on fire, with four top-5 finishes in her last six events.

“The condition of the golf course is pure. I think the layout is amazing. It’s just pure conditions. It’s what you expect from a U.S. Women’s Open week. It’s what you expect from a U.S. Open golf course and I’m excited to play it,” said Wie, who played in her first USGA event in 2000. “There’s a lot of nerves coming into majors. There is a part where you get a little bit stressed. Just having the memory of having won in 2014, hopefully that will help me a lot this week. It gives me confidence knowing that I have done it before. U.S. Open week has been my most important week of the year. I try not to put so much pressure on myself as I most always do. I’m here to have fun and play some good golf.”

Having missed last year’s U.S. Women’s Open, two-time champion Park, is ready to contend again.

Playing in her 11th Women’s Open, the youngest player at the age of 19 ever to win this event and Olympic gold medalist, Park is seeking her eighth major title.

“It feels great to be back playing in the U.S. Women’s Open. I really miss coming here and I feel like I have been pretty lucky in New York and the New Jersey area,” said Park, who won her first USGA Championship in the Garden State at the US Girls’ Junior Championship down Route 78 at Echo Lake Country Club in Westfield and captured her second US Open title in 2013 at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, New York. “I love to be back here and in the East Coast area. It is the biggest championship of the year and this is kind of the tournament I kind of focus on to play my best.”

Other players looking to contend are Danielle Kang (coming off her first major victory at the KPMG Women’s Championship at Olympia Fields Country Club in Illinois two weeks ago),  Stacy Lewis, Lexi Thompson, Lydia Ko, Ariya Jutanugarn, Brooke Henderson, Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel, Charley Hull, Anna Nordqvist, In Gee Chun, Suzann Pettersen and Gerina Piller.

The 72-hole stroke-play will be cut to the low 60 scorers (plus ties) after the first two rounds, which will be shown live nationally on FS1 from 2-7 p.m. on Thursday and Friday.

Fox continues live coverage over the weekend, also from 2-7 p.m.

The Old Course is a par-72, 6,732-yard layout.

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