BEDMINSTER, N.J. – Although it was hot and humid in the Garden State Thursday, it was a breath of fresh air to finally get to why we are here in the first place.
Shahshan Feng of China fired a blistering 6-under-par 66 to take a one-shot lead over Amy Yang of Korea after Thursday’s first round of the USGA’s 72nd annual U.S. Women’s Open Championship at Trump National Golf Club (Old Course) in Bedminster, New Jersey.
Feng, who broke 70 for the first time ever in this tournament, drained five birdies (holes 11, 12, 13, 17, and 18) on the front nine for a sizzling 31 and had nine straight pars to take the lead on a sultry and humid day in the Garden State.
“I started the round great. I mean I had three birdies in the first four holes and then after that, I mean, I just felt so comfortable about everything,” said Feng, whose best finish was a tie for fourth in the 2012 U.S. Women’s Open. “My ball-striking has been pretty good but I was kind of struggling with my putting, so I was happy that I made a little adjustment on my putting with my coach, Gary Gilchrist, on Tuesday and I think that’s really been helping, because I was rolling the ball very nicely on the greens and made a lot of birdies.”
Yang had a solid start as well with a 5-under-par 67 (36-31) with birdies on holes 11, 14, 15, and 18 to boost her score on the back nine.
“I started the round a little slow. I wasn’t that comfortable over the ball so I had to do a lot of long putts and it was just little hard to make a birdie on the front,” Yang said. “I was out there just being patient and I started get some good momentum and my putting worked really well on the back nine.”
20-year-old Lydia Ko of New Zealand and currently the world’s top-ranked golfer, So Yeon Ryu, are each tied for third place with a 4-under par 68 and five players are tied, three shots back with a 3-under-par 69.
Friday’s second round begins at 6:45 a.m. Eastern with the cut going to the low 60 scorers (plus ties) and national broadcast coverage continues on FS1 from 2-7 p.m.