The second major of the women’s season gets underway this week and the setting at the historic Olympic Club outside San Francisco couldn’t be better.
The Lake Course at Olympic has hosted five men’s U.S. Opens and it is the site of one of the most stunning upsets in the history of the game. The year was 1955 when a little-known from from a municipal course in Davenport, Iowa stunned one of the game’s icons.
Jack Fleck birdied two of this final four holes to tie legendary Ben Hogan then went on to defeat Hogan in a Monday playoff.
In 1966, Arnold Palmer took a seven-shot lead into the final nine holes. It was an agonizing finish for Arnie and he found himself tied with Billy Casper as he walked off the 72nd hole. Casper prevailed in that Monday playoff, shooting 69 to Palmer’s 73.
Following those two thrillers, the U.S. Open returned to Olympic Club in 1987, 1998 and 2012.
A complete renovation of the Lake Course was completed in 2009, transforming the course from just over 6,800 yards to almost 7,200 yards.
This week will be a completely different experience from the heat-fest last week in Las Vegas at the LPGA Match Play. Temperatures will range from highs in the low 60s to the low 50s for the early morning players.
Winds are predicted to be highest for Thursday’s first round — 20 miles per hour with wind blowing from the West-Southwest each of the first three rounds, shifting from the west for Sunday.
It’s a great field on a great course, let’s take a look a some of the top contenders:
Danielle Kang: Played last week in the match play, Las Vegas is her home base where she works with Butch Harmon. She’s got the overall solid game to win at Olympic. Her first major came at the 2017 Women’s PGA. Time for Danielle to bag a second.
Lydia Ko: Has more length, direction control is super. She’s a force once again.
Nelly Korda: Hasn’t played well in her last two events, time for her to snap out of it and win a major.
Patty Tavatanakit: You gotta love her distance off the tee, laser iron shots and poise under pressure. Can she make it two majors in a row after winning the ANA Inspiration?
Jin Young Ko: World’s No. 1 has the most complete game and always looks incredibly calm.
Inbee Park: She looks like she’s swinging in slow-motion. Putts the eyes out of it and is a Hall Of Famer. Has two U.S. Open wins on her impressive resume.
Sei Young Kim: World’s No. 2 has her eyes on the prize.
Brooke Henderson: It’s been too long in between majors for Brooke, Canada’s golfing sweetheart. Like Danielle, her first major came at the Women’s PGA back in 2016 and like Danielle, she’s overdue.
So Yeon Ryu: She’s been trending in the right direction. Her first major came at the 2011 U.S. Open and she took home the ANA in 2017. Has a great overall game.
Hyo-Joo Kim: Seventh-ranked player in the world doesn’t get as much recognition as the other South Korean stars.
Jessica Korda: Has been playing better than her sister as of late. Like sis, still looking for that first major.
Lexi Thompson: If only she had a short game. Putting got so bad she’s gone to the paint-brush grip, and players don’t go there because they’re good putters.
Mirim Lee: Another outstanding South Korean player, she’s the defending champion — won the COVID-delayed event last September.
Suffice to say it won’t be a surprise if there’s a first-time major winner this week. There have been six-straight first-time major winners and first timers have taken 12 of the last 15 women’s majors.
All times shown are Eastern Time:
Thursday, Friday: The Golf Channel 7 p.m.-11 p.m.
Saturday: 2 p.m.-5 p.m. NBC; 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Golf Channel.
Sunday: 3 p.m.-7 p.m. NBC.