World No. 1 Yani Tseng had a rough start on Thursday in her bid to win her first US Women’s Open title and complete a career Grand Slam, with two disastrous holes undermining what was otherwise a good round.
Tseng shot a two-over 74 to end up tied for 38th after the first round of the tournament, five shots behind the US’ Cristie Kerr, Brittany Lincicome and Lizette Salas, who shot three-under 69s.
Sharing fourth on 70 were 17-year-old US star Lexi Thompson, the US’ Jennie Lee, Japan’s Ai Miyazato and Spain’s Beatriz Recari.
She carded four birdies and only one bogey on the day at the demanding Blackwolf Run course in Kohler, Wisconsin, but a double-bogey at the par-four fourth and a triple-bogey at the 11th prevented her from finishing among a small group that ended the day under par.
Both bad holes started with drives into Blackwolf Run’s perilous fairway rough. On the 11th, after chipping out onto the fairway, Tseng hooked a four-iron into more long greenside rough that took her two shots to escape. She then two-putted for triple-bogey.
Yet, after her round, Tseng seemed unfazed by her adventurous holes.
“I feel I played very good. I feel I can make lots of birdies there. I know the course better today and just needed to drop more putts,” she was quoted as saying on the LPGA Web site.
“I think there is nothing I can improve today because it was only two bad holes, so I’m very looking forward to tomorrow,” Tseng said.
Only 14 players in the 156-player field finished their first round under par, so although Tseng is five shots off the pace, a good score in the second round could catapult her far up the leaderboard.
“Two-over is not far back, and there is lots of golf we will play for the next three days,” she said.
Were Tseng to win this year’s US Women’s Open, she would beat out Tiger Woods to become the youngest golf player, male or female, to claim a career Grand Slam.
However, she has always struggled at what is likely the most difficult major of the year, with her best performance a 10th place in 2010.
Three other Taiwanese are competing in Wisconsin. Candie Kung, who finished second in the Sybase Match Play Championship in mid-May, was tied with Tseng at two-over, while rookie Doris Chen finished the day at four-over and was tied for 77th.
Veteran Amy Hung was tied for 146th at 10-over.