STACY LEWIS: Lewis has been the hottest golfer for the last month. Even last week at her “hometown” Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, a T19 finish, Lewis continued to score well with all three rounds under par. In the last six tournaments, Lewis has two wins, five top-5s and the “letdown” last week. Seventeen of 18 rounds during that stretch have been at par or better.
“It's the hardest test; it's more of a mental test than physical,” Lewis said of the U.S. Women’s Open. “I've heard the golf course is pretty open, so it's going to be a lot of putting and a mental test and you've just got to grind out some pars and just play steady.”
Lewis’ Open record includes a T3 in 2008 and a T34 last year when she led after the first round.
The only concern might be fatigue, and that she’s nursing a foot injury that affects her walking from shot to shot. Lewis said she will have the foot examined later this summer.
YANI TSENG: Yes, Tseng has been in a funk lately, riding a streak of six starts without a win, missing the cut at last week’s event in Arkansas and recording only one round in the 60s among her last nine rounds. Much of the blame for her drought could be focused on Driving Accuracy, where she has hit only 57 percent of the fairways (ranked 141st on the LPGA), a category always important at the U.S. Women’s Open.
However, Tseng has a sense of history, and the U.S. Women’s Open is the only major that she hasn’t won. (She has won two Wegmans LPGAs, two RICOH Women’s British Opens and one Kraft Nabisco). Tseng has a T10 and a T15 in her last two U.S. Women’s Open starts. It was the first LPGA event she ever attended, at age 13 in 2002 at Prairie Dunes in Kansas.
“So first couple years when I turned pro, I was thinking it's like a dream come true, even I'm playing U. S. Open,” Tseng said earlier this summer. “So I still feel very nervous. I mean even I'm going to the driving range. Like first tee, I'm so nervous the morning of the tournament. But after a couple years on tour and now it's getting much, much better. … So every year I'm getting better, so this year seems more calm and more relaxed than other years, so hopefully I'll really more enjoy this year.”
AI MIYAZATO: Miyazato has won nine times in her career and last week’s victory at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship made her the third player to win multiple times this year (Tseng 3, Lewis 2). With wins in each of the last four seasons and as the No. 3-ranked player in the world, Miyazato has a proven record. She will be aiming for her first major championship title this week, with a T3 at the 2006 and 2010 Wegmans LPGA her best major finishes. Last year she was in contention at The Broadmoor but finished T6 after a final-round 72. She leads the LPGA in earnings and Putting.
SHANSHAN FENG: Much like Tseng’s sense of history, Feng has already made her mark by winning the Wegmans LPGA Championship as the first Chinese player to win on the LPGA. Since her victory one month ago, Feng has finished T7 at the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic and T19 at last week’s Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. Plus, next week she is scheduled to make her first visit home to China since the Wegmans victory. Adding additional focus is that Blackwolf Run in 1998 was the place where South Korean women were inspired to play on the LPGA. Could China be next?
BRITTANY LANG: Could this be another ironic turn? Jenny Chuasiriporn was a rising senior at Duke when she lost a playoff to Se Ri Pak in 1998 at Blackwolf Run. Lang, just off her sophomore year at Duke, was the runner-up as an amateur (along with another amateur, Morgan Pressel) to Birdie Kim in 2005 at Cherry Hills in Denver. She became the first Duke golfer to win on the LPGA with a victory at the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic two weeks ago and followed up with a T8 at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship last week, including a second-round 63. Lang has the T2 in 2005 and a T5 in 2010 at Oakmont in the U.S. Women’s Open.