All eyes this week have been on Lexi Thompson’s new putting stroke. On Wednesday, the 10-time LPGA Tour winner visited with her brother Curtis Thompson to tinker with her putting stroke. She eventually settled on a claw grip, which is clearly working for the 24-year-old Floridian.
“It feels very good,” said Thompson, who drained a 30-foot eagle putt at No. 15 to jump up the leaderboard. “Obviously, there's some putts out there that I'm like, eh, maybe not so good. But I feel comfortable with it, and I think that's the important part.”
With a win, Thompson would extend her streak of consecutive years with an LPGA Tour victory to seven. She has won at least one event since 2013, the longest active streak on the LPGA Tour.
WITH A WIN…
Celine Boutier would become the third major champion from France, joining Catherine Lacoste (1967 U.S. Women’s Open) and Patricia Meunier-Lebouc (2003 ANA Inspiration)
Yu Liu would become the second LPGA winner from the People’s Republic of China, joining nine-time winner Shanshan Feng
Celine Boutier or Yu Liu would become the second U.S. Women’s Open winner from Duke University, joining 2016 winner Brittany Lang
Yu Liu or Jaye Marie Green would become the season’s third Rolex First-Time winner, joining Celine Boutier (ISPS Handa Vic Open) and Bronte Law (Pure Silk Championship)
Lexi Thompson would earn her second major title, joining the 2014 ANA Inspiration
With the $1 million winner’s check, Lexi Thompson would move to $9,844,805 in career earnings and jump to 17th on the Career Money List
Lexi Thompson, who won the 2008 U.S. Girls’ Junior, would become the second consecutive past champion to win the U.S. Women’s Open, following 2011 Girls’ Junior champion Ariya Jutanugarn; five other players have won both titles – Amy Alcott, JoAnne Carner, Inbee Park, Hollis Stacy and Mickey Wright
Lexi Thompson or Jaye Marie Green would become the first American winner of the U.S. Women’s Open since Brittany Lang in 2016 and just the fourth American winner in the last 10 years
Mamiko Higa would become the first U.S. Women’s Open winner from Japan and the second Japanese major winner, joining Chako Higuchi, who won the 1977 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Bay Tree Golf Plantation, also in South Carolina
GREEN RELYING ON BROTHER, A HIGHER POWER AND EVEN BROOKS KOEPKA
Jaye Marie Green has an ichthus tattooed on her right arm, displaying her faith through the symbol closely associated with Christianity. With faith on her arm and close friendship at her side via her brother and caddie Matt, Green finds herself in a good state of mind as she heads into perhaps the most pressure-packed day of her six-year LPGA Tour career, just one stroke off the lead at the U.S. Women’s Open.
“Who am I kidding? I've never been this close in a major before,” said Green, who missed the cut in her last four consecutive events leading into the U.S. Women’s Open. “I felt this calmness that I've never felt before. I think God's blessed me with that because I'm usually a nervous wreck sometimes. But I just feel -- I feel calm. I feel like my game plan has been working, so I'm not going to change it.”
Green pointed to a specific moment on Thursday with her brother as a big turning point in this week’s play. At No. 8 on Thursday, Matt Green told his sister something he’d heard from four-time major champion Brooks Koepka. She needed to putt like a child again.
“He told me that Brooks Koepka was talking about how he putts the same as when he was younger,” said Green, who had only made one previous cut in her five Women’s Open appearances. “My brother said, Jaye, you don't even look like you putting. I'm like, okay, what did I used to do? So he kind of told me, and that just freed me up because under the gun you've got to go to what you know, and what I know is how I was when I was younger. So I just kind of tried to recreate that, and it's helped a lot. I at least feel better over the putter, because I had the shakes so bad the first day.
KOERSTZ MADSEN ENJOYING BREAKTHROUGH MAJOR WEEK
This week’s U.S. Women’s Open marks Nanna Koerstz Madsen’s 10th major appearance. She quickly jumped to success at the AIG Women’s British Open, shooting a final-round 65 at the 2015 championship en route to a tie for 21st and followed that up with a T37 showing in 2016.
But since that week at England’s Woburn Golf and Country Club, Koerstz Madsen has hit a major drought. The 24-year-old from Denmark missed the cut in six consecutive major appearances, including in her U.S. Women’s Open debut in 2017, before finishing T66 at this year’s ANA Inspiration.
Now in her second season on the LPGA Tour, Koerstz Madsen seems to be hitting her stride on the golf course. She has only missed one cut in 2019 and played in the final group of the HUGEL-AIR PREMIA LA Open before finishing 13th. Today’s 66 at the Country Club of Charleston, sparked by a 56-foot eagle at No. 15, pulled Koerstz Madsen yet again into contention heading into the final round.
“It's exciting. I like being in this position,” said Koerstz Madsen, who credited her difficult final-round 76 in Los Angeles as a great learning experience. “I'm just happy to be here and I feel like my game is pretty solid and I'm confident in my game. So, yeah, I'm just excited for tomorrow, and I like going and playing tomorrow.”
NO. 11 CONTINUES TO CHALLENGE USWO FIELD
As expected, No. 11 kept the players on their toes on Saturday. Through 54 holes, the hole has allowed 29 birdies, along with 134 bogeys, 28 double bogeys and five scores worse than double bogey. The hole’s scoring average is 3.4607, making it one of the most difficult par-3s in championship history. In 2012, the 13th hole at Blackwolf Run played to 3.47, while No. 5 at Pine Needles Lodge and Country Club in 1996 played to 3.44.
SECOND-ROUND COMPLETED ON SATURDAY MORNING
Second-round play resumed at 7:15 a.m. due to an extended weather delay on Friday, with 45 players yet to complete their rounds. The cut came at +3, with 70 players reaching the last two rounds. Notables to miss the cut include 2018 runner-up Hyo-Joo Kim (+7); major champions Paula Creamer (+4), Shanshan Feng (+5), Danielle Kang (+5), Jiyai Shin (+6), Pernilla Lindberg (+6), Karrie Webb(+8), Cristie Kerr (+8), Stacy Lewis (+10), Georgia Hall (+11), In Gee Chun (+11), Na Yeon Choi (+12) and Laura Davies (+21); and Emma Talley (+5), who won the 2013 U.S. Women’s Amateur at the Country Club of Charleston.
Rolex Rankings No. 45 Yu Liu (69-71-66)
- Liu’s third-round 66 is her third-best round of the 2019 season; she previously shot 64 and 65 at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup in the second and third rounds, respectively
- Her 206 is her best 54-hole score at a major; her previous best was a 209 at the 2018 AIG Women’s British Open where she placed T7 for her best finish in a major
- She hit 13 of 14 fairways and 13 of 18 greens, with 27 putts
- Liu is in her second season on the LPGA Tour; she finished fifth on the 2017 Volvik Race for the Card Symetra Tour money list to earn LPGA Tour status
- This is Liu’s 12th event of the 2019 LPGA Tour season; her best finish is a tie for second at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup
- She is competing in her first U.S. Women’s Open and is trying to become the first Chinese player to win the championship
Rolex Rankings No. 94 Celine Boutier (67-70-69)
- Boutier’s third-round 69 is her best round at the U.S. Women’s Open; she previously shot 73 in the second round in 2015
- Her 206 is her best 54-hole score at the U.S. Women’s Open; she missed the cut in 2014 and 2015
- She hit 14 of 14 fairways and 11 of 18 greens, with 26 putts
- Boutier is in her third season on the LPGA Tour; she became a Rolex First-Time Winner with her first LPGA Tour victory at the ISPS Handa Vic Open victory earlier this season
- This is Boutier’s 12th event of the 2019 LPGA Tour season; her best finish other than her victory in Australia was a tie for 18th at the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship
- She is competing in her third U.S. Women’s Open; she missed the cut in 2014 and 2015
Rolex Rankings No. 8 Lexi Thompson (70-69-68)
- Thompson’s third-round 68 ties for her best round at the U.S. Women’s Open; she previously shot 68 twice, in the second round in 2014 and the third round in 2015
- Her 207 is her best 54-hole score at the U.S. Women’s Open; she previously shot 211 in 2015, when she went on to finish T42
- She hit 12 of 14 fairways and 16 of 18 greens, with 32 putts
- Thompson is in her eighth season on the LPGA Tour; she is a 10-time LPGA Tour winner, including a major title at the 2014 ANA Inspiration
- This is Thompson’s ninth event of the 2019 LPGA Tour season; her best finish this season was third at the LPGA Tour’s first major, the ANA Inspiration
- She is competing in her 13th U.S. Women’s Open; her best finish was T5 in 2018
Rolex Rankings No. 118 Jaye Marie Green (71-68-68)
- Green’s third-round 68 is her second-best round at the U.S. Women’s Open; she previously shot 67 in the final round in 2015
- Her 207 is her best 54-hole score at the U.S. Women’s Open; she previously shot 216 in 2015, when she went on to finish a career-best T26
- She hit 13 of 14 fairways and 13 of 18 greens, with 28 putts
- Green is in her sixth season on the LPGA Tour; she became the first player to earn medalist honors twice at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament by winning in 2013 and 2016
- Her career-best finish came at the 2015 Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic, when she finished T6
- This is Green’s 10th event of the 2019 LPGA Tour season; her best finish this season was a tie for 12th at the LPGA Tour’s first major, the ANA Inspiration
- She is competing in her sixth U.S. Women’s Open; in her five previous appearances, she made the cut in 2015 and finished T26
Rolex Rankings No. 49 Mamiko Higa (65-71-71)
- She hit 13 of 14 fairways and 12 of 18 greens, with 30 putts
- Higa is playing in her first U.S. Women’s Open
- This is Higa’s 12th LPGA start; she has top-10 finishes at the 2013 AIG Women’s British Open (T7), the 2013 Mizuno Classic (T3), the 2017 TOTO Japan Classic (T5) and the 2018 AIG Women’s British Open (T4)
- Higa is a full-time member of the JLPGA; she has five victories on that tour, including the 2019 Daikin Orchid Ladies Golf Tournament
- Higa is trying to become the second Japanese player to win a women’s major championship, joining Chako Higuchi, who won the 1977 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship