Yang rebounds from poor start at Oakmont
OAKMONT, Pa. – After making double bogey on her first hole Thursday, Amy Yang just smiled and gently placed her putter back in the bag.
The 20-year-old didn’t get angry after her poor start to the U.S. Women’s Open. Instead, she stayed calm and rebounded for a 70 that put her in a tie for second. She capped off her round by hitting her approach to No. 18 to 4 feet.
“She kind of smiled like, ‘Oh, OK, whatever,’ ” her instructor, Tom Creavy, said. “She was just so calm. She just reacted well.”
Yang, No. 41 in the Rolex Rankings, wasn’t the only player to rebound from a poor start. World No. 1 Cristie Kerr bogeyed her first two holes but shot 72.
“It was a tough start,” Kerr said. “I was fighting momentum all day.”
Alexis Thompson, 15, also was 2 over after two, but birdied her final two holes for 73. She got up-and-down from just off the green on the 260-yard, par-4 17th and hit pitching wedge to 10 feet on the 445-yard, par-4 18th.
Kerr played a classic U.S. Open round – 13 pars, three bogeys and two birdies. She hit 10 of 14 fairways and 13 of 18 greens.
She’s the last American to win the U.S. Women’s Open, and the only U.S. player to reach world No. 1. Kerr will start the second round three shots behind fellow American Brittany Lang. Lang’s 69 has her one shot ahead of four players, including Yang.
Yang is seeking her first LPGA victory, but is a three-time Ladies European Tour winner. She won the ’06 ANZ Ladies Masters as a 16-year-old amateur to become the youngest winner in LET history.
Yang, who was 3-over par after three holes Thursday, started her comeback with an unusual birdie on the par-5 fourth. She hit her drive in a fairway bunker and had to lay up well back of the green. She hit 6-iron from 180 yards to 4 feet. Yang eagled the next par 5, No. 9, after hitting a hybrid to 4 feet.
“I said, ‘Just be patient. Wait.’ There’s a lot more holes to come,” Yang said.