Cheyenne Woods qualified for Pinehurst on the same day her uncle Tiger announced he’d be skipping the big show. The Symetra Tour player advanced to her second U.S. Women’s Open on the strength of a second-round 68 May 28 at the Country Club at DC Ranch in Scottsdale, Ariz.
“I’ll represent the Woods family,” Woods told Golfweek in advance of the June 19-22 U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst (N.C.) Resort’s renowned No. 2 course, which follows the men’s Open a week earlier on the same site. “I’ll be more than happy to be the one to play.”
After opening with a 73, thanks to 36 putts, Woods saw the scores posted ahead of her and knew she needed to turn it on. She adjusted her putting posture, took some positive energy from mom, who acted as caddie, and birdied four holes in the second 18.
Woods is the third black golfer to qualify for this year’s Women’s Open, joining Scottsdale medalist Sadena Parks, a Washington alumna and Big Break player, and Sierra Sims, who plays for Wake Forest. Sims, originally an alternate, was added when spots were given back because of players winning LPGA tour events who already were exempt.
All three met while playing together in the Bill Dickey Invitational, a popular tournament for minority junior golfers.
“It shows where the game is going and how much the game has evolved,” Woods said. “It’s not what you’ve always seen in the past few years. I hope other people will see that and be inspired.”
Woods, a 2012 Wake Forest graduate, has played in eight Symetra Tour events this season and, so far, has underperformed.
After winning the Australian Ladies Masters in February and tying for 23rd at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, Woods has struggled in the U.S. She ranks 50th on the Symetra Tour money list. The top 10 earn cards for the 2015 LPGA season.
“I haven’t played up to my potential,” Woods said. “I know I can do a lot better.”
She leaves Sunday for two more weeks on the developmental tour before rolling into Pinehurst for what’s bound to be a media circus.
As the only Woods at Pinehurst, she should expect nothing less.