BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Eun Hee Ji received a polite welcome before teeing it up in the final pairing in the final round of the U.S. Women's Open. American Cristie Kerr, of course, received a huge ovation, complete with hoots and howls. She will be the gallery's overwhelming favorite.
But there wasn't much cheering with Kerr's first tee shot. She pushed it wildly right, in the deep rough, with fans groaning as it veered so far off track. Ji calmly split the first fairway with Kerr later having to pitch her way back in the fairway.
There's a long way to go, but the Zen Buddhist influence of Kerr's mental coach, Dr. Joseph Parent, is being tested early. Kerr bogeyed the first hole with Ji making par. Kerr's lead is down to one. Kerr is the last player still under par at Saucon Valley, but she's just another bogey away from shedding the last red number on the leaderboard.