Canada's A.J. Eathorne took full advantage of being in the first group of the day by recording 3-under-par 34-33 (67) to take the early lead as the first day of the U.S. Women's Open got underway. Not fully awake as she hit her first drive, Eathorne was jarred into alertness after knocking in a 45-foot putt for birdie on the first. 'Something like that going right in the middle of the hole really wakes you up.'
Eathorne, the 1997 Canadian Ladies Amateur Champion, was pleased and visibly excited to be in the lead, saying she would do everything possible to keep herself there. To everyone's surprise she admitted that she scrambled to finish where she did today. 'Looking at my stats for myself. I have three fairways and four greens on the front side and 12 putts. So that's pretty scrambly for me.'
Cindy Figg-Currier got things going on her back nine today where she made three birdies in a row to finish tied for the early lead at 3-under-par 32-35 (67). This is Figg-Currier's 12th U.S. Open appearance. She has missed the cut eight times and her best finish was a tie for 26th in 1990. Of the 11 Women's Opens she has played she is +107 over par.
Joining Eathorne and Figg-Currier with rounds in the 60's are Mi Hyun Kim, 35-33 (68) and Dina Ammaccapane, 34-35 (69).
Kim, afraid of missing her tee time, found herself awake at 2:30 am and unable to fall back asleep. 'It was a very difficult morning,' said Kim after a spectacular opening round where she recorded 26 putts.
Kim expects to do better that she did in 2000.
'Last year at the U.S. Open I learned how to attack the course and also how to manage the course,' Kim said. She played for the first time every with A.J. Eathorne, and kept an eye on her playing partner to see what she was doing. 'I don't usually watch how other players putting stroke. But I watched (A.J.'s) and tried to learn how she putted today, so that helped my putting too.'
Se Ri Pak finished at 1-under-par 35-34 (69), while Annika Sorenstam shot even par 34-36 (70).
While the first groups were heading in, defending champion Karrie Webb could be found calmly hitting ball after ball on the driving range.
Full-field scores from the U.S. Women's Open