Last year, Annika Sorenstam and Pat Hurst needed a Monday playoff to decide the winner. Sorenstam closed with an even-par 71 in Sunday's final round, then claimed her 10th major championship crown on Monday with a 1-under 70.
Hurst, who closed with a 2-under 69 in the final round to force the playoff, managed just a 4-over 75 to fall short of winning her second major title. It was the third time Sorenstam defeated Hurst in a playoff.
The playoff at Newport Country Club came one year after Birdie Kim holed a miraculous bunker shot for birdie and the 2005 title as she fended off then amateurs Morgan Pressel and Brittany Lang.
In 1996, Sorenstam posted a 272 total to set the U.S. Women's Open scoring record for a par-70 course. That happened at this year's host course - Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club, where Karrie Webb claimed the 2001 crown.
There are plenty of storylines as always. Women's World No. 1 Lorena Ochoa is coming off her third win of the season at last week's Wegmans LPGA, but she is still searching for her first major title.
Will former No. 1 Sorenstam, a two-time winner and two-time runner-up at this event, regain her form after a recent back and neck injury? Can Sorenstam be the first to repeat since Karrie Webb in 2000 and 2001?
How will 12-year-old Alexis Thompson fair? Thompson is the youngest ever to qualify for the Women's Open.
With Morgan Pressel (Kraft Nabisco) and Suzann Pettersen (McDonald's LPGA) winning the first two majors, will Paula Creamer, Natalie Gulbis, Ai Miyazato, Cristie Kerr or another first-time major champion be crowned?
The LPGA Tour will be off next week before returning the following week with the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic, where Mi Hyun Kim won last year.