U.S. Women's Open Round 3
Well, Inbee Park being minus-9 after two rounds really ticked off the USGA, so the golf course was set up very difficult Saturday and a lot of players, including us, paid the price if balls were not struck perfectly and hit in the correct spots on the greens. These were the most brutal hole locations I have ever seen in my years of playing and caddying.
We were the first group off No. 10 and were paired with Danah (Ford) Bordner from Indianapolis and Sarah Jane (Kenyon) Smith from Australia. I knew both of these pros from six years ago when they were struggling pros and I was a struggling caddie on the Duramed Futures Tour, so I was pleased with our pairing. Casie hit two great shots into the par-4 10th and almost made birdie. Unfortunately, Bordner dumped it in the deepest bunker fronting the green, hit it over the back, then chipped it back into the bunker and started with an 8. Casie got up and down for par on No. 11, then just missed a 6-footer for par on the par-3 12th to fall to 1-over on the day. We pulled our tee shot on the par-5 13th into the fairway bunker and had to lay up with a 9-iron, then pulled the same 9-iron into the left green-side bunker and didn't get it up and down for our second bogey. The par-4 14th played as the second-most difficult hole on the golf course and we had a 15-footer for birdie that burned the left edge. After pars on 15, and 16, we 3-putted for bogey after being above a massive hump in the green that you just had to get the ball to and let it roll down.
On the par-5 18th, we tried going for the green in two after a great drive, and pulled a 3-wood slightly, but it kicked hard left into the hazard and we couldn't get up and down for par to fall to plus-4 on the day plus-8 for the tournament. The toughest hole location was on the par-4 first hole, where Casie smoked a 4-iron that the 25-mile per hour wind didn't hit into the back bunker and didn't get it up and down. A short second shot on No. 2 led to a 3-putt double bogey, and a bogey on the par-3 third hole from the left front green side bunker put us at plus-8. I told Casie let's try to get two shots back and she proceeded to make three consecutive pars and almost hit the green in two on the par 5. She got it up and down for our first birdie of the day to get back to plus-7. She burned the edge from 15 feet on No. 9 and finished with a 79. I was very proud of her to bounce back and get her score in the 70s because this was the toughest 18 holes of golf I've ever seen.
We will see what the USGA does with the course set up Sunday, but I expect it to be just as tough because they don't want minus-10 to win the Open. We are still in the fight for Low Amateur (which would get Casie an automatic spot to next year's U.S. Women's Open at Pinehurst), so if we play solid, that is certainly attainable. This has been the best experience of my caddie career, and Casie is a great kid so it's been a pleasure to work for her and help her make the cut and have a chance to finish Low Am at her first Open.
Not sure what time we will tee off Sunday, but we will probably be on TV, fighting for Low Am against the best amateur in the world, Lydia Ko.