Leona Maguire and Stephanie Meadow will get their U.S. Women’s Open bids underway in blistering North Carolina sunshine on Thursday at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club.
With temperatures tipping 36 degrees Celsius on Thursday afternoon, Maguire and Meadow will be hoping to keep their cool and get their respective tournaments off to strong starts at the history-making $10 million event.
Maguire arrives off the back of three straight missed cuts to a course that she visited regularly during her dominant days at Duke University. The 6,638 yards par-71 has since been redesigned by Kyle Franz in 2017 but Maguire will hope a trip down memory lane might trigger the kind of form that saw her make her LPGA Tour breakthrough at the Drive On Championship in February.
Meadow meanwhile punched her ticket to women’s golf’s richest tournament when she came through 36-holes of US Women’s Open qualifying at Gainey Ranch Golf Club in Arizona last month for the second year running.
The Jordanstown star halved her first two matches at the LPGA Match Play last week at Shadow Creek and has been in much better form this season, enjoying one top-10 to sit 62nd on the Race to CME Globe standings, the season-long points list where she finished in 100th place last year to retain her LPGA Tour card.
As for the challenge posed this week at Pine Needles, the course has hosted three US Women’s Open in 1996, 2001 and 2007 but players can expect an altogether different test this week in North Carolina.
“The course is a lot different than it was in the previous Opens,” Pine Needles President Kelly Miller told Golfweek.
“No. 1 is the Bermuda greens which are much firmer and have a lot more contouring since the restoration. The Open at Olympic Club last year had very deep rough and here we don’t have virtually any rough. We have wiregrass but the course will play very wide and, hopefully, very fast. Whoever wins here will have to be a great thinker and be able to execute their shots.”
Tee-times (Irish time)
- 6:14 p.m. – Stephanie Meadow, Annabell Fuller, Bronte Law
- 7:09 p.m. – Lizette Salas, Leona Maguire, Jeongeun Lee6