The U.S. Women’s Open, the LPGA season’s second major, tees off this week in Charleston, South Carolina.
Contested at Country Club of Charleston, the 74th edition of the women’s national golf championship will mark the USGA’s return to the Palmetto State for the first time since the 1962 U.S. Women’s Open at Dunes Golf and Beach Club in Myrtle Beach.
The field will include all of the top LPGA names, including each of the top-25 ranked players in the world, headlined by defending champion Ariya Jutanugarn, who currently sits at No. 4 in the Rolex Rankings.
U.S. Women’s Open
Where: Charleston, SC
Course: Country Club of Charleston
Distance: Par 71, 6535 yards
Architect: Seth Raynor (1925)
Format: 72-holes, stroke play, 36-hole cut
Winning Share: $900,000
TV Coverage: FOX
Defending Champion: Ariya Jutanugarn
TV Schedule & Links
Rd 1: Th 2:30-7:30 pm (FS1)
Rd 2: Fr 2:30-7:30 pm (FS1)
Rd 3: Sa 2:00-7:00 pm (FOX)
Rd 4: Su 2:00-7:00 pm (FOX)
Not surprisingly, the U.S. Women’s Open was conceived well after the men’s event, but it is still rich in tradition, with this year’s Open being the 74th edition.
The first U.S. Women’s Open was held in 1946 and won by Patty Berg, who to this day holds the LPGA record for major championship victories with 15. The first two decades of the U.S. Women’s Open were largely dominated by a small group of elite golfers which included Betsy Rawls, Mickey Wright and legendary all-around athlete Babe Didrikson Zaharias.
As the tournament has progressed it’s gained popularity for being the richest, and arguably most prestigious, event in women’s golf.
More recent Opens have brought winners like Hall-of-Famers Annika Sorenstam, Karrie Webb, Julie Inkster and Inbee Park into the spotlight.
The early winners were almost exclusively American, as only three of the first 40 Opens were won by non-Americans. However, as women’s golf has become more global that number as precipitously increased. The 2019 event will feature golfers from 26 different countries.
History: Recent Winners
2018: Ariya Jutanugarn (-11)
2017: Sung Hyun Park (-11)
2016: Brittany Lang (-6)
2015: In Gee Chun (-8)
2014: Michelle Wie (-2)
2013: Inbee Park (-8)
2012: Na Yeon Choi (-7)
2011: So Yeon Ryu (-3)
(272) – Annika Sorenstam (1996), Juli Inkster (1999), In Gee Chun (2015)
(-16) – Juli Inkster (1999)
4 – Betsy Rawls (1951, 1953, 1957, 1960), Mickey Wright (1958-59, 1961, 1964)
3 – Babe Zaharias (1958, 1950, 1954),
Ariya Jutanugarn struggled to a final-round 73 but outlasted Hyo Woo Kim in a four-hole playoff to claim victory at the 73rd U.S. Women’s Open – her second major title.
Entering the day with a four-stoke lead over Sarah Jane Smith and six clear of Kim, Jutanugarn’s front-nine 32 had ballooned her advantage to seven strokes. But a triple-bogey on the 10th hole followed by a bogey on No. 12 quickly shaved the Thai’s lead down to just two strokes over Kim, and after back-to-back bogeys to close (Nos. 17 and 18), the 22-year old’s lead had evaporated.
In just nine holes, Jutanugarn had dropped from 18 under into a tie with Kim at 11-under par, four strokes ahead of Carlota Ciganda, who finished 7 under. Danielle Kang was alone in fourth, but eight strokes back at 3-under par 285, with Lexi Thompson, Wei-Ling Hsu, amateur Patty Tavatanakit and Smith at 2-under 286.
Playing Shoal Creek’s 14th and 18th in the USGA’s new two-hole aggregate playoff format, Kim dropped a 30-foot birdie putt on the first hole – the par-4 14th – while Jutanugarn made a par-4. On the second hole – the par-4 18th – both Jutanugarn and Kim missed the green, but the Thai made a great up and down for par while Kim carded a bogey-5 to extend the playoff to sudden death.
After both made par on the third playoff hole – No. 14, the players moved on to the fourth and final overtime hole – No 18. Both players landed their approaches in the bunker, with Kim leaving her bunker shot some 15 feet, while Jutanugarn landed hers to 18 inches. After Kim missed, Jutanugarn tapped in, picked up her ball and started to tremble. She was the U.S. Women’s Open champion!
1 Ariya Jutanugarn -11
2 Hyo Joo Kim -11
3 Carlota Ciganda -7
4 Danielle Kang -3
5 Lexi Thompson -2
5 Patty Tavatanakit-2
5 Wei Ling Hsu -2
5 Sarah Jane Smith -2
The field in South Carolina includes all 50 players ranked in the world top-50, led by world No. 1 Jin-Young Ko of Korea, who won the season’s first major.
A strong Korean contingent will join Ko, including three more players ranked in the top-10: Sung Hyun Park (No. 3), Inbee Park (No. 7), and Sei Young Kim (No. 9).
The remaining six top-10 ranked players represent six different countries including Aussie Minjee Lee (No. 3), Thai Ariya Jutanugarn (No. 4), Japan’s Nasa Hataoka (No. 5), Canada’s Brooke Henderson (No. 6), American Lexi Thompson (No. 8), and Spain’s Carlota Ciganda.
Each of the season’s 11 winners will also tee it up this week, including the aforementioned Hataoka (Kia Classic), Henderson (LOTTE Championship), Kim (LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship), Ko (Bank of Hope Founders Cup, ANA Inspiration), Lee (HUGEL-AIR PREMIA LA Open), and Park (HSBC Women’s World Championship), alongside Celine Boutier (ISPS Handa Vic Open), Eun-Hee Ji (Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions), Bronte Law (Pure Silk Championship), Nelly Korda (ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open), and Amy Yang (Honda LPGA Thailand).
Other top-ranked names include Americans Danielle Kang, Jessica Korda, Marina Alex, Lizette Salas, Cristie Kerr, and Angel Yin; Koreans So Yeon Ryu, Jeongeun Lee, IK Kim, and In Gee Chun; England’s Charley Hull, Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist, New Zealand’s Lydia Ko, and Thailand’s Moriya Jutanugarn.
Full Field & Odds
The favorite is Jin Young Ko, who is already a two-time winner in 2019, and owns the season’s first major title (ANA). The world No. 1 Korean is listed 10-1 to capture her second major trophy of 2019.
World No. 2 Minjee Lee was next at 12-1 with red-hot Brooke Henderson offered at 14-1.
Top-5 Betting Favorites
1. Jin Young Ko (10-1)
2. Minjee Lee (12-1)
3. Brooke Henderson (14-1)
4. Inbee Park (18-1)
4. Jeong-Eun Lee (18-1)