There's a two-way tie for the lead at the U.S. Women's Open as players start day two of competition this morning.
South Korean Ji Young Oh and American Pat Hurst both shot a 6 under par yesterday at Interlachen Country Club in Edina.
Three Minnesotans are also competing. None of them broke par during the first round yesterday, and they'll have to work today to make the cut so they can continue playing into the weekend.
Martha Nause learned firsthand yesterday the difference between being a coach, trying to pep up a player who's had a bad game, and being that player who just had a bad game.
The Macalester College golf coach's first thought after finishing with a disappointing 5 over par was: "I'm a little disgusted, actually."
It didn't help that a painful bogie on 18 was still fresh on her mind, thanks to a shot that kerplunked into the water.
"I just made a lot of mental errors. My focus wasn't what I wanted it to be, and because of that I didn't putt well. I kept saying it's not the end of the world, but it feels a little closer to the end of the world. It's never fun to shoot scores like that," Nause said.
But even with her poor play, Nause was still a fan favorite. Many family members and cohorts from Macalaster and her alma mater St. Olaf College were there to cheer on a woman who hasn't played professionally full time for nine years.
Vanessa Seljeskog is Macalester's assistant athletic director.
"I think the whole experience is great; it's been wonderful. I wish some of those close putts had fallen for her, but there's always tomorrow," Seljeskog said.
Nause's disappointing round stacks the deck against her in her bid to make the cut after today's round. She'll need a great round and a lot of other players to have bad rounds today, a scenario that contrasts sharply with how the two other Minnesotans performed on day one.
Michele Redman of Minneapolis and Hilary Lunke both finished just 1 over, and are still in the hunt to play on after today.
Lunke was clearly a fan favorite as well, getting warm applause after she finished.
Not only did Lunke win this U.S. Women's Open five years ago, she also grew up a short golf cart ride away in Edina, and even got a ride to the course yesterday from her mom.
But Lunke hasn't played a lot since her daughter was born seven months ago, so she wasn't sure what to expect.
"I didn't hit the ball well, especially on my first side. I was sort of hitting better on this back side, but still had some loose shots. So I'm really pleased to have finished 1 over with that," Redman said.
Aside from the hometown favorites, many fans were also at Interlachen to see two big name players: Lorena Ochoa, the top ranked female player in the world; and Annika Sorenstam, a three-time Open champion who's playing her final U.S. Open before retiring.
Sorenstam started with an early birdie but ended the day 2 over. And Ochoa hit an even 73.
In fact, it was other players in Ochoa and Sorenstam's threesomes that stole the show.
Pat Hurst, who played with Sorenstam, finished tied for the lead at 6 under.
One surprise of the day was Colombian Maria Jose Uribe, who was just two strokes behind the leaders. The amateur UCLA student played in Ochoca's threesome and broke par for the first time in her three U.S. Women's Open tournaments.
If she felt pressure playing alongside the best golfer in the world, Uribe didn't show it.
"Every time I'm under pressure I do better than when I'm just playing for fun. If you play with me on Saturday at my golf course I know you're not going to think I'm a good player," Uribe said.
Uribe also told reporters that she's committed to finishing college, unless something unexpected were to happen. She then quickly added that a U.S. Open win would definitely qualify as that something unexpected.