Is Pinehurst No. 2 ready for the 156 world-class women golfers who are now less than 48 hours away from their first round tee times? Did the men leave too many divots? Are the greens rolling properly? After their second day of practice rounds the players are reporting perfect conditions.
Eleven-year old Lucy Li, the first in line to officially register for the US Women’s Open declared after her 9-hole practice round today that No. 2 is ready to receive the women:
It’s in awesome condition. The greens are running perfectly and there’s not much rough. The fairways are nice and firm and it’s pretty great.
Lucy Li may not have enough experience to advance an informed assessment of course conditions, but Dame Laura Davies certainly does, and she seems to agree with the youngest-ever player to qualify for the Open.
Davies, all-time Solheim Cup point earner, who’s bringing 20 LPGA victories and 45 Ladies European Tour victories to her 26th US Women’s Open appearance, thinks the USGA got it “spot on” this time:
. . . the course is in great shape. They have obviously chucked a lot of water on the greens since Sunday from when the guys finished. They’re receptive. I didn’t have one shot bounce crazy off the back of the green. They were hitting and stopping.
Rolex Ranked no. 6 Lexi Thompson, who played her first US Women’s Open in 2007, at the age of 12, winner of the first 2014 LPGA major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship, is playing her 8th Open this year. Thompson’s known for being long off the tee — she’s ranked number 1 on the Tour for driving distance, averaging 275+ yards — and we’ve all watched her tear up the fairway with divots that look more like mink pelts than chunks of turf. She likes the course conditions too.
. . . the conditions on the golf course are great. At this golf course, it’s pretty firm, so there’s not many divots or anything, I’m barely taking divots here. . .
With its traditional rough removed and the off-fairway environment naturalized to the North Carolina sand hills ecology, Pinehurst No. 2 is unique among American golf courses. Rolex Ranked no. 1 Stacy Lewis intentionally hit balls from that environment, “just to kind of see how the club was reacting.” She reported that “the ball kind of jumps out of there.”
For Lewis, however, the primary appeal of No. 2 is not the physical environment but the course’s technical complexity:
I love the way you have to think your way around. You really have to — it’s position golf, it’s where do I need to be for every hole location and that suits my game.