US Women’s Open debuts at historic Olympic Club

The 76th US Women’s Open Championship starts tomorrow night (AEST) at The Olympic Club in San Francisco.

The Olympic Club has a long history of hosting USGA championships, but this will be the first US Women’s Open at the illustrious venue. The men’s Open has visited a total of five times, most recently in 2012, when Webb Simpson captured the title.

Hannah Green Hannah Green will be looking for a second major victory following her breakthrough 2019 US Women’s PGA title (Credit: LPGA Tour)

The field has 156 golfers from 27 countries, including five Australians, competing this week. The purse is US$5.5 million, the largest in women’s golf, with the champion receiving US$1 million.

Inbee Park comes into the week as one of the favourites to win, with Jin Young Ko and Sei Young Kim also expected to strongly contend.

When Park has played this calendar year, she’s been impressive finishing no worse than tied 15th at the Hugel-Air Premia LA Open, and recording a win at the Kia Classic in late March.

Park was in a tie for seventh at the ANA Inspiration, sixth at last year’s US Women’s Open, fourth at the Women’s Open, and second at the Women’s PGA Championship. The 32-year-old seems ready to claim her first major since 2015.

World number one Jin Young Ko is twice a major winner in 2019 and she secured the Tour Championship at the end of last season. The 25-year-old will be keen to ensure that the trophy remains in the hands of South Korea.

Brittany Lang was the last American champion in 2016, and local support will be focussed on the Korda sisters, Jessica and Nelly, who have both won on the LPGA Tour this season. Each will be expecting to contend on the west coast.

Hannah Green will be one of five Aussies playing this week and broke through with her biggest win as a professional in the 2019 KPMG Women’s Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club edging 2017 US Women’s Open champion Sung Hyun Park by one stroke. Green has played two previous US Opens with her best finish a share of 34th position in 2019.

Sarah Kemp will make her fifth US Women’s Open start after qualifying in Alexandria. Earlier this year, she tied for fifth in the Gainbridge LPGA and brings solid form into the championship. Kemp’s best finish at a US Open was a share of 67th at Oakmont Country Club in 2010.

Minjee Lee is a five time winner on the LPGA Tour and is seeking her first major title despite being in contention on numerous occasions. She finished third in the 2020 Women’s British Open at Royal Troon. She also tied for third in the 2017 ANA Inspiration. Lee’s best result at the US Open is a share of 11th in 2017 at Trump National Golf Club (Old Course).

Sarah Jane Smith and Emily Mahar are the other two Aussies competing with Smith earning her ninth US Women’s Open start by surviving a 6-for-2 playoff for the last spots on April 26 in qualifying. Smith’s best result at the US Open was a share of 5th in 2018 at Shoal Creek.

Mahal, is an Australian amateur currently in the US college system at Virginia Tech who also survived qualifying to gain entry into her first US Women’s Open.