Since Se Ri Pak won the 1998 U.S. Women’s Open and inspired a generation of young girls to take up the game of golf in South Korea, women’s golf has been dominated by those who followed in her footsteps. That wave of young girls arrived on the world stage with Inbee Park’s 2008 U.S. Women’s Open victory and since then only three Americans have won their national championship.
Can the U.S. players make it four Sunday? On Thursday, there was a sea of red, white and blue at the top of the leaderboard at the U.S. Women’s Open at Champions Golf Club in Houston. At one point, there were four Americans atop the leaderboard, and at day’s end it was North Dakota’s Amy Olson holding the solo lead.
Olson started on the back nine at the Cypress Creek Course on Thursday. The highlight of her round came at the par-3 16th hole, where she made a hole-in-one with an 8-iron from 141 yards. The ace became a springboard for Olson who was 1 over par before reaching the par 3. The hole-in-one was Olson’s second ace in competition and fifth of her career.
During the round, Olson played her way into a group of six players who were at one point tied for lead, but she broke out of the pack with two birdies on her inward nine to take the outright lead. She carded a 4-under 67.
“Obviously, the hole-in-one was kind of the highlight of the round. I was pretty excited to be able to do that at the U.S. [Women’s] Open,” Olson said Thursday. “I think it is important to enjoy the little things and the moments along the way and not kind of get ahead of yourself, so I just enjoyed the moment.”