Ingrid Lindblad breaks 18-hole amateur record at 2022 U.S. Women’s Open (video)

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Swedish amateur Ingrid Lindblad kicked off the 2022 U.S. Women’s Open by writing a new line in the history books, opening with a 6-under 65 Thursday at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club to record the lowest round ever by an amateur in the event.

What’s more, the LSU rising senior, who recently finished third individually at the NCAA women’s golf championship, accomplished the feat while playing a dream threesome alongside fellow Swede and three-time U.S. Open champion Annika Sorenstam and 2011 U.S. Women’s Open champion So Yeon Ryu of South Korea. As an added bonus, Lindblad also has countrywoman and five-time LPGA winner Sophie Gustafson on her bag for the week.

“When I saw that I’m playing with (Annika), I was like in shock,” said Lindblad, who won the AJGA’s Annika Invitational in 2019. “I was like, ‘This cannot be true.’ Then on the first tee box, I get her scorecard, and I’m like, ‘I have Annika’s scorecard in my hands.’ But it was really cool. We had fun out there. She fist-pumped me on a few birdies, and it was fun.”


Best finish by an amateur at the U.S. Women’s Open:

  • 1st: Catherine Lacoste, Virginia Hot Springs G. & T.C. (Cascades Course), Hot Springs, Va., 1967
  • 2nd: Betsy Rawls, Rolling Hills C.C., Wichita, Kansas, 1950
  • 2nd: Barbara McIntire, Northland C.C., Duluth, Minn., 1956 (lost in playoff)
  • 2nd: Jenny Chuasiriporn, Blackwolf Run G.C., Kohler, Wis., 1998 (lost in playoff)
  • 2nd: Hye-Jin Choi, Trump National G.C. (Old Course), Bedminster, N.J., 2017
  • T-2: Polly Riley, Starmount Forest C.C., Greensboro, N.C., 1947
  • T-2: Sally Sessions, Starmount Forest C.C., Greensboro, N.C., 1947
  • T-2: Nancy Lopez, Atlantic City C.C., Northfield, N.J., 1975
  • T-2: Brittany Lang, Cherry Hills C.C., Cherry Hills Village, Colo., 2005
  • T-2: Morgan Pressel, Cherry Hills C.C., Cherry Hills Village, Colo., 2005

Lindblad made seven birdies, in fact, rebounding from a bogey on her first hole – the par-5 10th – with birdies at Nos. 12 and 13 to make the turn at one under. She picked up the pace on her back nine, reeling off three straight birdies on Nos. 1-3 and adding two more at Nos. 8 and 9 to take a two-stroke lead over the field.

Regarding her dazzling play, Lindblad noted Thursday’s round was a bit of a turnaround following the collegiate postseason, where she captured her second SEC title and SEC Player of the Year honors for the second time: “I played really good at SECs, and then at nationals I didn’t really get anything to drop,” she said. “I hit it good, but I didn’t make any putts. I feel like that was the difference from one or two weeks ago to today. I just had fun out there.”

“She’s really impressive,” said Sorenstam, who first met Lindblad at her namesake event in 2019. “I think people see her as a long hitter, but I’m sure you saw her today, some of those chip shots she hit, especially here on 18, that was not an easy one. She just kind of stood there, really good touch, and she putted beautifully today, good speed. I was really impressed.”

Lindblad’s 65 also tied the lowest round in a USWO at Pine Needles, which has hosted three previous championships (1996, 2001, 2007), matching two-time USWO champion Karrie Webb’s 65 in the second round, in 2001.

As one of 31 amateurs in the 156-player field this week, Lindblad takes aim at a 55-year-old record dating back to 1967 when Catherine Lacoste, daughter of French tennis player Rene Lacoste and 1927 British Ladies Amateur champion Simone Thion de la Chaume, became the only amateur to win the U.S. Women’s Open. Seven other amateurs – most recently Hye-Jin Choi in 2017 – have finished as runner(s)-up.

Whether she has the chops to pull it off remains to be seen, but Thursday’s round was no “out of left field” performance for Lindblad, who’s No. 2 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking and been a member of the Swedish National Team since 2017. Last year as a junior, she won five collegiate titles – including three in a row in the spring – and she’s won nine overall. In April, she made her second appearance at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, where she carded a 4-under 68 on the final day to finish one stroke back of winner Anna Davis. Also on her resume is the 2018 German Girls Open title, the 2021 European Ladies Amateur Championship and two wins on the professional Nordic Golf Tour in 2020.


Lowest 18-hole score by an amateur at the U.S. Women’s Open:

  • 65, Ingrid Lindblad, first round, Pine Needles L. & G.C., Southern Pines, N.C., 2022
  • 66, Carol Semple Thompson, first round, Indianwood G. & C.C. (Old Course), Lake Orion, Mich., 1994
  • 66, Brittany Lincicome, first round, Orchards G.C., South Hadley, Mass., 2004
  • 66, Gina Kim, first round, C.C. of Charleston (S.C.), 2019
  • 67, Judy Bell, third round, San Diego (Calif.) C.C., 1967
  • 67, Grace Park, second round, Old Waverly G.C., West Point, Miss., 1999
  • 67, Megha Ganne, first round, The Olympic Club (Lake Course), San Francisco, Calif., 2021
  • 68, Cynthia Hill, first round, C.C. of Rochester (N.Y.), 1973
  • 68, Marisa Baena, third round, Pine Needles L. & G.C., Southern Pines, N.C., 1996
  • 68, Christina Baena, second round, Old Waverly G.C., West Point, Miss., 1999
  • 68, Leigh Anne Hardin, second round, Pumpkin Ridge G.C. (Witch Hollow Course), North Plains, Ore., 2003
  • 68, Aree Song, third round, Pumpkin Ridge G.C. (Witch Hollow Course), North Plains, Ore., 2003
  • 68, Muni He, first round, Lancaster (Pa.) C.C., 2015
  • 68, Kaitlyn Papp, second round, Champions G.C. (Cypress Creek Course), Houston, Texas, 2020

This week marks Lindblad’s fourth start in a major championship, after finishing T-3 at the 2020 U.S. Women’s Open and missing cuts in the Women’s British Open in 2019 and 2021. She’ll compete against a professional field again later this summer as a sponsor exemption at the 2022 Volvo Car Scandinavian Mixed, hosted jointly by the European Tour and Ladies European Tour and held at Sweden’s Halmstad Golf Club, a former Solheim Cup venue in her hometown.

But Lindblad, a three-time Annika Award finalist (presented annually to the top female U.S. collegiate golfer) is in no hurry to join the professional ranks and plans to rejoin her LSU teammates in the fall for her senior season. She’s majoring in sports administration, and when she’s not studying or working on her her game, she likes to work on puzzles of at least 1,000 pieces and watch TV.

“When you say it, yeah, (the $10 million purse) – it would have been fun to win a little bit of money,” said Lindblad, who’s called “Iggy” by her friends in the U.S., “but I think I’m going to stay in college for a little bit more.”

How to watch the 2022 U.S. Women’s Open:

The 77th U.S. Women’s Open at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club continues through Sunday, June 5, with complete coverage on NBC Sports. Golf Channel also will air “Live from the U.S. Women’s Open,” featuring live pre- and post-event coverage, daily through Sunday.

Thursday: 1-3 p.m. on Peacock; 3-8 p.m. on USA.
Friday: 1-3 p.m. on Peacock; 3-8 p.m. on USA.
Saturday: 12-1 p.m. on Peacock; 1-3 on USA; 3-6 on NBC.
Sunday: 1-3 on USA; 3-7 on NBC.

Justine Wong-Orantes’ atypical path to becoming one of the best liberos in the world

Justine Wong-Orantes hits the ball in the women's semi-final volleyball match between USA and Serbia during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
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It’s been 20 years since the same nation held both the Olympic and world volleyball titles at the same time, but libero Justine Wong-Orantes is looking to help lead Team USA accomplish that very feat at the 2022 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championships in the Netherlands and Poland. Competition began on Friday and the U.S. is currently 2-0 after group play wins against Kazakhstan and Canada.

“We’re trying to win, for sure,” Wong-Orantes told On Her Turf. “I think, especially with the new turn of the program and the new year of the quad, we just have a really nice blend of veterans and also newcomers on the team.”

The 14-woman roster for Team USA, which is ranked No. 1 in the world and won its first Olympic title last summer, features six players from that gold-medal-winning team. And while Wong-Orantes is among the 2021 U.S. Olympic team veterans, she’s still a relative newcomer to international play.

The Southern California native enjoyed a notable junior career – she was 12 when she became the youngest female to ever earn an AAA rating in beach volleyball – and was a standout collegian at Nebraska, where she was a member of the 2015 NCAA championship team. But Wong-Orantes followed a different path upon graduation, initially choosing not to go overseas to play professionally.

While she was first selected for the U.S. national team in 2016 and played a handful of international tournaments in the following years, it wasn’t until she started playing professionally in Germany in 2019 that she saw the potential to elevate her position on the roster. In particular, the pandemic-delayed Tokyo Olympics gave her an additional year of overseas experience, which she calls “a blessing in disguise.”

“I just felt like I was still in that developmental stage,” she said. “And a whole year postponement allowed me to go overseas and really get all the touches, all the repetitions, and just kind of expose myself to international volleyball another year. So I was, in hindsight, pretty thankful for that COVID season because I got an extra year under my belt, and I think that just gave me a ton of confidence.”

Ahead of the Olympics, Wong-Orantes earned “best libero” honors at the 2021 FIVB Volleyball National League in Rimini, Italy, which helped secure her spot on the Olympic roster. In Tokyo, she followed up with another standout performance and was named best libero of the Olympic tournament.

As to how the Wong-Orantes transformed into one of the world’s top liberos, she points to her background as a beach volleyball player. She began competing at age 8, and her first partner was Sara Hughes, a star on the AVP Pro Tour who also won two NCAA titles with USC.

“I think having that background and just the court awareness that beach volleyball forces you to have allowed me to really have a good read on the game,” said Wong-Orantes. “I think that’s what makes a great libero is just reading and always being reactive towards the ball.”

Wong-Orantes also credits the assistance of mental coach Sue Enquist, a former UCLA softball coach and U.S. national team coach, who now helps teams work on their culture and relationships. Enquist began working with the U.S. volleyball team during the pandemic and has continued in her role ever since.

“We just worked on a lot of stuff within ourselves, within our program, how to communicate with each other off the court, and I think that honestly propelled us into such a high, high level with how we worked with each other, and then that transferred onto the court,” explained Wong-Orantes, who noted the team has Enquist on speed dial while at the World Championship. “I really commend Sue. I just really give a lot of praise to her because I think our culture was never bad, but I think [she] just transformed into a different level.”

2022-09-26 - FIVB Volleyball Womens World Championship 2022 - Day 4
ARNHEM, NETHERLANDS – Justine Wong-Orantes (far right) poses for a photo with her U.S. teammates after defeating Canada at the 2022 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship on September 26, 2022. (Photo by Rene Nijhuis/Orange Pictures/BSR Agency/Getty Images)

Wong-Orantes said she and her U.S. teammates are on their toes for the world championships, which features twice as many teams (24) as the Olympics and a “more grueling” format.

“It’s going to be a long tournament, and I think we’re really going to need all 14 of us that are here. I’m pretty certain that, at any given moment, someone’s going to be called on and someone’s going to need to step up in big moments.”

2022 Ascendant LPGA: How to watch, who’s playing in Texas’s annual signature event

Atthaya Thitikul of Thailand hits her second shot on the 16th hole during the final round of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship.
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The LPGA make its annual stop in The Colony, Texas, this week for the 10th edition of the Ascendant LPGA benefiting Volunteers of America, where Thailand’s 19-year-old rookie Atthaya Thitikul comes in hot off her second career win and second playoff victory this season at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship.

Leading the 132-player field at Old American Golf Club, located at Golf Clubs at The Tribute, are Texas residents and past champions Cheyenne Knight and Angela Stanford. They’ll compete for the $1.7 million prize purse alongside major champions Nelly KordaLydia Ko and Brooke Henderson. Last year’s Ascendant LPGA champion, world No. 1 Jin Young Ko, will not be defending her title after announcing earlier this month she would be missing several weeks due to a nagging wrist injury.

This past weekend in Arkansas, Thitikul took the lead with a 10-under 61 in the second round and shot 68 in the final round to finish regulation tied with Danielle Kang at 17-under 196. Thitikul, who won the JTBC Classic in March in a two-hole playoff vs. Nanna Koerstz Madsen, drained an 8-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole to secure the win over Kang.


How to watch the 2022 Ascendant LPGA 

Coverage of the 2022 Ascendant LPGA from Old American Golf Club in The Colony, Texas, can be found on Golf Channel, with streaming options available any time on any mobile device and online through NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

  • Thursday, Sept. 29: 12:30-3:30 p.m. ET, Golf Channel
  • Friday, Sept. 30: 12:30-3:30 p.m. ET, Golf Channel
  • Saturday, Oct. 1: 1-4 p.m. ET, Golf Channel
  • Sunday, Oct. 2: 1-4 p.m. ET, Golf Channel

Who’s playing in the 2022 Ascendant LPGA

Six of the top 10 players in the Rolex World Rankings are among the field in Texas, including:

  • No. 2 Nelly Korda
  • No. 4 Lydia Ko
  • No. 5 Atthaya Thitikul
  • No. 6 Brooke Henderson
  • No. 7 Lexi Thompson
  • No. 10 Nasa Hataoka

A number of local Texans also are in the tournament, headlined by past champions, Angela Stanford (2020) and Cheyenne Knight (2019), and two junior champions of the Volunteers of America Classic Girls Championship, who are playing on a sponsor exemption: Yunxuan (Michelle) Zhang (2022), a freshman at SMU, and Avery Zweig (2021), a high school sophomore from McKinney, Texas.


Past five champions of The Ascendant LPGA

YEAR WINNER SCORE MARGIN RUNNERUP
2021 Jin Young Ko (South Korea) 16-under 268 1 stroke Matilda Castren
2020 Angela Stanford (USA) 7-under 277 2 strokes So Yeon Ryu, Inbee Park, Yealimi Noh
2019 Cheyenne Knight (USA) 18-under 266 2 strokes Brittany Altomare, Jaye Marie Green
2018 Sung Hyun Park (South Korea) 11-under 131 1 stroke Lindy Duncan
2017 Haru Nomura (Japan) 3-under 281 Playoff Christie Kerr

Last time at The Ascendant LPGA

South Korea’s Jin Young Ko carded a final-round 69 to maintain her 54-hole lead at Old American Golf Club and held on for a one stroke win at the 2021 Volunteers of America Classic, her eighth career LPGA tour title. Ko finished regulation at 16-under 268, edging Finland’s Matilda Castren by one stroke.

It kicked off a five-win season for Ko, who had just lost her No. 1 ranking to Nelly Korda the week prior after holding the top spot for 100 straight weeks. She regained the No. 1 ranking back in October 2021, after earning her fourth win in seven starts at the BMW Ladies Championship.


More about Old American Golf Club

Opened in 2010, the Old American Golf Club is one of two clubs at The Tribute, a lakefront resort community on Lewisville Lake in The Colony, Texas. Designed by Tripp Davis and 12-time PGA Tour winner Justin Leonard, Old American plays as a Par 71 and stretches to 6,475 yards on the tournament scorecard.