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.
The lowest round EVER by an amateur in the #USWomensOpen now belongs to @iingridlindblad. She's 2 clear of the field after a 6-under 65. pic.twitter.com/BUj7Yb3VAi
— U.S. Women's Open (USGA) (@uswomensopen) June 2, 2022
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.