02 Jun 2021 | Professional golf |

How to watch a brutal test

by Mark Hayes

Sarah Kemp arrives at Olympic Club arguably in career-best form.
Sarah Kemp arrives at Olympic Club arguably in career-best form.

It’s a great indicator of the growing significance of women’s golf globally that the famous Olympic Club will this week host its first US Women’s Open.

The San Francisco club has been the site of five men’s US Opens, two US PGA Tour Championships, three men’s US Amateur titles and other USGA events.

But never have the cream of the women’s game been put to what has historically been one of the fiercest major championship challenges the sport offers.

Only four men have ever played 72 holes in red numbers in major mode, the winners and runners-up in 1966 and 1987.

So the reaction of American LPGA Tour veteran Angela Stanford, about to compete in her 22nd national championship, should come as no surprise.

“Every time I come to an Open, I try to find the one thing that they are trying to ‘get’ you on,” the 2018 Evian champ said.

“It’s everything here.”

Stanford half joked about what shapes as extremely penal rough.

“I told the USGA guys that somebody lost the key to the lawnmower. Holy cow!” she said.

Just as most would want it to be, the rough is set up largely the same as for a men’s major.

So it should be fascinating to see if that puts a premium on accuracy off the tee this week, because Stanford said she’d be unlikely to get anything more straight-faced than a 7-iron on any wayward drive.

The Australian contingent is not as large as in some recent years, but the five in the field – Minjee Lee, Hannah Green, Sarah Kemp, Sarah Jane Smith and rising amateur Emily Mahar – all arrive in San Francisco in good form.

Of additional note this week on the club’s par-71 Lake Course is that two-tee starts will use holes one and nine, rather than one and 10 as on most courses. Aussie tee times (AEST, Friday) for the first round:

Hole 9: 12:11amSarah Jane Smith (QLD), Kim Metraux (SWI), Gurleen Kaur (USA, am) 12:55am – Ariya Jutanugarn (THA), Amy Olson (USA), Minjee Lee (WA) 1:17am – Danielle Kang (USA), Jin Young Ko (KOR), Hannah Green (WA)

Hole 1: 5:30am – Ssu Chia Cheng (TPE), Elizabeth Szokol (USA), Emily Mahar (QLD, am) 6:03am – Alison Lee (USA), Aneka Seumanutafa (USA, am), Sarah Kemp (NSW) Where to watch (AEST): Round 1: Friday, 7:30am, Fox Sports Channel 505 Round 2: Saturday, 7am, Fox Sports Channel 505 Round 3: Sunday, 4am, Fox Sports Channel 505 Round 4: Monday, 3am, Fox Sports Channel 505 Plus on demand at Kayo Sports

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