Xiyu Janet Lin soaks up Pebble Beach views and shares lead with Hyo Joo Kim at US Women’s Open


PEBBLE BEACH, California—Pebble Beach was everything the best women golfers in the world imagined for the first US Women’s Open with its raw beauty, marine layer and chill in the air.

For some of them, it was a sheer beast.

Xiyu Janet Lin and Hyo Joo Kim could soak up the scenery, each of them with a 4-under 68 on Thursday to share the lead after one round of a historic week on one of the most famous golf courses in America.

“We’re part of the history. It’s really cool,” Lin said. “I kind of told myself no matter what, this is going to be a memorable week.”

It was a forgettable start for Jin Young Ko, whose 79 was her worst US Women’s Open score by four shots. And she had company. The top four players in the women’s world ranking combined to go 22-over par with Nelly Korda and Lydia Ko at 76 and Lilia Vu at 79.

Rose Zhang, the 20-year-old Stanford sensation who won in her pro debut last month, wasted a good start with a double bogey on the eighth hole that slowed her momentum. She played the final 10 holes in 2 over for a 74.

“I felt like the game in general was pretty solid. It was just the mishap on 8 that kind of turned my entire round a little bit,” Zhang said.

She didn’t make a birdie the rest of the way, and had to chip on her last four holes — one of them from the wrong side of the green on the par-3 17th just as Gary Woodland did in 2019 when he won the US Open. She nearly holed it, a perfectly clipped wedge she had never tried in competition.

“Always something new,” Zhang said with a laugh.

Lin began her round on the tough par-4 10th hole, and she saved par on four of her opening five holes before holing an 8-foot birdie putt on the 15th. The Chinese player’s lone bogey came at the end when she failed to get up-and-down from short of a bunker on No. 9.

“At the beginning, putting definitely save me,” said Lin, who took only 25 putts and was leading the field in the key putting statistic. “Making those short putts really kind of boosted my confidence, making me feel more comfortable to attack when I needed to.”

Kim, whose lone major was the Evian Championship in 2014, was 4 under through eight holes until her lone bogey at No. 9. She made only one birdie the rest of the day, holing a 20-footer on the 17th that allowed her to catch Lin.

She was happy with her score and the location.

“I think I can brag about this, my opportunity to play at Pebble Beach,” Kim said.

Irish amateur Aine Donegan didn’t get her clubs until Tuesday — only to find her driver damaged — and had a 69 that included a wedge she holed out from 96 yards on the 15th. She was in a large group one shot behind that include the more notable Irish player, Leona Maguire, who birdied the 18th.

Maguire is coming off a tough loss two weeks ago in the Women’s PGA Championship at Baltusrol when she lost the 54-hole lead with a 74.

“I think when you’ve got another major coming up as quick as this was and at somewhere like Pebble, I think your focus shifts pretty quickly,” Maguire said. “Looking forward to another opportunity this week, hopefully.”

This has been among the most anticipated events of the year for women’s golf because of the location. Pebble Beach is the most iconic of US Open venues, and the most recognizable with its seaside views on half of the holes.

Lin said she got the best advice from the person working on her clubs.

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