After a whirlwind second round at the U.S. Women’s Open, here’s a look into what I saw and heard from a full day on the grounds at Lancaster Country Club.


When Asterisk Talley teed off at 6:56 on Friday morning, she had the benefit of calmer winds and a quiet course as fans trickled onto the grounds. She went about her business like a seasoned professional, her braces the only clue that she might be new to U.S. Women’s Open setups. From a penetrating ball flight off the tee to perfectly paced putts, Talley easily booked her ticket for the weekend. Making the cut was her main goal coming into this week, along with hopes for low amateur honors if she got to play the weekend. That’s certainly within her reach now, and there’s the possibility of much more for the 15-year-old. Her 1-over 71 has her sitting T-6 with a late afternoon tee time on Saturday at Lancaster.


As In Gee Chun finished her round, a yell of “We love you, In Gee!” rang out from the sizable crowd. It may be goodbye for now, as Chun’s rounds of 75 and 77 kept her well below the cutline, but it’s not goodbye forever. Chun has made a lasting impression on the community here through her foundation. The relationship goes both ways, with Chun considering Lancaster a second home. Fans will miss seeing her this weekend, but the story of In Gee and Lancaster most certainly didn’t end today. 

Two groups later, it was time for Lexi Thompson’s sendoff. Similar cheers of adoration flowed from the masses, including someone begging her to pull a Tom Brady and not retire. As she’s done her entire career, Lexi made time for autographs before heading to scoring. It might be the last time she tees it up at the tournament where it all started for her, and that realization seemed to sink in during her post-round interview.

Struggling with her emotions, Lexi commented on how blessed she’s felt to share this week with her family and how much she’ll enjoy the balance that her life will have once she steps away.

The Changes are Working

Just this year, Minjee Lee has changed her ball and her wedge setup multiple times. And in case all of that wasn’t enough to get used to, she also has a new 4-iron in the bag. Minjee said she “went cold turkey and changed everything all at once”, adding that it was “an adjustment period” getting used to all the changes. It’s all clicked this week, as she has gained over three strokes on the field via approach play through the first two rounds. Strong iron play combined with her high ball flight make Minjee a great fit for Lancaster’s uphill approaches, which demand an aerial attack.

A Most Unfortunate MC

For a stretch of three holes, the version of Nelly Korda we’ve seen all year made an appearance. She positioned herself perfectly on each of the 6th, 7th, and 8th holes, capitalizing with her putter to make three straight birdies and briefly step onto the projected cut line. One hole later, Thursday Nelly returned. A misjudged approach went long, leaving her a slippery up-and-down. Groaning fans feared the worst when the par putt missed, as it meant Nelly would have to play the back nine under par to make the weekend. Doing so would require improving eleven shots from Thursday over that same stretch of holes. With her ball in air on 12, fate seemed to smile down on Lancaster. Nelly was short instead of long on her second go-round, but her ball ended up just far enough left to find long grass and stay dry.

Surely, Nelly would ride that good fortune and sneak into the weekend, right? Stunningly, disappointingly, unfortunately: no. For the first time since last June, Nelly Korda will not play the weekend. Saturday and Sunday will be the biggest platform women’s golf will get for the entire season, and the face of the sport will be over a thousand miles away. What a shame.