It’s a big day for the Swifties, so we felt like they deserved a headline. If Evermore stinks, we will redact this intro.

Open for business

The U.S. Women’s Open is off and running at Champions Golf Club. Players competed on both the Cypress Creek and Jackrabbit courses on Thursday and will do so in the second round as well. American Amy Olson leads after a 67 that included a hole-in-one on the par-3 16th hole. Leaderboard

We have to first applaud the USGA and Champions Golf Club for the flexibility and logistical maneuvering necessary to get all 156 players around before night fell. Houston got about 11 hours of daylight on Thursday, more than four hours less than would have been available on the originally scheduled May date. Using both courses on the Champions property—a first in the history of the tournament—was the only way for everyone to play 18 holes. Aside from that egregious driving range fence, things are going quite smoothly at the U.S. Women’s Open.

First-round notes

Different strokes – Of the 36 players to shoot even or better on Thursday, just 13 did so on Cypress Creek. Amy Olson (first) and Hinako Shibuno (T-2) both achieved the feat, so if scoring trends continue, they could be set up well for the weekend.

Smiley face – Speaking of Hinako Shibuno, the 2019 Women’s British Open champion hasn’t fared better than T-51 in a major championship since winning in her first attempt last year. “Smiling Cinderella” is making her debut at the U.S. Women’s Open.

Catnip for journos – Among those at T-5 are 2020 Women’s British Open champion Sophia Popov, 19-year-old Yuka Saso, veteran Gerina Piller, and Swedish amateur Linn Grant. To put it mildly, this is a storyline-rich section of the leaderboard.

Am squad – Along with Linn Grant, five other amateurs—Pauline Roussin-Bouchard (T-12), Amelia Garvey (T-12), Maja Stark (T-12), Kaitlyn Papp (T-24), and Gabriela Ruffels (T-24)—are currently in the top 25.

Tardy slip – Jing Yan showed up late to her Thursday tee time, incurring a two-stroke penalty. She opened with a 74 and still has a chance to make the cut.

That’s why they play the game – Sung Hyun Park (-1) and Inbee Park (E) are the only world top-10 players to shoot even or better on Thursday. No. 1 Jin Young Ko struggled to gain momentum en route to a 74 on Cypress Creek.

Wonder woman – Maria Fassi has the Wonder Woman logo on her bag, but Cristie Kerr proved to be the real superhero on Thursday. Kerr suffered three fractured ribs in a freak golf cart accident last weekend but decided to tough it out this week. The ’07 U.S. Women’s Open champion opened with a 71 on the Cypress Creek course.

Quick Hooks

Victor Perez shot 67 on Thursday to grab the 18-hole lead at the DP World Tour Championship on the European Tour. Perez entered the season-ending event ranked sixth in the Race to Dubai, well within striking distance of the year-long trophy. Race to Dubai leader Patrick Reed lurks three shots behind. Leaderboard

The PGA Tour sent a memo to players this week outlining plans for the first seven weeks of 2021. Local governments are involved in all conversations regarding spectators, and Covid-19 guidelines will be monitored throughout the season. Full Story from Brian Wacker

The Latest from The Fried Egg

Champion – The last USGA event held at Champions Golf Club was the 2017 U.S. Women’s Amateur, won by Kelsey Chugg. Her first-round score? 85. Will Knights tells the story of this match-play legend from Utah.

Shotgun Start: Houston happenings and QBE Shootout odd couples

This Friday episode begins with a certain glee about the answer on Final Jeopardy and a personal anecdote about Andy watching Jeopardy with his Father-in-Law. Then they dive into the final major championship of the year. There’s a prediction about first-round leader Amy Olson, praise over the low-trajectory style, puzzlement over a late-arrival for a tee time, and a heated debate over parked cars on the golf course. There’s also a discussion about whether Texas has any personal injury lawyers willing to take on Cristie Kerr’s golf cart accident case. The annual QBE Shootout preview is once again an incredulous discussion over how some of these two-man teams came to be. News closes out with a fun story about the Ryder Cup at Medinah after the announcement that the Pres Cup is coming there soon. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

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