Park, Webb, Alex share lead at rain-delayed US Open

LANCASTER, Pa. — Jane Park made a birdie and four pars Friday morning, moving into a tie for the lead after the first round of the rain-delayed U.S. Women’s Open.

Park is tied with Karrie Webb and Marina Alex at 4-under 66. Na Yeon Choi, the 2012 U.S. Open winner, and Amy Yang are a stroke back.

Top-ranked Inbee Park returned to complete her round and pulled within a shot of the leaders before a bogey at No. 17 left her two shots behind and in a pack of eight players at 68.

Fifty-five golfers were forced to complete their first rounds starting 6:45 a.m. Friday, hours after play was suspended Thursday evening because of a strong storm that pounded Lancaster Country Club with high winds and heavy rain.

Jane Park shrugged off the delay and early start, pleased with her 1-under run through the last five holes.

“It’s a good way to start the day,” the 2004 U.S. Amateur champ said.

She was at 3 under through 13 holes when play was halted. The 28-year-old American got off to a quick start when play resumed, making a 15-foot downhill putt for birdie at the par-4, 14th to tie for the lead.

She saved par at the 17th by hitting to within two feet from a bunker. But she nearly gave a stroke back at the 437-yard, par-4 uphill 18th.

She hit driver, 3-wood and still couldn’t get her ball close to the hole. She chipped close with her third shot and drained a testy 2-footer for par.

“At 18, I haven’t been able to reach the hole all week,” she said after her approach hit a few paces on the green, only to roll back off the front.

She recovered by hitting her chip close and closing out the par. Then, she shifted her focus quickly to the second round, which she started an hour after finishing the first.

“It’s the luck of the draw,” she said, “People have to deal with it. And whoever can deal with it best should come out pretty well.”

First round co-leaders Webb and Alex weren’t due to tee off in the second round until later Friday.

Webb, a seven-time major champion who won consecutive U.S. Opens in 2000-2001, has struggled this season, posting three top-10 finishes in 14 starts. Her play improved Thursday when she hit 14 fairways and 17 of 18 greens.

“It’s been a test of my patience. I feel like I’ve had some good golf in me,” Webb said.

Alex was an unlikely leader. The second-year LPGA player is competing in her second U.S. Open and first since 2009. She has been working on swing changes and it all seemed to come together Thursday as she birdied three of her last five holes to get to 4 under.

Among the players Joining Inbee Park at 2 under were Morgan Pressel, who reached 4 under before making bogey on two of her last three holes, and China’s Muni He, a 16-year-old amateur playing in her first U.S. Open.

The second round started at 7:15 a.m. Friday.


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