For a second time in three days, the constant threat of thunderstorms has forced USGA officials to move up tee times for Sunday’s conclusion of the 75th U.S. Women’s Open Championship.
On Saturday afternoon, the USGA announced that Sunday’s final round at Champions Golf Club in Houston would begin at 8:45 a.m. ET.
Tee times were also moved up by tournament officials Friday, and all play was completed right before a lightning show and heavy rains started. Players will start from both the first and 10th tees at the Cypress Creek Course.
According to The Weather Channel, there is an 80% chance of rain beginning around 10 a.m. ET, with thunderstorms through the afternoon and evening. Winds are expected to pick up and gust upwards of 20 mph, which could affect morning play.
To accommodate the new schedule, broadcast coverage was also adjusted. Golf Channel will begin the final-round broadcast at 10 a.m. ET, with NBC Sports picking up coverage at 2 p.m. ET. If the round isn’t finished Sunday, action will likely resume Monday with cloudless skies and colder temperatures predicted.
Japanese Rookie Shibuno Holds Narrow Lead
Twenty-two-year-old rookie Hinako Shibuno of Japan leads the field. Shibuno slipped to +175 on DrafKings’ board after she shot a three-over 74 to finish -4 through Saturday and maintain a one-stroke lead after a challenging round.
“I…was very nervous,” Shibuno said Saturday. “I made a mistake at the very beginning, and because I’m not doing well today, my premise wasn’t good today, so all the holes seem to be very difficult for me.”
Last summer, Shibuno won the AIG Women’s British Open at Woburn by one stroke, which earned her an exemption to the 2020 U.S. Women’s Open. After shooting a 68 on Cypress Creek Thursday, Shibuno carded a 4-under 67 on the Jackrabbit Course on Friday, giving her a three-shot lead.
Four Americans in the Hunt
First-round leader Amy Olson (+335) made up ground Saturday with a pair of birdies on the last two holes to finish even on the day and second overall at -3. Thailand’s Moriya Jutanugarn (+800) and South Korea’s Young Kim (+800) are tied for third at -1 heading into Sunday’s final round.
“Because everything is softer and to hit long irons into these greens and a lot of pin positions, you can’t really be aggressive,” Jutanugarn said after her round Saturday. “Getting up and down around this golf course is not easy.”
Long odds to win on Sunday include University of Texas All-American Kaitlyn Papp (+6600), who is even after three rounds and tied for fifth with Americans Megan Khang (+2000) and Yealimi Noh (+1600) along with New Zealander Lydia Ko (+1100).