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Monday, July 11, 2016

The Limerick Summary: 2016 US Women’s Open

Winner: Brittany Lang

Around the wider world of golf: Alex Noren won the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open on the ET; Paul Goydos won the DICK'S Sporting Goods Open on the Champions Tour; Rick Lamb won the LECOM Health Challenge on the Tour; Dan McCarthy won the Players Cup on the Mackenzie Tour - PGA TOUR Canada; and Hideto Tanihara got back-to-back victories by winning the Japan PGA Championship Nissin Cupnoodle Cup on the Japan Tour.

Brittany Lang with US Women's Open trophy

Since the PGA Tour wasn't playing this week -- you'll recall that the Greenbrier was cancelled because of the devastating floods in West Virginia -- I considered my options for the Limerick Summary this week. And although the Scottish Open was tempting, the ladies were playing their biggest major. How could I ignore that, even if it looked to be an open-and-shut case of 'Lydia wins again'?

But it wasn't the Lydia Ko Show after all. In fact, it wasn't the show anybody expected when they looked at the US Women's Open leaderboard before the final round. CordeValle bared its teeth in a way that few expected, with winds gusting over 30mph, and players struggled just to touch the score that led after the first round!

Lydia Ko did manage the feat briefly before a double-bogey at the ninth pretty much dashed her hopes for a third major. She did post her best-ever finish in a US Women's Open with a T3, but she'll probably think about that questionable shot from the rough for a while. Amy Yang managed another Top5 in this event, and Sung Hyun Park proved that even the longest of hitters can struggle against a USGA setup.

Instead, Brittany Lang -- no short hitter herself -- managed a 1-under round to maintain her place at the top while Anna Nordqvist tore a path through the field with an unbelievable round of 5-under. The two friends went to a three-hole playoff where Anna unknowingly grounded her 5-iron in a bunker on her approach to 17. Unlike the men's US Open, there was no question that a rule had been broken.

However, the USGA could have handled it a bit better. In hindsight, the playoff should have been halted momentarily in the 18th fairway while the decision was made. Instead, Anna was allowed to play her third shot without knowledge of her 2-stroke penalty while Brittany DID know before her third. While this hasn't been a banner year for the USGA on these decisions, at least we know Anna was unlikely to make up two shots after the decision was made, regardless of whether she knew before or after her third shot, so the result was most likely unaffected. (This is, btw, also Anna's best finish in this major, and in any major since she won the KPMG Women's PGA back in 2009.)
One other quick note: For those of you who are interested, Gerina Piller's T8 finish was good enough after all. She moves up to #15 in the Rolex Rankings this week and thus becomes the third woman on the US Olympic golf team.
Since Brittany is the only Duke University alumni to win on the LPGA (Duke is located in Durham NC, so of course I'd know that), this win also makes her the only LPGA major winner from Duke. And, appropriately enough, it makes her the only Dukie on the LPGA to merit her own Limerick Summary:
It’s a bittersweet victory for Lang.
They did not know, before Anna swang,
There were penalty shots—
Although, knowing or not,
Lang would likely have won, just the same.
The photo came from this photo page at


  1. Not the only rules controversy at CordeValle