News & Opinion

2020 U.S. Women’s Open: It’s like old times for Amy Olson

Amy Olson 1st round 2020 U.S. Women's Open
Amy Olson shoots 4-under 67 on Thursday to hold a 1-stroke lead after the 1st round of the 75th U.S. Women’s Open at Champions Golf Club in Houston.

In her 7th LPGA season, Olson takes big step toward 1st victory with 4-under 67 and 1-stroke lead at Champions Golf Club

Amy Olson seemingly has had two lives as a golfer.

As an amateur and a collegian, she won practically everything. As a professional, nothing.

Olson took a big step toward improving her fortunes as a touring pro by shooting 4-under 67 in the first round of the 75th U.S. Women’s Open on Thursday at Champions Golf Club to take a one-stroke lead (scores). Her highlights included an ace with an 8-iron at Cypress Creek’s 139-yard par-3 16th hole, her seventh of the day after starting on the back nine.

“I hit the ball really well off the tee,” said Olson, 28, who is looking for her first victory in seven seasons on the LPGA. “It ended up I gave myself some good chances for birdie, but I really made some putts that I definitely wasn't necessarily thinking birdie on, and that helped. And then obviously the hole-in-one was kind of the highlight of the round. I was pretty excited to be able to do that at the U.S. Open.”

Three players shared second at 3-under 68: Thailand’s Moriya Jutanugarn and South Korea’s A Lim Kim on Jackrabbit and Japan’s Hinako Shibuno on Cypress Creek.

Gerina Piller, who shot 2-under 69 at Jackrabbit, was the only other American under par. Only 23 of the 156 players broke par, and 15 of those subpar rounds were posted on the Jackrabbit course.

Players will swap courses for Friday’s round, which will start 80 minutes earlier because of a forecast of afternoon thunderstorms. Olson has experience in winning a USGA event. She won the 2009 U.S. Girls’ Junior while playing under her maiden name, Amy Anderson. A native North Dakotan, she stayed close to home for college and won an NCAA women’s-record 20 tournaments for North Dakota State.

Winning hasn’t come as easily as a professional. In fact, she has yet to win since joining the LPGA in 2014. In the 2018 Evian Championship, Olson was on the verge of breaking through for her first LPGA title – and at a major championship – but made double bogey on the final hole and lost by one stroke to Angela Stanford. Four months ago, she shot 67 under difficult weather conditions in the first round of the Women's British Open and held a three-stroke lead before fading into a tie for 45th.

Olson has made 12 cuts in 15 starts this season, with two top-10 results, highlighted by a runner-up at the Women’s Australian Open in February.

“Coming out here, I expected to win really early,” Olson said. “It always kind of came easy to me in college. I won the U.S. Junior Amateur just my second time playing the event, so it definitely was easy for me early on.

“It's not easy to win out here. You have to put four really good days together. And so, it has been, I think, a test of my patience. But the biggest thing I've learned is just perspective and what do I consider success. At the end of my life, it's not going to be a number of tournaments that I've won; it's how I live my life.”

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