BETHLEHEM, Pa. (AP) — Not that long ago, Jean Reynolds grew tired of golf. Now, she’s looking forward to the pressure of the back nine in the final round of the U.S. Women’s Open.
How times have changed.
A two-time winner this season on the Futures Tour – and its leading money winner – Reynolds will be playing in the next-to-last group in the final round of the Open following a third-round 3-over 74 left her tied for third with Teresa Lu.
They are four strokes behind leader Cristie Kerr.
Reynolds is an unlikely challenger for the title, considering this is only her second Women’s Open and she’s a member of the LPGA’s developmental tour.
The 24-year-old stepped away from the game for more than a year after her freshman season at the University of Georgia. She admits that the lure of the college life was more attractive than the golf grind.
Now, she craves competition and will likely get all she can handle in Sunday’s final round.
“There’s just different roads to get here,” she said. “I mean you don’t have to spend four years of grueling practice and grueling over putts to end up here.
“I took a year and a half off of competitive golf, and you kind of come out with a desire to win again, and that was kind of, for me, why I’m back into it.
“I just missed competition. But as far as not having that college experience or any of that, I don’t think that’s held me back at all.”
Reynolds has won Futures Tour events in Florida and Indiana and has earned $63,650 in 10 stops. She’s within reach of one of golf’s biggest prizes.
“I just don’t feel like I’ve got anything to lose,” she said. “I’ve hung in there all week, so I’m just going to go out there and see what happens.”
KEEP THE LID ON: All sorts of hats and visors are being sported by players at the Women’s Open.
The advertisements on the golfer’s lids range from ball and club sponsors, to financial institutions to college or pro sports teams.
Amateur Allie White might have the most unique cap at the championship.
The 19-year-old from Lancaster, Ohio, has her father as a caddie and is pushing a product close to their hearts: Ohio Farmer magazine.
White’s father is an editor for the magazine and hatched the idea of promoting the agriculture publication on the caps, with big, bold letters spelling out “Ohio” over smaller-size printed “Magazine.” The 19-year-old White, who plays at North Carolina, was all for the idea.
“It was his idea to get the hats going,” she said. “I was like, all right, lets do it.”
White has an entourage from her hometown in the gallery, and says the following has helped her play in her first Women’s Open.
“My dad was carrying the bag, and they were carrying me,” she said.
White is at 12-over 228 after a 78 in the third round.
MEMORIES: The 2009 Women’s Open will be remembered for a lot of things, such as the headline-stealing news of a faction of key LPGA Tour players calling for commissioner Carolyn Bivens to resign, and a resurgence of American players, who held the top three spots after two rounds.
But this championship also matched a record for the number of withdrawals.
Nine players bowed out of the competition, matching 1972’s total. Five players withdrew on Thursday and four Friday.
Last year’s runner-up Helen Alfredsson (rib injury), 2006 runner-up Pat Hurst (rib injury) Minea Blomqvist of Finland (illness) and Jin Joo Hong of South Korea (no reason given) withdrew Friday. They joined Brandi Burton, Martina Eberl of Germany, and Jee Young Lee, Seon Hwa Lee and Naree Song of South Korea.
SOARING: The USGA shortened the length of a number of holes and was generous with a few pin placements. The result was just one eagles – the third of the championship – on Saturday.
Sun Young Yoo of South Korea had an eagle at the par-4 13th.
Christina Kim and Jennie Lee posted eagles in the second round.