Chella Choi fires low round of Women’s Open

Chella Choi shoots a 64 in the third round of the U.S. Women's Open. www.usga.org. Copyright USGA/Hunter Martin
Chella Choi shoots a 64 in the third round of the U.S. Women’s Open. www.usga.org. Copyright USGA/Hunter Martin

Conditions have been tough in this year’s edition of the U.S. Women’s Open however Chella Choi made things look easy shooting 6-under par 64, the best round thus far.

Choi hit 13 of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 greens on the round.

“I think my shot is always really good, but before tournament I changed my putter so I have confidence,” Choi said.

The success for Choi started with a front-nine 29 which is the lowest nine-hole score in U.S. Women’s Open history. Her 29 in a USGA Championship was topped only by Tom Kite in the 2012 U.S. Senior Open.

From a women’s open perspective, Choi’s 64 is the lowest third-round score in U.S. Women’s Open history and the fourth 64 shot in the championship’s history. The only 63 in Women’s Open history was fired by Helen Alfredsson in 1994.

Choi could have fired a 63, however instead she three-putted the 18th hole from 30 feet which included a 3-foot lip out. That did not undo her nine birdie putts made which is the most in a U.S. Women’s Open Championship round since Lorie Kane made nine in 1999 during her second round.

Choi, who turned professional in 2008, was unaware that she was chasing history on the 18th hole and was in fact only told after the round.

She has two top-10 finishes this week tying for fourth place at both the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open and LOTTE Championship Presented by HERSHEY. Choi entered play missing four cuts in her last six starts.

UPDATE 7:20 p.m.: After three rounds of play, not much has changed. Amy Yang remains in the lead by three over Stacy Lewis.

This is familiar territory for Yang who was tied for the 54-hole lead last year.

“I’ll try to hit one shot at a time and do my best for every shot I hit,” Yang said.

Lewis crept closer to the lead on a couple of occasions, however Yang was able to respond with her steady play. Both shot 1-under par in the third round.

“I didn’t really think like that or anything,” said Yang. “I don’t know, I just focused on my shots and thinking not so much about anything else.”

Lewis had some disappointment with not being able to pull any closer but as the case has been all tournament long, patience is important.

“In a sense it’s frustrating, because you’re page 1 of 3 trying to get closer but you really can’t get any closer,” Lewis said. “But it’s also what you want. I think it’s great golf. I think we both played really well today given the circumstances, and I expect more of it tomorrow.”

Joining them in the top-10 is In Gee Chun [-4], Shiho Oyama [-3], Choi [-2], Michelle Wie [-2], Mi Hyang Lee [-2], Inbee Park [-2], Min Lee [-1], Morgan Pressel [-1] and Jane Park [-1].

Both the eighth and ninth holes proved to be challenges with four total birdies on each hole… Lee Lopez recorded the second eagle of the tournament hitting a hole-in-one on the par-3 sixth hole.

Author: Zac Weiss

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