Lexi Thompson, Rose Zhang follow Nelly Korda into dreaded U.S. Women’s Open abyss

Lancaster Country Club challenged the entire U.S. Women’s Open field on Thursday, producing a scoring average of 75.21, more than five shots over par.

As a result, only four players carded under-par rounds on day one, led by Yuka Saso, who shot a 2-under 68.

But some of the most notable LPGA players struggled and carded eye-popping scores.

World No. 1 Nelly Korda shot a 10-over 80. She recorded a shocking 10 on the 12th, the most challenging hole during the first round. Players averaged 3.8 strokes on this 161-yard par-3, which yielded only 10 birdies. Meanwhile, the 12th produced 45 double bogeys or worse, which included Korda.

The 12th clearly rattled the top-ranked player, but she managed to make three birdies and three bogeys on her back nine. Yet, she still never quite got it together.

She was not the only superstar to suffer from the carnage, however.

Lexi Thompson and Rose Zhang also struggled. Zhang carded a 9-over 79, while Thompson signed for an 8-over 78.

Thompson hit just 7-of-14 fairways and 10-of-18 greens. She also lost 2.56 shots in strokes gained around the greens, which ranked 147th out of 156 women.

Yet, she birdied the 12, which was one of her only bright moments. She would make just one birdie, adding six bogeys and a triple.

It was not her day on the golf course, and nothing seemed to go right for her.

The same could be said for Zhang, the young phenom who headed into this event fresh off a win at the Cognizant Founder’s Cup.

U.S. Women’s Open, Rose Zhang, Lexi Thompson, Nelly Korda

Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Zhang struggled with her flat stick. She ranked 144th in the field in strokes gained putting, losing 2.7 shots. To make matters worse, the 21-year-old only hit 8-of-18 greens in regulation and 7-of-14 fairways.

Granted, she made par on the most challenging hole, but the 2-time LPGA winner only recorded one birdie during her round. Zhang tallied seven bogeys and even made a double-bogey on the par-5 7th.

Korda, Thompson, and Zhang have all but eliminated themselves from contention at the U.S. Women’s Open. This track made the best players struggle, which also happened last year at Pebble Beach. Hopefully, they will see improvement during Friday’s round and make the weekend.

Savannah Leigh Richardson is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. For more golf coverage, be sure to follow us @_PlayingThrough on all major social platforms. You can also follow her on Twitter @SportsGirlSL and Instagram @savannah_leigh_sports.

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