PINEHURST, N.C. — Comparisons were inevitable by hosting the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open on the game golf course in consecutive weeks.
Only these had nothing to do with numbers.
Stacy Lewis found comfort in comparisons with U.S. Open champion Martin Kaymer. The No. 1 player in women’s golf studied Pinehurst No. 2 on her own a few weeks ago, formulated an idea how to play the golf course, and then watched Kaymer follow the script she had in her head and win by eight shots.
Just like Kaymer, she opened Thursday without a bogey on her card, a 3-under 67 for a one-shot lead over Michelle Wie.
“It was cool to see the plan I had laid out in my head. He was kind of doing the same thing,” Lewis said. “So it was nice coming into the week knowing that my plan was going to work on this golf course. ... If you’re hitting the ball well enough, you can definitely run away with it. At the same time, you have to know par is a good number and keep grinding away.”
STEELE SHOOTS 62 TO TAKE LEAD: In Cromwell, Conn., Brendan Steele shot an 8-under 62 on Thursday morning and it held up for a one-shot lead after the first round of the Travelers Championship.
The 31-year-old Californian started his round with an eagle, holing a 129-yard wedge shot in the rain. He went on to birdie six of the next 12 holes at TPC River Highlands, but closed the bogey-free round with five straight pars.
He finished two shots off the course record of 60 set by Patrick Cantlay in 2011.
ILONEN SHOOTS RECORD 64 TO TAKE LEAD AT IRISH OPEN: In Cork, Ireland, Finland’s Mikko Illonen shot a seven-under-par 64 to set a new course record on Thursday as crowd favorite Rory McIlroy struggled on the opening day of the Irish Open.
Illonen birdied five of his closing seven holes in superb morning conditions on the Fota Island course in Cork and took a three-stroke clubhouse lead over Italy’s Edoardo Molinari and England’s Matthew Baldwin, who were the next best among the early finishers.
The 64 is a new low for a course that has undergone major changes since its previous staging of the Irish Open in 2002.
McIlroy hit just eight of the 14 fairways and took 30 putts in a round of three-over 74.