US Women's Open players arrive at Pinehurst No. 2

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 15, 2014 at 9:53 pm •  Published: June 15, 2014
Advertisement
;

PINEHURST, N.C. (AP) — In the final group at a major for the first time, Rickie Fowler was on the putting green about 45 minutes before his tee time with six other players.

All were women.

Defending U.S. Open champion Justin Rose was walking over a bridge when he passed another player headed to the practice range. Rose stopped and turned his head. It was Pernilla Lindberg of Sweden.

Sunday at the U.S. Open was unlike any other.

Even as the men were wrapping up their championship, the women arrived to prepare for the U.S. Women's Open — the second half of an unprecedented doubleheader at Pinehurst No. 2.

"It's cool to run into the girls," Rory McIlroy said. "I would like to see it happen more often. I think it's a good thing. I think it's a good thing for women's golf to give them a little bit more exposure. ... I'm going to tune in on and watch next week just to see how they get on around here and see how they fare."

USGA officials had expressed hope for some cross-promotion between the events. They got that, from Natalie Gulbis taking swings at the driving range to Sandra Gal watching German countryman Martin Kaymer in the final men's group.

"I hope putting them back-to-back works out," Phil Mickelson said. "All of the execution from the USGA's side gets cut in half. You only have to do it once instead of twice, and hopefully they will be able to make it more profitable and put more money back into the game."

The U.S. Women's Open begins Thursday.

___

PERKS: Brooks Koepka made a birdie on the final hole that will take him a long way. He wound up in a tie for fourth, earning a spot in his first Masters next year. Erik Compton will join him at Augusta National as a runner-up.

The top 10 and ties don't have to worry about qualifying for the U.S. Open next year. Koepka and Compton both had to go through sectional qualifying this year.

Everyone else in the top four — and the top 10 — should already be safe for both majors.

___

BERGER'S 66: Daniel Berger closed his first U.S. Open with one of the week's lowest scores at Pinehurst No 2.

The 21-year-old ranked 484th in the world finished at 4-under 66 in Sunday's final round. It was the lowest round outside of runaway leader Martin Kaymer's back-to-back 65s on Thursday and Friday.

Berger came into the final day at 11-over, with most of that damage coming from a 78 on Saturday. But after managing just six birdies so far, Berger had five birdies with his only bogey coming on the 14th Sunday.

His biggest improvement came with his putter. After tallying at least 32 putts in each round, Berger had 26 on Sunday.

Berger, on the Web.com Tour, turned pro last year out of Florida State and was the medalist at the sectional qualifier at Vero Beach, Florida, this month.

"When you play on such a big stage as this, the Web.com doesn't feel as big," Berger said. "But obviously I've got to kind of shift my focus back to Web.com, have a couple of good weeks, and if all goes well I'll be out here next year."