Ingrid Lindblad decided months ago that she wanted to stay in college instead of turning professional.
That might be a financial decision she comes to regret.
The 22-year-old Swede shot the lowest round by an amateur in the 77-year history of the U.S. Women’s Open, a 6-under 65 that left her a shot behind first-round leader Mina Harigae on Thursday.
Because she’s an amateur, Lindblad wouldn’t be able to collect the record $1.8 million first-place prize if she wins.
Three-time major winner Anna Nordqvist, also from Sweden, and 2021 Evian Championship champion Minjee Lee of Australia were at 67 with American Ryann O’Toole.
Lexi Thompson, who surrendered a five-shot lead in the final round of last year in the event and lost by a stroke, was four shots back after an opening round 68. Fellow American Ally Ewing also shot 68.
“As far as last year, it’s over with, it’s this year,” Thompson said. “I took it, I learned from it, and I moved on.”
South Korea’s Jin Young Ko, the world’s top-ranked player and one of the most consistent ball-strikers in the tournament, shot a 69 – hitting 13 of 14 greens in regulation.
“I was just trying to get the middle of the green every shot, every hole,” Ko said. “It’s difficult because the green looks wider but the landing area is smaller.”
Nelly Korda looked strong in her return from surgery and appears ready to contend, as well.
Outside of a double bogey at the par-4 11th, the world’s No. 2-ranked player played a fairly flawless round in her first competitive tournament since Feb. 25 after developing a blood clot in her arm. She shot 70.