Conway native McPherson tied for 8th
OAKMONT, Pa. -- Temperatures were in the 90s. Michelle Wie was in the 80s. On a demanding day when tough old Oakmont Country Club illustrated again that playing par golf can be an achievement, only Brittany Lang was in the 60s.
Lang withstood Oakmont's slick, sun-browned greens and the unrelenting heat to shoot a 2-under 69 on Thursday and take a one-shot lead over 2008 champion Inbee Park, amateur Kelli Shean and three others in the first round of the U.S. Women's Open.
"You said it couldn't be done, but on any golf course you can shoot a low number," Lang said. "If you're hitting the ball good, you can for sure shoot a low score out here. But if you're not on your game you can shoot a big one."
Rolling in a 40-foot putt on the 442-yard No. 15 to seize a two-shot lead before giving up a stroke at difficult No. 18, Lang managed to shoot the round of the day at a time of the day - late afternoon and early evening - when Oakmont's greens were chewed up and as unpredictable than ever.
Shean, a South Africa native who was pushed to become a world-class golfer by idol Ernie Els, and South Korea's Park were joined at 1-under 70 by two other Korean golfers, M.J. Hur and Amy Yang.
Cristie Kerr, America's first world No. 1-ranked golfer following her monumental 12-shot win at the LPGA Championship two weeks ago, was among a more-than-crowded group of 14 that included Conway native Kristy McPherson at 1-over 72. She was glad to be there, too.
McPherson began with a bogey, but quickly dropped to 1 under with birdies on three and four. She bogeyed 12 and 18 coming home.