The cut line for the AIG Women’s Open has been drawn, with South Korea’s In Gee Chun leading the pack at 8-under.
This year’s PGA Championship winner, Chun has been driven to the lead this week by her caddie, who bet on Chun recording bogey-free rounds. While she has yet to achieve the feat, that hasn’t stopped her from vaulting to the top of the leaderboard.
“Before the start of the tournament my caddie Dean and I talked about the course, and after that we had a little bit of betting,” Chun said. “If I make a bogey-free round he’s said he’s going to buy me dinner and pay me 100 dollars each day. So before each round it’s like setting another goal. That mindset helped a lot on the course. I had two bogeys over the last two days, but I want to keep trying to make a bogey-free round.”
Seven-time major winner Inbee Park sits in the mix, two shots back of the lead after shooting a 67 on Friday. Others will also look to make a run over the weekend as they battle the Scottish winds.
Just Women’s Sports has three golfers to watch as the tournament enters the weekend.
Celine Boutier entered the week having finished second at the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open. While she shot a 3-under 69, LPGA Tour rookie Ayaka Furue had an outstanding round to win the tournament.
Now, Boutier sits tied for seventh entering the weekend, four shots off the lead. The confidence she gained from last weekend’s finish has shown, with the Frenchwoman posting back-to-back scores under par (68 on Thursday, 70 on Friday).
Currently ranked 17th in the world, Boutier has finished in the top 10 six times this season, including tied for fourth at the Gainbridge LPGA and third at the Honda LPGA. A two-time LPGA Tour champion, including last year at the ShopRite LPGA Classic, Boutier has what it takes to fight her way up the leaderboard and, come Sunday, could find herself holding the winner’s trophy.
The weekend isn’t over and Rose Zhang already has a trophy. While Zhang sits eight shots off the lead heading into the weekend, she’s the lone amateur in the field to make the cut, meaning she’s won the Smyth Salver for the tournament’s top amateur.
After shooting a 72 on Thursday, she improved by two shots on Friday to shoot 1-under for the day. It’s an improvement from last year, when she didn’t make the cut.
The reigning NCAA individual champion and a member of Stanford’s 2022 NCAA Championship team, Zhang has the abilities to make a run in Scotland. She chose Muirfield over the U.S. Women’s Amateur for her third major start of the season, all three of which she has made the cut.
While the world’s No. 1 amateur tied for 40th at the U.S. Women’s Open and shared 65th two weeks ago at the Evian Championship, Zhang — who currently sits tied for 35th — has an opportunity to place even higher this weekend and will be aiming to do so.
Madelene Sagstrom is no stranger to the top of the leaderboard at the AIG Women’s Open, having finished tied for runner-up last year when the tournament was in Carnoustie. Meanwhile, fellow countrywoman Anna Nordqvist claimed the crown.
This year, Nordqvist sits on the outside looking in, having not made the cut, as Sagstrom — who has just one LPGA Tour victory from the 2020 Gainbridge LPGA under her belt — surged on Friday with a 65. She tied with South Africa’s Ashleigh Buhai for the best round of the day and now sits one shot back of the lead.
So far this season, Sagstrom has found herself in the top 10 four times, at the DIO Implant LA Open (T3), Palos Verdes Championship presented by Bank of America (T9), Cognizant Founders Cup (T3), and Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play presented by MGM Rewards (T5). She’s found herself near the top of LPGA ranking categories in driving distance, eagles, and birdies — all of which have contributed to her world ranking of No. 32. If anyone in the top 10 has the ability to break through this weekend, it’s Sagstrom.