LPGA tour standouts Nelly Korda and Lexi Thompson missed the cut at the US Women’s Open this past weekend as World No. 6 golfer Yuka Saso picked up her second title at the major.

After posting a first-round 80 — which included a 10 on a par-3 — Korda followed it up with a 70 on the second day. The back-to-back disappointments ended the chances for the World No. 1, who had been an overwhelming favorite going into the tournament. 

"I knew it was going to be a tough day," Korda told reporters afterwards. "Try to give it my all, you know that’s what I try to do with every round. I had nothing to lose, and that was my mentality — just kind of go for it."

Joining Korda in missing the cut was longtime US front-runner Lexi Thompson. Thompson was competing in her 18th consecutive US Women’s Open, announcing beforehand that this would be her final season competing professionally.

"Minus the golf, it was amazing," Thompson said of her recent US Women's Open performance. "It wasn’t the golf that I wanted to play, obviously… to see all the fans out there, just to hear their chants, made me smile, every single shot even though I kept on bogeying."

"It’s meant the world to me," she added. "I’m so blessed and grateful for the family that I have… Going into the week I knew it was going to be a big week. To have my family and friends and the amount of fans that were out there this week, that’s what we want."

Fellow American Rose Zhang, ranked No. 6 in the world, was another big name on the cut list. 

For Saso, however, the week was a banner one. At just 22 years old, the Philippine-born Japan national is a two-time major champion, winning both titles at the US Women’s Open. She’s the youngest two-time champion in the event's history.

"I definitely had a little doubt if I can win again," she told reporters following the victory. "It just makes it special because after a long wait — I wasn't expecting to win the US Women's Open. Every time, last time, too, I wasn't expecting it, and this time, too, I wasn't expecting it."

Angel Reese has been named to Time Magazine’s 100 Next list for 2023.

A standout for LSU basketball, she helped lead the Tigers to their first national title earlier this year while setting a record for double-doubles in a single season. And her star has continued to rise as she elevates her game and her profile.

WNBA star Candace Parker, who wrote Reese’s blurb for Time Magazine, noted that Reese brings “work, effort and energy,” all of which are required to excel in their game.

“She’s ripping the sport open and tearing back the layers,” Parker writes. “Her tenacity and confidence on the court make her such an exciting player to watch—it’s incredible to see her stand in her power and make such a big impact on women’s basketball, especially this early in her career.”

There is only “one time” that Parker doesn’t root for Reese, and it’s when LSU plays her own alma mater, the University of Tennessee.

The 100 Next list, which recognizes up-and-comers in industries across the world, also features a pair of World Cup stars in Spain forward Salma Paralluelo and USWNT and Portland Thorns forward Sophia Smith. Stanford golf phenom-turned-LPGA pro Rose Zhang also made the list.

Smith touched on her missed penalty kick at the World Cup in her blurb. The shot helped seal the USWNT’s penalty shootout loss to Sweden in the Round of 16.

“You don’t let those moments completely define who you are,” she said. “When something doesn’t go your way, you can let it take you down, or you learn and grow from that moment and be better from it. I’m choosing that route.”

Rose Zhang’s star continues to rise in the LPGA, as she followed up her winning professional debut with a top-10 finish at her first pro major at the Women’s PGA Championship.

The 20-year-old American finished tied for eighth place behind a final-round charge at Baltusrol Golf Club in New Jersey. She shot a 67 on Sunday to finish at five under par, three shots back of the lead.

“I would say I’m content with the result. I’m not content with how I played,” Zhang said. “From the beginning of the week, I feel like there’s always room to work on things, and I’m really satisfied with my overall performance, but there’s little mistakes that I made that you just can’t really afford to make.

“I felt really confident with my putter the whole day, and the last couple days I feel like that really saved me this entire week. But the last couple holes, putts fell a little short, they lipped out a little bit.”

Ruoning Yin won the title at eight under par, becoming just the second woman from China to win a major championship. She beat Japan’s Yuka Saso by one stroke, birdying the final hole to join Shanshan Feng in Chinese golf history. Feng won 10 times on the LPGA Tour, though her only major win came at the PGA Championship in 2012.

“I would say she’s definitely the goal that I’m chasing,” Yin said of Feng. “But I think she is the person who inspired me the most.”

For Zhang, who just made the jump from college (where she won back-to-back national titles), the difficulty of the court stood out as the main difference from her past competitions.

“I feel like it’s still golf, so I still felt the same energy as any other event except this is major week, and the golf course is a lot harder,” she said. “It’s playing a lot more difficult. You have to be on your toes at all times. Losing a little bit of focus causes you to have errors, and that’s just something you can’t afford at a major championship.

“But I think that was the different part, was just making sure that you’re still in the moment and you’re still hitting it shot by shot, regardless of what the result is.”

Zhang climbed to within one shot of the lead Sunday before a few mistakes on the back nine sunk her shot at victory. But she still recorded her best-ever finish at a major (she played in several as an amateur), which she called “pretty special.”

“It’s definitely a different dynamic when you’re a professional versus an amateur,” she said. “And when you’re playing your game, you really have to be precise with your numbers, really understand what your swing is doing, and there is no room for error. Therefore, I’m excited to keep working on my game.”

The 2023 KMPG Women’s PGA Championship is here, teeing off Thursday and running through Sunday with $9 million in purse money up for grabs.

The tournament, which is being played at the Baltusrol Lower Course in Springfield, New Jersey, features the second-highest purse of the year, with only the U.S. Women’s Open offering more at $10 million.

Women’s PGA Championship:
Schedule and how to watch

Thurs., June 22:

  • 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. — Golf Channel and Peacock
  • 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. — Peacock

Friday, June 23:

  • 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. — Golf Channel and Peacock
  • 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. — Peacock

Saturday, June 24:

  • 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. — Peacock
  • 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. — NBC

Sunday, June 25:

  • 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. — Peacock
  • 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. — NBC

Players to watch

Rose Zhang

All eyes are on newly-minted pro Rose Zhang, who announced following the 2023 NCAA season that she would be leaving Stanford for the LPGA. She won her professional debut at the Mizuho Americas Open in early June, beating Jennifer Kupcho in a playoff. Now she’ll make her major debut as a professional.

“This year, we’ve had a lot of really good golfers,” LPGA star and world No. 2 Nelly Korda said during a pre-tournament news conference. “Rose is one-for-one, so she’s pretty good.

“… It’s amazing to see that she won her first week out as a professional. I think it’s going to be really good for women’s golf. Hopefully, we have some great battles coming down the stretch over the years.”

The No. 1-ranked amateur in the world for 141 weeks (the most of any player ever), Zhang has had a big year, winning her second individual NCAA title and the 2023 Augusta National Women’s Amateur title. And the Women’s PGA Championship is the only major in which she has yet to compete, making it fitting that this will be her first major as a professional. But even as an amateur, she’s never finished below 60th at a major. Her career-high finish in a major came at the 2020 Chevron Championship, in which she tied for 11th place.

Nelly Korda

The No. 2 ranked player in the world, Korda has found her way back after missing significant time last season with an injury and beginning this season with a lower back injury. But that’s not a problem this week.

“I honestly wouldn’t be playing if I wasn’t 100%,” Korda said Tuesday.

She’s consistently been among the world’s best in recent years, but has won just one major: the 2021 PGA Championship. She finished last season on a high, tying for eighth at the Evian Championship, her highest-ever finish at that major. And the time away, she said, has left her “a little bit more hungry.”

Ashleigh Buhai

Buhai enters the major as one of the best players of late. She won the ShopRite tournament, placed third at the Founders Cup and tied for seventh at the Mizuho Americas Open. At last week’s Meijer Classic, she finished tied for 13th, but she has been successful in New Jersey. While she’s not been as successful at the PGA Championship, look for Buhai to capitalize on recent success.

Leona Maguire

Maguire is fresh off a win at the Meijer Classic and has put together three top-10 finishes to begin the 2023 season. If she were to win, she’d become Ireland’s first female major champion, joining the likes of Rory McIlroy and Padraig Harrington.

“Obviously to get my second win is obviously very nice, and I’ll try and give myself as best a chance as possible in the remaining majors this year,” she said. “I didn’t put any pressure on myself this week, so not going to do that for the rest of the season and just enjoy my golf as much as I can.”

Rose Zhang won her LPGA debut on Sunday, just 13 days after the Stanford golfer won her second NCAA title.

The 20-year-old, who became the first to win back-to-back NCAA women’s golf titles, followed up her historic sophomore season by becoming the first player in 72 years to win in her LPGA Tour professional debut. She did so at the Mizuho Americas Open, defeating Jennifer Kupcho in a playoff.

“I just can’t believe it,” Zhang said of the triumphant beginning to her much-anticipated pro career. “It was just last week when I won NCAAs with my teammates, and to turn pro and come out here, it’s just been amazing. I’ve enjoyed the journey.”

Beverly Hanson was the last woman to win in her pro debut, taking the Eastern Open title in 1951.

The performance from Zhang even drew the attention of fellow Stanford golfer Tiger Woods. Zhang tied his Stanford record for wins in a career (12), which had been held by Woods and three other golfers.

“Incredible few weeks for Rose Zhang, defends her NCAA title and then wins in her Pro debut. Go Card!” he wrote.

If you ask Zhang, who led from start to finish, there weren’t a lot of expectations to begin the tournament.

“I honestly didn’t expect to make the cut,” Zhang said. “The reason why I say this is because I don’t think about my expectations a lot. I think about playing golf and shooting the best score I can. I never once think about where I finish, where I should finish. … The expectation for me winning did not even cross my mind. I was just playing my game.”

Rose Zhang is proving herself to be among best amateurs to grace the game of golf.

The Stanford sophomore won her second consecutive national title at the NCAA championships Monday, becoming the first women’s golfer to win multiple national titles and tying the NCAA record for wins in a season.

Not even all-time great Lorena Ochoa reached the same heights during her own very successful collegiate career at Arizona.

“I was really fortunate to play at the same time as Lorena Ochoa and I felt her greatness was unmatched,” Stanford coach Anne Walker said. “Rose Zhang really reminds me a lot of Lorena.”

Her second NCAA championship is just another trophy that Zhang can add to her shelf, which already includes the 2020 U.S. Women’s Amateur title, the 2021 U.S. Girls’ Junior title and the 2023 Augusta National Women’s Amateur title.

Zhang shot a 4-under 68 in the final round to clinch the victory. She finished at 10-under 278 over the course of 72 holes, tying Ochoa’s NCAA records for wins in a season (eight) and in a career (12). Her 12 wins also breaks the record at Stanford for men’s and women’s golfers, which had been held by Tiger Woods and three others.

Zhang had to come from behind on the final day, starting four shots back of the lead. But a bogey-free round helped propel Zhang to the title.

“When you’re chasing from behind, you really don’t know what is happening until everything’s completed,” Zhang said. “To come off of 18 and everyone saying you just won, that’s something that I wouldn’t really have imagined starting out the day.”