By: Bill Fields

On a cloudy-turned-sunny Thursday morning at the U.S. Women’s Open, youth wasn’t a requisite for success. Given the LPGA is skewing younger than a One Direction audience, this was news.

While Mirim Lee, a 25-year-old South Korean, took the first-round lead at CordeValle with an 8-under-par 64, a couple of players in close pursuit did their best to give experience a good name.

Foremost among them was 2007 Women’s Open champion Cristie Kerr, 38, who broke out of a 2016 slump by shooting a 67, 1 stroke better than 68s by Brittany Lang, 30, and Anna Nordqvist, 29.

It might seem ridiculous at first glance to consider someone in her late 20s as an outlier. But consider that Nordqvist, who was 28 when she won the ShopRite LPGA Classic this spring, is the only LPGA winner older than 23 in 2016, as golfers aged 21 or younger have won 11 of 19 tournaments. Teenagers Lydia Ko and Brooke Henderson, Nos. 1 and 2 in the world, have won the past three major championships.

“I did get a lot of comments about options for retirement homes, stuff like that, after winning,” Nordqvist said. “But the level of talent out here is just unbelievable.”

 

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