Chella Choi posts 9-hole record 29 at US Women’s Open

LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) — Chella Choi’s favorite color is orange, yet it was the red numbers the South Korean posted Saturday at the U.S. Women’s Open that was drawing all the attention.

Choi, using an orange golf ball, shot the first nine-hole score of 29 in Women’s Open history and missed a chance to share another record when she missed a three-foot putt on her final hole that would have matched the championship’s single-round scoring mark.

Choi wasn’t aware that her par putt at No. 18 would have tied the championship scoring record of 63 by Helen Alfredsson in 1994. But, after her par try horseshoed out, Choi shrugged off the miss and moved on.

“It’s really close, right? Tomorrow I have one more day, right?” she said.

She rocketed up the leaderboard and into contention with a 6-under 64, the lowest third-round score in championship history, moving from 4 over to 2 under, good enough for the first page of the leaderboard.

The 24-year-old Choi capitalized on the cool, calm conditions early Saturday at Lancaster Country Club and reeled off six birdies on the front nine for a record 29.

After closing out the front nine with birdies at Nos. 8 and 9, Choi said she carried a bit of extra confidence into the back nine and was ready to take a few chances.

She picked up birdies at the par-5 13th, the par-4 16th, where she chipped to four feet and made the putt, and the par-3 17th, where she rammed in a 13-footer to reach 7 under for the round. But inconsistent play was her downfall as she had bogeys at the 11th, 14th and the last hole.

Choi, whose nine birdies were the most in a U.S. Open round since Lorie Kane made nine in the second round in 1999, credited her improved play and record-setting performance to a switch in putters.

She said she switched from an Odyssey No. 5 to an Odyssey No.1. She said she favors the latter’s extra weight and length, and “made putts.”

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