Broken driver no handicap for Aine Donegan at US Women’s Open

Broken driver no handicap for Aine Donegan at US Women’s Open

Irish amateur Aine Donegan is one shot out of the lead after her first major championship round – despite a broken driver and the late arrival of her clubs.

Donegan recovered from starting the US Women’s Open with two bogeys to shoot a three-under-par 69 at Pebble Beach, one behind China’s Xiyu Lin and Hyo Joo Kim of South Korea.

She was joined in a group on 69 by compatriot Leona Maguire, who birdied two of the last four holes after also bogeying the first.

APTOPIX US Womens Open Golf
Aine Donegan, of Ireland, hits from the fairway on the ninth hole at Pebble Beach (Darron Cummings/AP)

Donegan, playing in her first tournament on the LPGA Tour, arrived at Pebble Beach having helped Europe reclaim the Vagliano Trophy in Scotland – but without clubs.

When she was reunited with them on Tuesday, the driver was in two pieces and so she used one in a set pieced together by her club manufacturers.

The 21-year-old, who holed out with a wedge for an eagle to go with five birdies, said: “The whole thing has been a bit surreal to be honest. Nearly every five minutes it’s like a pinch-me moment.

“It wouldn’t be the first time I started bogey-bogey. For me to come back then and finish how I finished and play the rest of round, I’m really proud of myself for that.”

Maguire, who held the lead after the third round at last month’s Women’s PGA Championship before falling away, said it did not take her long to get over that disappointment.

She said: “It’s golf. These things happen. I think you have to get on with things pretty quickly, dust yourself off.”

She said playing a major at Pebble Beach has “been circled on the calendar”.

England’s Jodi Ewart Shadoff opened with a one-under-par 71, two better than compatriot Charley Hull and Scotland’s Gemma Dryburgh, English trio Alice Hewson, Charlotte Thomas and Bronte Law finishing on 74 with Georgia Hall a further two strokes back.

US Womens Open Golf
Rose Zhang chips to the sixth green during the first round of the US Women’s Open (Darron Cummings/AP)

Rose Zhang, the 20-year-old sensation who won on her professional debut earlier this season, opened with a 74.

World number one Jin Young Ko made only one birdie in an opening 79, three worse than number two Nelly Korda playing alongside her who put her opening drive over the cliff and onto the beach at the 10th.

Natthakritta Vongtaveelap of Thailand only made it through five holes of the first round when she was disqualified for her caddie using a rangefinder, which is allowed at other LPGA events.