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Golf / Sports

US Women's Open ready to move in at Pinehurst

PINEHURST, N.C. -- If Saturday was Moving Day, Sunday was Mixing Day.

Pinehurst No. 2 will host the U.S. Women's Open this week, so several members of that field practiced Sunday on the same green as the men. Rather than lead to a battle of the sexes, some players collaborated. Lydia Ko filmed part of Phil Mickelson's warm-up session. Cristie Kerr helped out Seung-Yul Noh with his putting stroke.

Golf Channel's Randall Mell quoted Yani Tseng as saying: "I just walked by Adam Scott. I just about passed out."

Tseng, Sandra Gal and Brittany Lincicome observed the men's final pairing as spectators inside the ropes.

USGA executive director Mike Davis said the No. 1 goal in double-dipping at Pinehurst was to "showcase women's golf."

"Most golfers do not realize how good these female players are," Davis said. "They play a slightly different game, but they play a marvelous game, and it's going to be neat to see them on the same iconic golf course."

Tough enough: Mickelson said he hopes the Women's Open goes off without a hitch.

"There are a lot of exciting female players," he said. "And their shot selection will be interesting on such a demanding golf course. It will be fun to watch when you already know what the golf course is like."

Steve Stricker is wary of the women having to play from divots, hoping the setup allows them to land their drives in "fresh" spots on the fairway.

As for all the tight lies around the greens, Stricker said: "It will be tough for them. It was tough for us. But they'll manage. They have some talented players."

Davis said the course will play about 900 yards shorter, but "our intent is to try to test both groups of golfers in a like manner ... whatever the green speeds are this week, they're going to be next week. The preparation of bunkers will be the same, and there will be the same basic hole locations."

One to remember: The remarkable thing about Zach Johnson's hole-in-one Sunday is it was his first in competition. And he is one of the world's best iron players.

Johnson aced the 172-yard ninth hole with a 7-iron for the first hole-in-one of the week. He tossed his club in the air in celebration.

"It makes a pretty sour-to-average week a little sweeter," said Johnson, who finished 9 over.

(c)2014 Chicago Tribune

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