Travelers Championship

TPC River Highlands

U.S. Women's Open

Self-proclaimed procrastinator Bailey Tardy nearly missed registering for Women’s Open qualifying, now leads at midway point

July 07, 2023

Bailey Tardy waves after saving par on the 17th green during the second round of the 78th U.S. Women's Open at Pebble Beach.

Harry How

PEBBLE BEACH — Bailey Tardy nearly didn’t get into the U.S. Women’s Open at Pebble Beach for one reason—procrastination. She almost didn’t sign up for the final qualifier, saying she had no interest in battling through 36 holes in one day. It took pushing from her mother to sign up.

"My mom would tell me you need to sign up, you need to sign up, you need to sign up, and then I just never did," Tardy said. "That's just kind of how it happened. Big ol' procrastination.”

After grudgingly signing up, and then surviving a four-hole playoff at the qualifier, Tardy has put in an out-of-nowhere 69-68 performance to lead the second round of U.S. Women’s Open at seven under par. She’s done so on the strength of making an eagle both days on the par-5 sixth hole.

To appease her mom’s wishes, Tardy, 26, searched for a qualifier in the spring. She settled on Somerset Country Club in Mendota Heights, Minn., where two players would advance. When Tardy bogeyed the 36th hole to finish with a four-under total, she figured she’d be one of the alternates and returned to her hotel room.

After packing, showering and changing, Tardy received word that fellow LPGA player Jennifer Chang three-putted the last hole to end up tied with Tardy, while a pregnant Amy Olson took the top spot at six under. Tardy scrambled to get back to Somerset for a playoff.

"I threw golf clothes back on, found my golf shoes, hit about 15 balls, and just went and played four more holes, which felt like an eternity," Tardy said.

She prevailed over Chang by making a 20-foot birdie on the fourth playoff hole to get into her fourth U.S. Women's Open. Tardy played in 2014, 2016 and 2017, missed all three cuts and only shot one round under par.

Tardy has had a challenging rookie LPGA season, missing five cuts and withdrawing one week after shooting 85. The 455th player in the Rolex Women's World Rankings has posted seven rounds of 75 or worse over the last two months. Her best finish is a T-24 at the Lotte Championship in April. It doesn’t exactly signal someone who would be at the top of a major leaderboard.

"Other people might not, but I've always believed in myself to win any tournament that I enter," Tardy said. "I'm good enough to be here, and I've been on the LPGA, so I feel like I definitely have the game to hang with the best in the world.”

Tardy is not only hanging with but has surpassed the best in the world on just two of Pebble's most iconic holes. She is six under on the par-5 sixth and par-3 seventh combined, eagling No. 6 on Thursday and Friday. That’s half of the eagles recorded on the cliffside par 5.

Tardy has leaned on the knowledge she received from playing Pebble Beach for the first time last November before going to the LPGA's Q-Series to earn her tour card for the first time.


Ezra Shaw

Instead of imagining what could be after making the first major cut of her career, Tardy is soaking in the serenity of Pebble Beach. She said she pauses to smile at the dogs along the ninth and 10th holes and points out the sea life. Tardy said she will head to Big Sur with family for dinner, soaking in all she can of the Pacific coastline.

"This is a dream, being at the top of the leaderboard in a U.S. Open," Tardy said. "Just being able to take in all of this. I have got my family here, so just having them to keep my mind off of golf at night, it's just fun. I've really enjoyed all of this."

In regard to her performance this week, Tardy points to a putting overhaul last week. She put her putter in a three-day timeout after a missed cut at the KPMG Women’s PGA, frustrated with a first-round 36-putt effort that led to a three-over 75 despite hitting 14 greens.

She then did short game work with Gareth Raflewski. To get some better mojo, Tardy swapped putter covers, using a special Callaway putter cover from a Korn Ferry Tour event from Springfield, Ill. She chuckled while recalling the unique design, with famed cartoon character Homer Simpson alongside his favorite food.

“I love donuts,” Tardy said.

No, she did not procrastinate giving that answer.