EDINA, Minn. -- There's a lot to like at the 63rd U.S. Women's Open that began this morning, but a few things stand out as my favorites after three days of practice rounds:
The course, Interlachen Country Club. It's a wonderful and historic venue. Designed by Donald Ross, it's where Bobby Jones won the U.S. Open in 1930, the third leg of the Grand Slam he completed that summer by winning the U.S. Amateur at Merion. Interlachen is in spectacular shape this week, and at 6,789 yards it's the longest setup in Women's Open history.
Michelle Wie. She's only 18 years old, but already is playing in her sixth Women's Open after finishing second in a 36-hole qualifier two weeks ago. Wie said she wasn't sure she could do it, but on a hot, humid day in Rockville, Md., she shot 70-67 to get into the field. Crowds at Interlachen are pulling for her.
Lorena Ochoa. The No. 1 player in women's golf drove the 316-yard, par-4 seventh hole during a practice round Wednesday. To the gallery's delight, she hit a perfect draw from the forward tee.
Juniors by the hundreds are enjoying the activity. As part of the USGA's Catch the Spirit program, they get in free when accompanied by an adult. They also get a hat, lunch and, for some, a clinic.
The substantial wooden rakes, not those flimsy plastic ones like they have so many places, to keep the sand pristine. And by decree, they are kept outside the bunkers when not in use.
The 3,200 volunteers, giving their time for a chance to be inside the ropes. Not just locals, they come from all over the country.