Amelia Garvey has started strongly on day one of the 2020 U.S. Open Championships in Houston Texas finishing the round tied for 12th on a crowded leaderboard, just three shots behind the leader Amy Olson.
Garvey started strongly with a birdie on the 10th hole at Champions Golf Club, Cypress Creek course but dropped a shot on the next to settle the nerves. Garvey moved onto the first page of the leaderboard with consecutive birdies on 15 and 16 and turned at 2-under.
Her remaining nine holes two bogeys and a birdie to finish 1-under par with a round of 70.
In her first major championship, Garvey spoke to the media after her round and explained how she felt with her first competitive game of golf in eight months.
“I just had so much fun out there,” Garvey said, “I thought after eight months I would be a bit more rusty, and nice to be 1-under, so really happy with where the game was at.
“Obviously there was a few nerves, but just tried to stay present and one shot at a time.
“I birdied the first hole, so that was a good way to start. Probably got me a little bit more nervous, to be fair. I said to my caddie, whoa, I might actually be leading the U.S. Open because I was kind of one of the first ones off.
“Nice way to start, and then settled in with a few pars, and yeah, just was really, really smart with my targets out there today.
“It’s playing tough. The wind was swirling, and it was just hot, as well, so the greens were really firm. Yeah, just happy with the way I grinded it out and got in under par.”
In her final practice round yesterday Garvey played with fellow Kiwi Lydia Ko and she said it was confidence-boosting leading into the first day.
“She was just raving on about she hasn’t seen me play for three years,” Garvey laughed.
“The last time I sort of played with her was when I did the Lydia Ko scholarship before I went off to college, so she was just telling me how my game is there, I just need to back myself really. So that was really a good confidence booster going into today.
“Obviously I had a few nerves playing with her, as well, so it was a nice way to set up into the first round. It was so much fun out there. It was just me and her, as well, so got to pick her brains a little bit, and just enjoy it out there with her.”
Garvey explained she has the confidence to go all the way in her first U.S. Open.
“I said to my caddie when we were walking off the green, I actually thought to myself this morning, I have the game to win this thing, and then coming down 18, which was my ninth hole today, it was nice to see Garvey up on the leaderboard, so just enjoying it and enjoying being in the position that I’m in because I’ve worked hard and I deserve to be here, so just go out there and do the same thing tomorrow.”
Twenty-five of the last 30 U.S. Women’s Open champions were at or within five strokes after the opening round.
Garvey will tee off at 3.44 am NZDT this time on the Jackrabbit course.
Lydia Ko finished her round on even par, one shot behind Garvey.