Where the U.S. Women’s Open Will Be Won and Lost at Lancaster Country Club 

A tough stretch in the middle of the 1920 William Flynn-designed layout could prove pivotal.
The 12th green at Lancaster Country Club.
The 12th green at Lancaster Country Club. / Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

LANCASTER, Pa. — Looking up the tight fairway toward the distant green of the 438-yard, par-4 9th hole at Lancaster Country Club, one thought came to mind: 

The 79th U.S. Women's Open won’t be won on this hole Sunday, but it could be lost here. 

The U.S. Women’s Open returns to Lancaster CC for the second time in its history and the 9th will undoubtedly play a factor in who wins and loses the tournament during play, which begins Thursday.

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When Lancaster hosted the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open, No. 9 ranked as the hardest hole on the course throughout the week and was part of a five-hole stretch from the 8th to the 12th where the scoring average was above par on each hole. 

Navigating that stretch won’t be easy, but opportunities exist to make it up. 

The prevailing theme of this 1920 William Flynn design is variety. There are short holes and long holes, uphill and downhill drives and approaches (sometimes on the same hole), and some holes where players think birdie and others where they’ll be thrilled with par. 

The short par-4 16th is a perfect example of the former. It played anywhere from 235 to 356 yards in 2015 and was the second-easiest hole on the course. The only easier hole was the straightaway par-5 7th. 

Aesthetically carved bunkers line the left side of the 16th fairway from the layup zone to the green. The farther you hit it, the narrower the fairway becomes.

The small green, emblematic of all the greens at Lancaster, features subtle movement around the hole locations, forcing players to match break and speed perfectly to make putts. 

Birdies will be hard to come by after that, especially on the uphill par-4 18th. The green is larger than most on this course, but it has a false front and heavy back-to-front break. Even if you’re on the green in two, making par to win the tournament is no guarantee. 

Ultimately, the winner of the U.S. Women’s Open must take advantage of 16 throughout the week. The two par 5s, No. 7 and No. 13, which both played under par in 2015, are also important scoring opportunities. But the aforementioned five-hole run from No. 8-12 will likely determine the winner. 

Par-3s bookmark that stretch, with the first measuring up to 205 yards and the second playing downhill with a creek crossing directly in front of the green. In between you have three 400-plus-yard holes that gave up just 80 birdies versus 441 bogeys over four days in 2015. 

Navigate those successfully and you’re on your way to the title. Trip up and your hopes could be kaput.


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Brian Giuffra

BRIAN GIUFFRA

Brian Giuffra is the VP of Betting Content at Minute Media and has been with the company since 2016. He's a fan of the Knicks, Giants, wine and bourbon, usually consuming them in that order.