At Trump Na­tional, flair is in­ter­na­tional

For­eign play­ers dom­i­nate Open at pres­i­dent’s course

USA TODAY International Edition - - SPORTS - Chris­tine Bren­nan

BED­MIN­STER, N. J. It’s a leader­board right out of Don­ald Trump’s night­mares.

For­eign golfer af­ter for­eign golfer, 14 in all among the 17 play­ers lead­ing the way af­ter Satur­day’s third round at the 2017 U. S. Women’s Open that the pres­i­dent is host­ing and at­tend­ing at Trump Na­tional Golf Club. Make Amer­ica Great Again? How about: Make Amer­ica Golf Again?

At the start of Satur­day’s third round, each of the top nine play­ers on the leader­board was from out­side the United States.

The top Amer­i­can head­ing into the third round was 26- year- old LPGA tour player Ma­rina Alex of Wayne, N. J., who was tied for 10th at 3- un­der par af­ter the first two rounds, five strokes be­hind leader Shan­shan Feng of China.

The home­lands of the golfers fol­low­ing Feng, in or­der: South Korea, South Korea, South Korea, South Korea, Spain, South Korea, South Korea and Ja­pan.

Af­ter Alex came a Cana­dian, an Aus­tralian and a New Zealan­der be­fore a group of U. S. golfers bunched at 2- un­der par, in­clud­ing vet­er­ans Stacy Lewis, Cristie Kerr and An­gela Stan­ford.

Kerr worked her way up to a tie for eighth Satur­day, five shots back, and Lewis started strong be­fore triple bo­gey­ing and drop­ping to 36th. Christina Kim and Alex ended the day tied for 14th, but that was it for the U. S. golfers at their na­tional cham­pi­onship.

South Kore­ans, dom­i­nant for years on the LPGA tour, hold sec­ond through sev­enth place be­hind Feng. Mirim Lee, who shot 5- un­der 67 Satur­day, said South Kore­ans rise to the oc­ca­sion for the U. S. Open.

“Ob­vi­ously Korean play­ers are very strong and ex­cel­lent play- ers,” she said, “and I think they also ad­just to the course fairly quickly. This is the big­gest and most ma­jor event in the United States so prob­a­bly the play­ers com­ing here have made the strong de­ter­mi­na­tion they want to play well and play hard.”

This in­ter­na­tional dom­i­nance of women’s golf is noth­ing new, and it comes as a won­der­ful re­minder — in this place of all places — of what coun­tries other than the United States have to of­fer the world, in­clud­ing in sports.

But what an ironic twist this is for Trump, who couldn’t wait to get here Fri­day af­ter­noon af­ter re­turn­ing from Paris.

For the past two years, dur­ing his pres­i­den­tial cam­paign and the first six months of his pres­i­dency, Trump has fo­cused much of his time and rhetoric on en­act­ing a Mus­lim travel ban and build­ing a wall on the U. S.- Mex­i­can bor­der. His Ac­cess Hol­ly­wood com­ments brag­ging about be­ing able to get away with sex­u­ally as­sault­ing women have been a topic of con­ver­sa­tion here this week as well.

In­ter­est­ing, isn’t it, that the ul­ti­mate na­tion­al­ist has a front- row seat this week­end for one of the sports world’s most vivid dis­plays of in­ter­na­tion­al­ism?

KELVIN KUO, USA TO­DAY SPORTS

Pres­i­dent Trump ar­rived Fri­day to watch the U. S. Women’s Open, which is be­ing held at Trump Na­tional in New Jersey.

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