USA TODAY International Edition

At Trump National, flair is internatio­nal

Foreign players dominate Open at president’s course

- 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.
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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