CHRIS JENKINS, AP Sports Writer
KOHLER, Wis. (AP) – Given the chance to show that she had the game to match her famous family name, Cheyenne Woods did just fine.
Woods shot a 3-over 75 in the first round of the U.S. Women’s Open on Thursday — a round that wouldn’t quite measure up to the best days of her uncle, Tiger Woods. But it wasn’t bad for a 21-year-old recent Wake Forest graduate who just turned professional and is playing in her first Open.
“I feel pretty good about my round overall,” Woods said. “It’s a tough course, and I’m just happy to have survived.”
The crowd at Blackwolf Run certainly knew about Woods’ famous family ties. Woods said she heard occasional whispers coming from the crowd and had her share of fan support.
“Everyone out here has been really, really supportive, cheering us on,” Woods said. “I’ll give them props for coming out today, because it’s definitely hot out there.”
Woods grew up in Arizona and is used to temperatures over 100 degrees — but the combination of high temperatures and humidity was challenging.
“I’m a little drained after that almost six-hour round, but I’m just happy to be here and excited to be a part of the U.S. Open for the first time,” Woods said.
Woods was 3 over through nine holes, then had back-to-back birdies, only to finish with bogeys on two of her last three holes.
“I felt like I held in there pretty good,” she said.
Woods said she expected to hear from her uncle later in the day.
“He’s always been supportive of my career and excited that I’m taking this next step,” Woods said.
Earlier this week, Woods said she isn’t shying away from the famous family association, despite the expectations that might come along with it.
“I wouldn’t really say that they’re negatives, the expectations and the pressure, because I’ve grown up with that,” Woods said. “And I think that it has helped me get to where I am today and prepare me for this next level, because it is a lot more pressure playing out here for money, playing in front of a crowd. The camera is on you at all times. So I think that that has helped me.”
Besides, she said, there are plenty of plusses to having her uncle on speed dial.
“He’s the best player in the world and I have him at my fingertips if I need help,” Woods said. “So it’s nice to have.”
Woods said she has turned to her uncle for occasional swing advice, but mostly relies on him for emotional support.
“Not necessarily advice, but support,” she said. “That’s probably the biggest thing I can get, his support. Knowing he’s excited I’m here and that feels good he’s there to support.”
Woods said she was in a baby stroller the first time she saw her uncle play in person, in 1992.
“That was the first time I ever watched,” she said. “I don’t remember it, but I was there.”
Through watching her uncle, she quickly developed a love of golf — and the skills she hopes will turn it into a career.
“It’s something that I always wanted to do since I was five years old and I started playing golf,” she said. “Watching Tiger play as I grew up, I knew I wanted to get out there one day. When I did graduate from Wake Forest, I knew that was the next step. It was the next step in my career, and hopefully I’ll be here for a while.”
And she said she’s ready for the expectations and comparisons to continue, even if she doesn’t think they’re valid.
“I mean, I’ve always said that I’m going on my own path,” she said. “I have my own progression that I’ve taken. And just accomplishing my goals and doing what I can do, because Tiger is a very elite athlete. Not everybody can be Tiger Woods. So I just do what I can do to be the best that I can.”
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