HOUSTON — What was set up to be a run for a U.S. Women's Open golf title for Amy Olson has turned to dealing with tragedy. Lee Olson, her father-in-law and father to her husband and North Dakota State assistant football coach Grant Olson, died unexpectedly on Saturday night.
The news was confirmed to Golfweek through the LPGA. Golfweek reported Grant had flown to Houston to watch the final round and was at the course on Sunday morning before the final round of the 75th U.S. Women’s Open at the Cypress Creek Course of the Champions Club was suspended until Monday due to wet conditions from rain and anticipated inclement weather in the afternoon.
Grant was a captain and leader of Bison football teams that won three straight Division I FCS national titles from 2011-13. In a 2013 Forum story, Grant credited his dad, a West Point graduate, for instilling discipline in him.
"I guess that's who I am and how I was raised," Grant said. "I know we'd sit down or be in a car ride and at the time I thought he was just talking about nonsense. Now that I look back, I see how right he was about everything."
That was true, Lee told the Forum. He leaves behind his wife Betty and sons Grant and Luke, an assistant football coach at the University of Sioux Falls. Lee and Betty were raised in small-town Minnesota; he in Clara City and she in Plainview.
"My wife and I were a little stricter than some other parents in a suburban setting," Lee Olson said. "I talked to both of my sons: What's your priority? If you want to succeed in college and sports at the high school level, rest is equally important as work. You're not going to be ready for school tomorrow if you're out until 11 at night. That's not going to work."
Grant and Amy were married in 2017. Seeking her first win since turning pro in 2013, the 28-year-old Olson is sitting in second place at 3-under par, only one stroke behind the leader, Hinako Shibuon of Japan. Olson, who grew up in Oxbow just south of Fargo and became an All-American golfer at NDSU, carded a 4-under 67 in the first round followed by a 1-over 72 and an even par 71.
Competing in her 147th LPGA event, Olson entered Friday as the first-round leader, after a hole-in-one during Thursday’s first round helped her card a 4-under par 67 at the Cypress Creek Course. It marks the first time the USGA has used a two-course setup in U.S. Women’s Open history.
Olson aced the 139-yard, par 3 No. 16 hole on Thursday. It marked the 28th hole-in-one in U.S. Women’s Open history. Later in the day, Yu Jin Sung of South Korea carded the 29th hole-in-one in Open history acing the par 3, 169-yard No. 4 hole.
Olson had a highly decorated junior and amateur career that included winning the 2009 U.S. Girls’ Junior, amassing a record 20 collegiate titles at NDSU and representing the USA in the 2012 Curtis Cup Match. Since joining the pro ranks, she surprisingly hasn’t cracked the winner’s circle. There have been plenty of chances, however.
She was in the final group on Sunday at the ANA Inspiration in 2018 before finishing tied for ninth. Later that summer, she was in position to win The Evian Championship, but a double bogey on the 72nd hole allowed Angela Stanford to sneak past her and win her first major.
Earlier this year, she was the runner-up in the ISPS Handa Australian Open. As an amateur in the 2011 U.S. Women’s Open, Olson briefly held the first-round lead with a 69 only to fade on the weekend and finish 63rd.
This is Olson’s fourth U.S. Open appearance, with her best finish in 52nd place.