Having qualified in mid-May for the U.S. Women’s Open, Chelsea Harris had more than a month to prepare for the biggest tournament in which she’s played.

On Thursday, Harris hit the course bright and early for her 5:45 a.m. tee time at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y., for the 68th U.S. Women’s Open Championship.

She finished the first round with a 9-over-par 81, good for 145th place heading into Friday’s action.

The field of 156 players will be cut to the low 60 scores and ties through Friday for the final two rounds Saturday and Sunday.

Harris, a Normal resident, will tee off at 12:30 p.m. Friday.

Harris started off Thursday’s round in solid fashion, posting pars on her first three holes. She then hit a rough spot with four straight bogeys before closing the front nine with a birdie at the eighth hole (her only birdie) and a par on nine.

Harris carded a 43 on the back nine, managing to hit 13 of 14 fairways overall while also finishing with 35 putts (good for a 1.94 per-hole average).

Growing up in Channahon, Harris moved to Normal with her family after she graduated from Channahon Junior High. She was a member of two state champion golf teams at Normal University High.

Harris attended the University of Iowa, where in her senior season (2011-12) she averaged a team-best 76.28 average (2,441 strokes) over 32 rounds while also completing the third-lowest round in school history (69).

At the U.S. Women’s Open qualifying May 14 at Cantigny Golf Course, Harris finished in second place with a 145, two shots behind champ Caroline Powers, of East Lansing, Mich.

Chicago firefighter takes up golf, produces results

Kevin Lee can’t remember a shot quite like this.

Six inches, a foot, even two or three feet, his tee shot never had landed this close to the hole on a par-3 quite like this.

But playing with two fellow firefighters, Jerry Cambria and John Glennon, Lee did not just put his shot close to the hole. He put it close and rolled it in, good for a hole-in-one June 18 at Meadows Golf Course in Blue Island.

“I went about five years where I didn’t play much, didn’t take golf too seriously,” Lee said. “The last couple of years I started playing more again, and I just love the sport.”

A 26-year veteran of the Chicago Fire Department Lee, a Mount Greenwood resident, recorded his first career ace on No. 13 at the Meadows, hitting a 149-yard shot off the tee with a 6-iron. Lee said he originally intended to hit with an 8-iron but clubbed down at the last second.

His shot off the tee appeared to go right of the flag, but a little gust helped him out.

“It was cold out, and nobody was really out there, but the wind was blowing good,” Lee said. “I tried to hit it pretty good and at the green, where I would have been really happy. Wherever it landed, I thought ‘I’ll chip.’ Jerry and John, we all saw it curving.”

The ball curved back toward the flag, landed and began rolling and rolling ...

“Jerry and John jumped higher than I did,” Lee said. “It feels pretty good. I have fun with (golf), and I try to do a little better each time out.”