Daniel and Creamer The Odd Couple

By Associated PressSeptember 9, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 Solheim CupCARMEL, Ind. -- One of them is the oldest player in Solheim Cup history. The other is the youngest.
 
Beth Daniel didn't need to be reminded of their ages -- she is 48, Paula Creamer is 19 -- to realize they come from different generations. She recalled the first time they played together in an LPGA Tour event earlier this year, and the conversation Creamer had with her caddie as they walked off the first tee.
 
Beth Daniel and Paula Creamer
Beth Daniel and Paula Creamer earned a half-point in the morning foursomes.
``She was telling her caddie how last night she washed her hair, then straightened it, and then she marked her balls,'' Daniel said. ``That's not the conversation I would have had with my caddie.''
 
They were an odd pairing Friday morning at Crooked Stick, but it worked.
 
Creamer made a strong debut at the Solheim Cup, setting up a string of birdies to give the Americans control of the opening alternate-shot match, then hitting a clutch shot from the bunker and watching Daniel calmly roll in the 4-foot par putt to earn a halve.
 
Stranger still, they weren't even supposed to play together.
 
The Americans intended to send out Creamer with Juli Inkster for the opening match. But Inkster developed an infection in her right index finger, and she had to get an injection Thursday to control the swelling.
 
That's where Daniel came in.
 
``I found out I was playing with her yesterday on the range,'' Daniel said. ``We had never played together. We had never practiced with each other. Paula and Juli have really bonded, and I haven't bonded as much with her. I just told her, 'We're not really comfortable with each other, but let's make the most of it.'''
 
The most nervous player on the first tee?
 
Daniel, of course.
 
Even though Daniel has played on seven previous teams, she had never felt more pressure hitting the opening tee shot, which found the left side of the fairway. Part of that was a responsibility to lead the way for the rookies.
 
``But I also felt pressure playing for Juli, wanting to get points for her,'' Daniel said. ``I got two hours of sleep.''
 
Creamer, the first LPGA Tour rookie to earn a spot on the team, had flags painted on both cheeks and on the both sides of her ankle. She had a yellow ``Support Our Troops'' ribbon painted on her left arm.
 
The kid called out the European team two weeks ago by saying, ``They had better get ready, because they're going to get beat.'' There were some snickers when her 9-iron sailed over the first green as Europe took the lead.
 
All talk and no game?
 
Not quite.
 
Daniel noticed a change on the par-5 fifth hole, when Creamer smoked a fairway metal to the front edge of the green, then rolled in a 30-inch birdie putt to square the match. That's all it took for Creamer to look like a star in the making, a high school graduate with two LPGA victories and more than $1.2 million in earnings.
 
Creamer hit her next two approach shots to 6 feet and 3 feet, then holed a 15-foot birdie putt on the eighth for a 2-up lead, and made an 8-foot birdie putt to halve the next hole.
 
Daniel was all smiles as she walked through the clubhouse parking lot toward the 10th tee.
 
``I'm riding the pony,'' she said. Then she heard the crack of a metal driver ahead of her -- it was Creamer, belting another tee shot down the middle of the fairway.
 
They weren't perfect. Creamer missed birdie putts of 10 feet on the 11th and 6 feet on the 13th that might have put the match away. Europe hung in there, despite Carin Koch missing five birdie putts inside 12 feet, and squared the match when Creamer came up 7 feet short on a birdie putt and Daniel missed it for par on the 17th.
 
But if Creamer felt butterflies on the first tee, it was suffocating on the 18th.
 
Daniel hit her approach into a bunker, and Creamer had to stand with her left foot on the side of the hill. She blasted out to 4 feet to earn a crucial half-point that the Americans desperately needed.
 
``There is nothing like this,'' Creamer said before leaving to get ready for her afternoon better-ball match -- this time with the 45-year-old Inkster.
 
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    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

    While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

    “I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

    Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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    DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

    Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

    “I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

    Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

    “Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

    Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

    “It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

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    Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

    What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

    Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    “I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

    McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

    He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

    Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

    “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

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    Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

    Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

    Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials contacted Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

    Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

    Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

    Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial.