OAKMONT, Pa. – The sheen’s off.
Kelli Shean, the South African amateur who developed her game in Ernie Els’ youth program, fell out of contention Friday at the U.S. Women’s Open with an 8-over 79. She was a shot off the lead following her surprise 70 on Thursday, which Els watched on TV.
Shean, a University of Arkansas golfer who dates her caddie, never found the groove and rhythm she discovered while being one of only five to break par during the opening round.
She admittedly had trouble sleeping, getting to bed only five hours before her Friday round began at 7 a.m.
Maybe she should have slept in.
“I just couldn’t sleep – the whole thing is just so amazing,” said Shean, who played only one LPGA tournament before qualifying for the U.S. Women’s Open. “Everyone’s going crazy over all this.”
Shean also has a lot more friends than she did a couple of days ago. She received scores of new Facebook friend requests, and she accepted most.
She also was surprised when some hearing-impaired fans joined her early morning gallery to encourage her. Shean has a hearing impairment.
OAKMONT, 18 YEARS LATER: Martha Nause, the oldest player in the 156-golfer field at age 55, first played on the LPGA Tour in 1978. There was always something missing in her career until now: playing at Oakmont.
Nause qualified for the 1992 U.S. Women’s Open at Oakmont, but she developed a virus that resulted in a nervous system disorder and was unable to compete. Despite the illness, she returned to win the du Maurier Classic – then a major – in 1994.
Even after she quit playing regularly on the tour and moved into coaching, she still wanted to play Oakmont. The men’s and women’s golf coach at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., qualified this year and, while she won’t make the cut, did what she first planned 18 years ago.
REACHED HER LIMIT: LPGA Championship winner Cristie Kerr was so tired after spending nearly 5 1/2 hours playing her opening round Thursday, she almost skipped dinner afterward.
“So tired, so tired,” said Kerr, the 2007 U.S. Women’s Open champion. “For example, I could have only one glass of wine last night instead of two or three.”
Uh, that might not be the image the USGA and LPGA are trying to create for impressionable young golfers.
“Just kidding,” Kerr said. “It’s a joke.”
BIG SHOT: Sun Gyong Park, a South Korean amateur, made the 21st hole-in-one in U.S. Women’s Open history on the 141-yard, par-3 sixth hole Friday. But the shot of the day might have been by Stacy Lewis.
Lewis holed out from 160 yards with a 6-iron on the 559-yard fourth hole for an eagle that helped her shoot a 1-under 70, the day’s only sub-par round. That got her to 3-over for the tournament, or three off the lead.
Lewis led the 2008 U.S. Women’s Open after three rounds before finishing five shots behind winner Inbee Park.
JANANGELO WITHDRAWS: Liz Janangelo, a former Duke golfer who regained her LPGA Tour card this year, withdrew with a hip injury three holes into her second round. She shot an opening 84.
Janangelo has missed the cut in six of her seven LPGA events this year and finished in a tie for 62nd in the other.