Crunching the Numbers

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U.S. WomenEDINA, Minn. -- USGA executive director David Fay was talking about how June was busting out all over the other day. And what he was meaning to say, as he admittedly stole a line from Carousel, was that it has been a very good month for his organization.
 
First there was the U.S. Curtis Cup victory at St. Andrews which concluded on June 1. Then there was Tiger Woods epic win in the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines that was an instant classic.
 
And already the U.S. Womens Open at Interlachen is showings signs of being memorable. Already the numerologists like it because first round co-leader Ji Young Oh is 19 years old.
 
Earlier this month another 19-year-old, Yani Tseng, won the McDonalds LPGA, the womens second major of the season.
 
Woods need 19 holes to beat Rocco Mediate in the riveting playoff in San Diego.
 
And many weekend players will gladly tell you the 19th is their favorite hole.
 
Not to torture the numbers too much. But Michelle Wies next birthday will be her 19th. Which might have been part of the problem Thursday.
 
Wie, you see, shot an 8-over par 81, which is her age transposed. On the par 4 ninth hole, Wie shot half her age. Yes, she made a quintuple bogey 9 on a hole that normally plays as the 18th for the members.
 
It was like a blur, Wie said after her round. I had trouble counting how many shots I had. It just happened.
 
And it happened mostly because she hit a driver (she later said she should have hit 3-wood) into the woods right, played up short on her second and blew her third over the green. Long on the severely back-to-front sloped ninth green is the worst place to be on the entire golf course.
 
But enough about Wie.
 
And a little more about another 18-year-old, Colombias Maria Jose Uribe. All Uribe did Thursday was fire a neat little 69 at an Interlachen that most players admitted was playing benign. Uribe is the reigning U.S. Womens Amateur champion and just completed her freshman year at UCLA where she will return to college golf in the fall.
 
Even more impressive than the number she posted was the company in which she played. Her esteemed grouping included defending champion Cristie Kerr and World No. 1 Lorena Ochoa. Uribe beat the former by three shots and the latter by four.
 
By she paid a price. Walking up the 18th hole Mexicos Ochoa teased Uribe about how good her English is. Uribe said it was like that all day, a pleasant fun group. She also vowed to improve her second language.
 
I dont think my English is very good, Uribe said. But Im working on it.
 
For the record, Uribes English is better than Ochoas whose English is, arguably, better than Boo Weekleys.
 
Then theres Laura Davies, whose English is, well, English.
 
The 44-year-old Davies was born in Coventry and lists her residence as Ottershaw, UK. If she hadnt spent much of her career loyally propping up the Ladies European Tour, she would have played more in the States and qualified for the World Golf Hall of Fame years ago.
 
As it is, one major victory gets her in the Hall. And we shouldnt be surprised if it happens here. Davies cruised to a first round 70 and afterward said she has always thought that Interlachen, with its five par 5s, would be her best chance to win another U.S. Womens Open.
 
She captured her first in 1987 at Plainfield Country Club in New Jersey. More relevantly, she played well and came to love Interlachen at the 2002 Solheim Cup matches played here.
 
The hardest thing about trying to win a second U.S. Open 21 years after winning her first?
 
I see more negative stuff than I used to, Davies said, referring to the mind games that plague so many golfers.
 
June could be the answer to that problem.
 
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - U.S. Women's Open
  • Full Coverage - U.S. Women's Open