Bader Records Personal Best to Lead in NY


Beth Bader surprised everyone, including herself, with brilliant play that jettisoned the 28-year-old into the lead along with Sherri Steinhauer and Laura Diaz. All three competitors recorded 6-under 66s in the opening round of the LPGA Corning Classic.
Bogey on the opening hole and on the par-4 17th marred Baders otherwise magnificent round, consisting of six birdies and a hole-in-one on the par-3 15th from 117 yards out.
Me and my caddie, Amy, were contemplating what the number was because I had 108 to the front and she had 106, Bader said. I'm like, 'All right, let's do 107, then add 10 to the pin.' I'm never exactly precise with my numbers, which is okay; it's just how I've always done it.
I pulled a good pitching wedge. I almost pulled a 9. She kind of looked at me funny and said, 'How about hitting a hard pitching wedge, stay aggressive with it.' That's exactly what I did. It never wavered really. It was on line the whole way.
I just kind of drew a blank from there. I just remember jumping up and down.
Today marked a huge turn around for Bader ' who just this month underwent a full-day health evaluation with Dr. Rippe at Rippe Health Assessment in Celebration, Fla. Progress reports on Bader's improvement can be seen monthly on Golf Academy Live.
Just one week ago - to the day - the second-year LPGA Tour member recorded 12-over-par 84 in the first round of the Asahi Ryokuken International Championship at Mount Vintage, so her round Thursday was a tremendous turnaround in anyones estimation.
Bader bested her career-low round of 67 by one stroke - ironically, she recorded the 67 during the first round of the 2001 Asahi Ryokuken International.
Bader was ranked 431st with $25,422 in career earnings at the end of 2001, forcing her to return to Q-school at the end of the season, where she tied for 10th to gain exempt status. This season she has won a paltry $7,041 in eight tournaments.
I really didn't know what I thought coming out after getting my card the first year. Yeah, I knew it was going to be difficult. It has been very difficult. There's times where I'm like, 'What am I doing out here? Why am I here? Is this worth it?'
Today definitely makes it worth it, you know. Today was a good day.
Sherri Steinhauer, winner of five career victories, made her season debut in the pressroom Thursday.
I haven't gotten off to a great start this year. But I've been patient. I feel like my game's coming around, she said. Basically, right now, you know, it's just Thursday - theres a long way to go till Sunday.
Steinhauer hit nine fairways and 13 greens in regulation during the opening round, recording seven birdies and a bogey at the turn on the par-4 ninth.
Early-round leaders Bader and Steinhauer watched as native New Yorker Diaz and her legion of followers marched up the leaderboard.
My father runs a golf school in Cooperstown, New York, in the summertime. My father and mother are here today. My sister, as well, joined us. And my husband is here, Diaz, a former Scotia, N.Y. resident said of her personal gallery.
We'll have a few more people out tomorrow. My parents will not be here, but some friends from Scotia will be coming out tomorrow and throughout the weekend. It's nice to be able to see my parents out because that doesn't happen very much. Same with my sister. She doesn't get a chance to really get out here that much. Then, you know, on the weekend, to have friends that you haven't seen in six months or so, it's just a nice feeling to know there's people in the crowd that are cheering for you and excited when you make a birdie.
Diaz, a recent first time winner on the LPGA Tour (2002 Welchs/Circle K Championship) had a flawless front nine and only a slight hiccup on the par-3 15th where she made bogey after three-putting.
I think after anyone wins, you have added confidence. I know that's what's happened to me. But, you know, there are still so many golf holes to be played, you know, and a lot of birdies to be made.
I think the next three days, all the players who are on the board, whether or not they've been in contention or not, they're still all going to go out with the same purpose and trying to make as many birdies as possible, as well as people who might not be on the leaderboard yet, I'm sure they'll creep their way up there.
Jill McGill, Val Skinner, Jung Yeon Lee and Laurie Brower are all tied at 5-under.
Less than a week ago, Corning Country Club was blanketed with snow. Thursday, Corning experienced picture-perfect weather with temperatures in the 70s for the first round of the LPGA Corning Classic. Over half the field recorded par or better, which is a direct reflection of the conditions at this golf course. Good weather is expected through the weekend.
Full-field scores from the Corning Classic