Creamer holds lead at US Womens Open

By Associated PressJuly 11, 2010, 5:05 am

2010 U.S. Women

OAKMONT, Pa.– One more day like this, and Paula Creamer will no longer be the best LPGA golfer who hasn’t won a major.

Creamer kept her game together as a dozen others were losing theirs on a grueling day at the U.S. Women’s Open on Saturday, taking a three-shot lead over Wendy Ward that she hopes will hold up in the final round.

That, and her left thumb.

Creamer, who has eight top-10 finishes in majors at age 23 but has yet to win one, is playing in only her fourth tournament since sitting out four months to surgically repair a hyperextended joint. The injury is so painful she limits her practice shots because she can’t stand the constant pounding of her golf club striking the ground.

Maybe that was the best way to prepare for the demanding Oakmont Country Club, whose stray shot-grabbing bunkers and tricky-to-read greens doomed the hopes of contender after contender on a day when play began at dawn and extended to sundown.

Namely, stay off it as much as possible.

Creamer, who played 29 holes Saturday, is 1 under for the tournament with five holes remaining in a third round that will be completed Sunday morning. Ward has only No. 18 to play. Suzann Pettersen is four back with four holes to go, while 15-year-old Alexis Thompson, Amy Yang and Brittany Lang are five back. Only Thompson completed the third round.

Creamer, sixth in the last two U.S. Women’s Opens, played all but two holes of her 1-under 70 in the morning – the only below-par score among those completing the second round on Saturday. She followed that by getting three birdies and two bogeys during the third round, with the second bogey coming on No. 13 just as the USGA sounded a horn halting play due to dwindling light.

“I played really consistent – I stuck to my game plan,” Creamer said. “If I hit a lot of greens, I know birdies will come. I know every par I won’t lose ground, so I keep going with that mindset. I was trying to stay at patient as I can.”

All this only a weekend after she missed the cut in the Jamie Farr Classic.

The only other 70 of the day was by Thompson, who is playing in her fourth Women’s Open – her fourth – despite not yet being 16 but only her second tournament as a pro. She is at 4-over 217.

Like most teenagers, Thompson is glad she gets to sleep in Sunday.

“I’m really thankful I don’t have to come back at 7:30 to play for likely just a hole,” said Thompson, whose father, Scott, is toting her bag.

Thompson found herself outplaying two former world No. 1-ranked golfers, LPGA Tour money leader Ai Miyazato and Jiyai Shin.

“I never thought of that; I’m just watching their games and how good they are,” she said. “How good they putt is amazing.”

Imagine the quandary the LPGA would find itself in if Thompson would somehow win; she’s not eligible to play full-time on the tour until she’s 18.

Of course, maybe Creamer has this going for her: Of the last 14 majors, 11 have been one by first-timers.

As Creamer was stringing together par after par, playing partner Cristie Kerr – the runaway 12-shot winner of the LPGA Championship only two weeks ago – was faltering.

Kerr went from one shot off the lead at the start of the third round to eight down in 12 holes, aided by back-to-back double bogeys on Nos. 4 and 5. She birdied both holes during the first two rounds.

At the same time, Creamer birdied the fourth and parred the fifth, quickly separating herself from pre-tournament favorite Kerr by six shots.

It was the exact opposite of last year’s Women’s Open third round when, also playing together at Saucon Valley, Kerr had a 1-over 72 and Creamer soared to a 79. Kerr ended up tying for third while Creamer had a final-round 69 to tie for sixth.

So much for rest being a factor. While Creamer played the equivalent of a full round and much of another, Kerr played only 13 because she completed the second round before heavy rain halted play Friday.

Creamer has won eight LPGA tournaments but doesn’t have a victory since 2008. Her best finishes in majors were third-place ties at the 2005 LPGA and 2009 Women’s British.

Creamer tied for 42nd at the LPGA but was at another major this year, too; bored during her layoff following surgery, she attended the Masters.

If the leaderboard holds up, an American will win the nation’s Open championship for only the second time in six years; Creamer and Ward are from the United States. Only two Americans are currently ranked in the world top 10: No. 1 Kerr and No. 10 Michelle Wie, who missed the cut.

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Elway to play in U.S. Senior Open qualifier

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 23, 2018, 10:25 pm

Tony Romo is not the only ex-QB teeing it up against the pros.

Denver Broncos general manager and Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway will try to qualify for the U.S. Senior Open next week, according to the Denver Post.

And why not? The qualifier and the senior major will be held in Colorado Springs at the Broadmoor. Elway is scheduled to tee off May 28 at 12:10 p.m. ET. The top two finishers will earn a spot in the U.S. Senior Open, June 27 to July 1.

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Jutanugarn sisters: Different styles, similar results

By Associated PressMay 23, 2018, 10:20 pm

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn play golf and live life differently.

The sisters from Thailand do have the same goal in the LPGA, hoping their shot-to-shot focus leads to titles.

The Jutanugarns are two of six women with a shot at the Volvik Championship to become the circuit's first two-time winner this year. The first round begins Thursday at Travis Pointe Country Club, a course six winners are skipping to prepare elsewhere for next week's U.S. Women's Open at Shoal Creek in Alabama.

''Everybody has a chance to win every weekend,'' Moriya said. ''That's how hard it is on tour right now.''

Ariya competes with a grip-it-and-rip-it approach, usually hammering a 3-wood off the tee.

Moriya takes a more calculated approach, analyzing each shot patiently.

That's perhaps fitting because she's 16 months older than her sister.

''It's funny because when we think about something, it's always the different,'' she said. ''But we pretty much end up with the same idea.''

Off the course, they're also different.

The 22-year-old Ariya appears careful and guarded when having conversations with people she doesn't know well. The 23-year-old Moriya, meanwhile, enjoys engaging in interesting discussions with those who cross her path.

Their mother, Narumon, was with her daughters Wednesday and the three of them always stay together as a family. They don't cook during tournament weeks and opt to eat out, searching for good places like the sushi restaurant they've discovered near Travis Pointe.

Their father, Somboon, does not watch them play in person. They sisters say he has retired from owning a golf shop in Thailand.

''He doesn't travel anymore,'' Moriya Jutanugarn said.

Even if he is relegating to watching from the other side of the world, Somboon Jutanugarn must be proud of the way his daughters are playing.

Ariya became the first Thai winner in LPGA history in 2016, the same year she went on to win the inaugural Volvik Championship. She earned her eighth career victory last week in Virginia and is one of two players, along with Brooke Henderson, to have LPGA victories this year and the previous two years.

Moriya won for the first time in six years on the circuit last month in Los Angeles, joining Annika and Charlotta Sorenstam as the two pairs of sisters to have LPGA victories.

On the money list, Ariya is No. 1 and her sister is third.

In terms of playing regularly, no one is ahead of them.

Ariya is the only LPGA player to start and make the cut in all 12 events this year. Moriya Jutanugarn has also appeared in each tournament this year and failed to make the cut only once.

Instead of working in breaks to practice without competing or simply relax, they have entered every tournament so far and shrug their shoulders at the feat.

''It's not that bad, like 10 week in a row,'' Moriya said.

The LPGA is hosting an event about five miles from Michigan Stadium for a third straight year and hopes to keep coming back even though it doesn't have a title sponsor secured for 2019. LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan told reporters he's confident Ann Arbor will be a long-term home for the circuit.

''I can't tell you the specifics about how we're going to do that,'' Whan acknowledged.

LPGA and tournament officials are hosting some prospective sponsors this week, trying to persuade them to put their name on the tournament.

Volvik, which makes golf balls, is preparing to scale back its support of the tournament.

''We're coming back,'' said Don Shin, president of Volvik USA. ''We just don't know in what capacity.''

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Wise: 'No hard feelings' over Nelson missed kiss

By Will GrayMay 23, 2018, 10:18 pm

Aaron Wise left the AT&T Byron Nelson with his first PGA Tour trophy and a seven-figure paycheck. But lost in the shuffle of closing out his breakthrough victory in near-darkness was his failed attempt for a celebratory kiss with his girlfriend on the 18th green.

Wise appeared to go in for a peck after his family joined him on the putting surface, but instead he and his girlfriend simply laughed and hugged. After the moment gained a bit of online notoriety, Wise told reporters at the Fort Worth Invitational that the young couple simply laughed it off.

"Yeah, I have been giving her some s--- about that," Wise said. "A lot has been made about it. It's really nothing. Like I was saying, she was just so excited to surprise me. I was kind of ruining the surprise a little bit that she was shocked, and she didn't even see me going in for the kiss."

At age 21, Wise is now one of the youngest winners on Tour. He explained that while both his girlfriend and mother flew in to watch the final round at Trinity Forest Golf Club, where he shared the 54-hole lead and eventually won by three shots, he took some of the surprise out of their arrival in true millennial fashion - by looking up his girlfriend's location earlier in the day.

Still getting used to his newfound status on Tour, Wise downplayed any controversy surrounding the kiss that wasn't.

"No hard feelings at all," Wise said. "We love each other a ton and we're great. It was a funny moment that I think we'll always be able to look back at, but that's all it really was."

Mmm Visuals / Lancaster Country Club

Giving back: Chun creates education fund at site of Open win

By Randall MellMay 23, 2018, 8:04 pm

South Korea’s In Gee Chun is investing in American youth.

Chun broke through on the largest stage in women’s golf, winning the U.S. Women’s Open three years ago, and she’s making sure Lancaster, Pa., continues to share in what that brought her.

Chun is preparing for next week’s U.S. Women’s Open at Shoal Creek outside Birmingham, Ala., but she made a special stop this week. She returned to the site of her breakthrough in Pennsylvania on Tuesday and Wednesday, launching the In Gee Chun Lancaster Country Club Education Fund. She announced Tuesday that she’s donating $10,000 to seed the fund. She’s expected to raise more than $20,000 for the cause in a fundraising dinner at the club Wednesday evening. The fund will annually award scholarships to Lancaster youth applicants, including Lancaster Country Club caddies and children of club employees.

“I’m excited to be back here,” said Chun, who put on a junior clinic during her stay and also played an outing with club members. “Winning the U.S. Women’s Open here in Lancaster gave me the opportunity to play on the LPGA and make one of my dreams come true.”

Chun also supports a fund in her name at Korea University, where she graduated, a fund for various “social responsibility” projects and for the educational needs of the youth who create them.

“Education is very important to me,” Chun said. “I would like to help others reach their goals.”

Chun made donations to the Lancaster General Health Foundation in 2015 and ’16 and to Pennsylvania’s J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Trust last year. Lancaster Country Club officials estimate she has now made donations in excess of $40,000 to the community.

“We are grateful In Gee’s made such a wonderful connection to our community and club,” said Rory Connaughton, a member of Lancaster Country Club’s board of governors. “She’s a special person.”