Wie Creamer Top List of Talented Teens

By Associated PressJune 30, 2004, 4:00 pm
2004 U.S. WomenSOUTH HADLEY, Mass. -- Michelle Wie is the most famous teenager in golf. That doesn't mean she's the best - not yet, anyway.
The 14-year-old Hawaiian showed up at the U.S. Women's Open with plenty of company - a record 16 teenagers in the 156-player field at Orchards Golf Club.
That doesn't include Morgan Pressel, the 16-year-old pixie from south Florida who whipped Wie in the third round of the U.S. Junior Girls Amateur last summer. Also absent is Ya-Ni Tseng of Taiwan, the 15-year-old who rallied over the closing holes to beat Wie last week in the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links.
Wie finished ahead of Annika Sorenstam in the first LPGA Tour major of the year. She was better than Adam Scott over two days at the Sony Open, where her 68 was the best ever by a female on the PGA Tour.
She wants to play both tours one day, and Ernie Els is among those who believes she can. But there is plenty of competition in her own age group.
Topping the list is Paula Creamer, the 17-year-old Californian with an engaging smile and a game that is only now starting to get noticed.
Creamer starred at the Curtis Cup last month. With matches tied at 6 going into the Sunday singles, Creamer was sent out in the first match against the best from Great Britain & Ireland, Emma Duggleby, beating her 3 and 2 to give the United States an emotional lift on its way to a 10-8 victory.
When they returned home, Wie went to the men's Amateur Public Links and failed to qualify by one shot. Creamer competed on the LPGA Tour and finished second, one shot behind Cristie Kerr, at the ShopRite Classic. Wie has never been higher than fourth on the LPGA, although that was at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, a major.
The following week, Wie lost in the finals of the Women's Amateur Public Links, a noble effort considering the vagaries of match play and the pressure she faced as defending champion.
Creamer continued her tour of the LPGA and tied for 12th in Rochester, N.Y., on a tough course. She was one of only five players who shot par or better all four days.
Despite their age, a rivalry already is budding.
It started last summer in the Women's Open, when Creamer delighted in getting grouped with - and beating - Wie in the 36-hole qualifier. Wie-mania was just taking off, but the 17-year-old Creamer wanted nothing to do with it.
'She's just another junior golfer,' Creamer said at the time. 'I don't really see her as someone beyond me. I've played her twice and beat her both times.'
An icy relationship quickly melted as Curtis Cup teammates, starting with a four-day practice session when Wie and Creamer took walks on the beach at Sea Island.
'We really got to know each other,' Wie said. 'We got really close.'
Creamer was baited into talk of a rivalry on Tuesday, but she refused to take even a nibble and at one point started laughing even before the question was posed.
'Just waiting to hear what's next,' she said.
Do you want to beat Michelle as badly as you did last year?
'I try to play the golf course, really,' Creamer said, stifling a smile. 'I would like to beat anybody I play. But there's not one person that I try to beat.'
Still, the attention heaped on Wie motivates her.
'She asked me one time, 'Does she (Wie) ever get questions about me?'' said her father, Paul Creamer, a pilot for American Airlines. 'I said, 'If not, she should.' But it all goes back to taking care of what you can control. People in the golf world know what's going on.
'Put their resumes together and people can come to their own interpretations.'
Creamer has All-Star credentials for a senior-to-be at the David Leadbetter Academy in Bradenton, Fla., where she has spent the last four years. She has won 16 prominent junior titles and has thrived in three international competitions at the Junior Solheim Cup, the Spirit and the Curtis Cup.
'Paula doesn't have anything to prove,' her father said.
Wie has won only one title of distinction, but it was a biggie. A year ago at age 13, she became the youngest winner of a USGA championship for grown-ups when she captured the Women's Amateur Public Links. She outlasted Duke star Virada Nirapathpongporn, who went on to win the U.S. Women's Amateur later that summer.
Her father, B.J. Wie, is taking an unconventional route by sending her out against the best.
She already has played against the men on the Canadian, Nationwide and PGA Tour, missing the cut in all of them. But she captured everyone's imagination, and showed her awesome potential, with a 68 in the Sony Open that left her one stroke shy of playing on the weekend.
On the LPGA Tour, she has made the cut in nine of her last 10 tournaments and would have earned enough money in three events this year to be 41st on the money list.
Some argue, Tiger Woods included, that Wie needs to experience winning. But she is only 14, and it is too early to judge the path she is taking.
One thing seems certain - that path figures to intersect with Creamer at some point, if it hasn't already.
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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    Winning on Kerr's mind this week and beyond

    By Randall MellMarch 24, 2018, 2:11 am

    Cristie Kerr moved into position Friday to do more than win the 21st LPGA title of her career.

    She moved into position to claim an LPGA Hall of Fame point this week.

    Yes, winning is foremost on her mind at the Kia Classic, where she took the lead with an 8-under-par 64 in the second round, she’s on a larger quest, too.

    After turning 40 last fall, Kerr was asked what her goals are.

    “The Hall of Fame is attainable, if I stick with it,” she said.

    Kerr is five shots ahead of Lizette Salas (67), In-Kyung Kim (69), Hee Young Park (70) and Caroline Hedwall (70).

    It’s a good time for Kerr to get on a hot streak, with the year’s first major championship, the ANA Inspiration, next week. She has long been one of the best putters in the women’s game, but her ball-striking is impressive this week. She hit 17 greens in regulation Thursday, and she hit 16 on Friday.

    “I like winning,” Kerr said. “I like challenging myself. Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older, with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, `Man, why does my hamstring hurt?’ From working around this hilly golf course.”

    Kerr acknowledged Friday that her body is more vulnerable to time’s realities, but her mind isn’t.

    Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

    “The golf ball doesn't know an age,” Kerr said. “I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.”

    Kerr won two weeks after her 40th birthday last fall, boosting her LPGA Hall of Fame point total to 22. She is five points short of eligibility for induction. A player earns one point for an LPGA victory and two points for a major championship title. So there’s a lot of Hall of Fame ground to gain this week and next.

    It’s a long-term goal that motivates Kerr to take care of her body.

    “I don't think the golf changes,” Kerr said. “I think, physically, it gets harder as you get older. Like I said, I've got tape on my hamstring. I strained it, just a little bit yesterday, walking around this golf course. It's tough as you get older, just being fresh and rested. I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.”

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    Big names chasing Kerr into the weekend at Kia Classic

    By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 1:55 am

    CARLSBAD, Calif. - Cristie Kerr shot an 8-under 64 on Friday in the Kia Classic to take a five-stroke lead into the weekend.

    The 40-year-old Kerr had eight birdies in her second straight bogey-free round to reach 13-under 131 at rain-softened Aviara.

    ''I like winning. I like challenging myself,'' Kerr said. ''Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, 'Man, why does my hamstring hurt?' From working around this hilly golf course. The golf ball doesn't know an age. I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.''

    She has 20 LPGA victories, winning at Aviara in 2015. She won twice last year and helped the U.S. beat Europe in her ninth Solheim Cup appearance.

    ''It's tough as you get older just being fresh and rested,'' Kerr said. ''I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.''

    Lizette Salas, In-Kyung Kim, Hee Young Park and Caroline Hedwall were tied for second. Salas shot 67, Kim 69, and Park and Hedwall 70.

    ''I really like this golf course. I really like the environment,'' said Salas, the former University of Southern California player from Azusa. ''My family gets to come out. So much confidence at the beginning of the week, and definitely showed the first two days.

    Jeong Eun Lee was 7 under after a 69, and defending ANA champion So Yeon Ryu had a 70 to get to 6 under.

    Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

    Ariya Jutanugarn (72), Brooke Henderson (70) and 2016 winner Lydia Ko (71) were 5 under. Shanshan Feng (68) was another stroke back, and Singapore winner Michelle Wie (72) was 1 under.

    Lexi Thompson was 2 over after a 74, making the cut on the number in the final event before the major ANA Inspiration next week at Mission Hills.

    Kerr opened with birdies on the par-5 10th and par-3 11th, added birdies on the par-4 16th, 18th and second, and ran off three in a row on the par-3 sixth, par-4 seventh and par-5 eighth.

    ''I don't think you can fall asleep on one shot,'' Kerr said. ''It's a really good golf course. I think I play better on courses that demand the focus, so I think that's why I've played well here in the past. ... I'm trying not to put limits on myself right now. I've got some good things going on with my swing.''

    She has long been one best putters and green-readers in the world.

    ''I can see the subtleties that a lot of people can't,'' Kerr said. ''It's a gift from God being able to do that. I've always had that, so I'm lucky.''

    Laura Davies withdrew after an opening 82. The 54-year-old Davies tied for second last week in the Founders Cup in Phoenix, playing through painful left Achilles and calf problems.

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    DJ hits 489-yard drive, but it doesn't count for history

    By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 12:22 am

    AUSTIN, Texas – Dustin Johnson is no stranger to big drives, but even for DJ this one was impressive.

    Trailing in his Day 3 match at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Johnson launched a drive at the par-5 12th hole that traveled 489 yards, but that number comes with an asterisk.

    “He got lucky it hit the road,” smiled Kevin Kisner, who was leading the world No. 1, 3 up, at the time. “I thought he would make an eagle for sure, he only had 80 yards [to the hole]. He didn’t hit a very good putt.”

    WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

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    Johnson’s drive, which was 139 yards past Kisner’s tee shot, is the longest recorded on the PGA Tour in the ShotLink era, surpassing Davis Love III’s drive of 476 yards in 2004 at the Tournament of Champions.

    The drive will not go into the record books, however, because the Tour doesn’t count statistics from the Match Play.

    It should also be noted, Kisner halved the 12th hole with a birdie and won the match, 4 and 3, to advance to the round of 16.

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    Durant leads Champions event in Mississippi

    By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 12:21 am

    BILOXI, Miss. - Joe Durant had three straight birdies in a back-nine burst and a shot 6-under 66 on Friday to take the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions' Rapiscan Systems Classic.

    Durant birdied the par-4 11th and 12th and par-5 13th in the bogey-free round at breezy and rain-softened Fallen Oak. Because of the wet conditions, players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairway.

    ''It just sets up nice to my eye,'' Durant said. ''It's a beautiful golf course and it's very challenging. The tee shots seem to set up well for me, but the greens are maybe as quick as I've ever seen them here. You really have to put the ball in the right spots. I played very nice today. With the wind swirling like it was, I'm really happy.''

    He won the Chubb Classic last month in Naples, Florida, for his third victory on the 50-and-over tour.

    Full-field scores from the Rapiscan Systems Classic

    ''Done this long enough, Friday's just one day,'' Durant said. ''Especially in a three-day tournament, you've got to go out and shoot three good numbers. Fortunate to put one on the board, but I know I have to back it up with a couple of good days because you can get passed very quickly out here.''

    Mark Calcavecchia was a stroke back. He won last month in Boca Raton, Florida

    ''It's probably my best round I've ever had here and it was a tough day to play,'' Calcavecchia said. ''The greens are just lightning fast. They're pretty slopey greens, so very difficult to putt.''

    Steve Stricker was third at 68. He took the Tucson, Arizona, event three weeks ago for his first senior victory.

    ''Just getting it around and managing my game I think like I always do,'' Stricker said. ''You get in the wrong position here with the greens being so fast and you're going to be in trouble. I did that a couple times today.''

    Billy Mayfair, Billy Andrade and David McKenzie shot 69. Jerry Kelly, the winner of the season-opening event in Hawaii, was at 70 with Wes Short Jr., Glen Day, Gene Sauers and Jesper Parnevik.

    Bernhard Langer opened with a 71, and two-time defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez had a 72.

    Vijay Singh, coming off his first senior victory two weeks ago in Newport Beach, California, had a 73.