LPGA: Creamer shoots 60
By Rusty Miller
SYLVANIA, Ohio ó Paula Creamer knew she was playing well. She was surprised just how well.
Creamer birdied nine of the last 11 holes, including the final three, for a course-record 60 on the par-71 Highland Meadows layout Thursday. She held a five-stroke lead after the opening round of the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic.
Only after she finished did she realize how close she came to golf’s magic number of 59.
“I didn’t know it was a par 71,” Creamer said with a laugh. “I thought it was a par 72. If I would have known that, who knows?”
Creamer couldn’t have done much better. She would have had to hole out a 137-yard, 7-iron from the fairway to shoot 59. She rolled in a 20-foot birdie putt for her 60 ó her best round on tour by four strokes.
Only a handful of players have reached 59 in a competitive round on the PGA or LPGA tours.
“We were all standing on the green and Kimmie (Mi Hyun Kim) was looking at me, ‘Wow, that was unbelievable,”‘ Creamer said. “(I thought) what did we shoot here? Sixty? I didn’t know. I didn’t realize it.”
The 21-year-old Creamer’s round was her best by six strokes this season and broke Se Ri Pak’s course mark by a shot. She matched the tour record of raw score for nine holes with a 27 on the home half.
It was an epic turnaround after two recent bad rounds of note. Creamer began the final round of the U.S. Women’s Open two weeks ago a shot back of rookie Stacy Lewis. She left the course crestfallen after shooting a 5-over 78 that left her in a tie for sixth, six shots behind 19-year-old winner Inbee Park.
Last week at the NW Arkansas Championship, she was in contention heading into the final round of the 54-hole event but wilted with a 74.
Apparently she’s over those scoring woes.
While she was going over her scorecard Thursday, she lost track of what club she used on one hole.
“Too many birdies,” she cracked. “I forget.”
Eun-Hee Ji and Gloria Park each shot a 65 and were largely overlooked in the wake of Creamer’s round. Eva Dahllof and Young Kim had 66s. Defending champion Pak, trying to become the first player to win the same LPGA tournament six times, shot a 68. Michelle Wie had a 70.
Twenty-one players had yet to finish when play was suspended late in the day by lightning and heavy rain. They will complete their rounds Friday before the second round begins.
Annika Sorenstam set the LPGA Tour mark with a 59 in the second round of the 2001 Standard Register PING on a par-72 course. Creamer became the fourth LPGA Tour player to shoot 60 ó the others are Meg Mallon (2003), Jung Yeon Lee (2004), and Anna Acker-Macosko (2004).