Rosales rekindles upward mobility in Mobile

Jennifer Rosales (file photo)

Jennifer Rosales (file photo)

MOBILE, Ala. – Jennifer Rosales arrived on U.S. soil for the first time in 2012 on Monday. The Filipino has been an afterthought these past few years on the LPGA, a two-time tour winner who struggled to keep her card each year. It’s a wonder she’s even in the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic this week.

Rosales showed flashes of her former talent April 26 with a 5-under 67 at RTJ Golf Trail’s Crossings Course, putting her in a tie for first with Lindsey Wright and Caroline Hedwall. Rosales called it an “easy day.”

To listen to Rosales talk, one might think she’s 83 rather than 33. Injuries have held her back for half of her professional career, most notably a torn wrist tendon. She even went to a hospital here Wednesday because she feared a blot clot had formed in her leg after the long flight from the Philippines.

Rosales has played twice in Asia this year, and Mobile marks her first start on the LPGA. Her last top 10 came way back in 2005.

“I’m doing scuba diving in the offseason,” said Rosales, a free spirit who didn’t seem all that concerned by her limited schedule.

Rosales was as bright as ever, wearing a yellow bandana around her head and colorful clothes. She’s about as far from the cookie-cutter pro as one can get. It will be interesting to see how long she sticks around.

• • •

Oh, it’s Hur: Here’s a simple rule for professional athletes who are trying to make a name for themselves: Don’t change your name.

The only exception to this rule belongs to Birdie Kim, who changed her name shortly before winning the 2005 U.S. Women’s Open. Everyone remembers Birdie, even though she’s now back on the Symetra Tour (formally Futures).

M.J. Hur, an LPGA winner who is in her fourth season on tour, has decided to drop the initials and go back to Mi Jung Hur.

“Because I just want to start like fresh and new with my real name,” said Hur, who shot 4 under and is one back of the leaders.

It might take a while to catch on.

• • •

Head games: Azahara Munoz, who is gaining in popularity each week, credits much of her recent success to an attitude adjustment. The Spaniard let emotions get the best of her earlier in the season when things weren’t going her way.

“I was miserable in Phoenix,” Munoz said. “I’d had enough.”

Since that mental check, Munoz hasn’t finished outside the top 15, including a runner-up last week in Hawaii. She opened with a 69 in Mobile.

• • •

A night to remember: Lexi Thompson’s search for a prom date took an odd twist this week. Thompson, 17, posted a video on her Facebook account addressed to American troops.

“For my date, I’m looking for someone special and somebody that I respect,” said Thompson, who was home-schooled in Coral Springs, Fla., and will attend prom at Coral Glades High School. “That’s why I’m choosing a guy from the service.”

Members of the Armed Services must be ages 18 to 20. The candidate must upload a photo to Thompson’s Facebook timeline and state his case for being picked. The winner gets a free trip to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for the big event May 18. Thompson and her fans will choose her man. There is no height limit, but given the fact that the nearly 6-foot-tall Thompson will be wearing heels, it will be considered.

Wonder if she’ll bring security.

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