OAKMONT, Pa. – Paula Creamer already considers Oakmont one of her favorite tracks. It’s fun; it’s hard; it can make you go crazy.
The 7:44 a.m. marquee pairing of Creamer, Suzann Pettersen and Angela Stanford kept sane in Round 1 of the U.S. Women’s Open by keeping their scores around par. Creamer was disappointed she bogeyed the last two holes (Nos. 8-9) to finish 1 over. Pettersen and Stanford shot 2 over.
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Creamer: Still searching for her first major, Creamer didn’t look like an injured player who has completed only three tournaments this year. Creamer played a steady round, with two birdies and three bogeys. She hit 10 fairways and 14 greens. The Pink Panther slapped her putter on the ninth (her 18th) after a three-putt, but kept a good perspective.
“It’s not what you want, but you have to look at the overall picture,” she said.
While many players came into this week focusing on the demands of Oakmont, Creamer raved about it. Two weeks ago at the LPGA Championship, Creamer’s eyes widened when she was told other top players thought the winning score might be as high as 10 over and that some might not break 100.
“Did I play the right course?” she asked, jokingly.
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Pettersen: Pettersen, one of this week’s favorites, said she’s hitting her irons “fantastic.” She started off shaky with bogeys on two of the first three holes, but then made consecutive birdies on 15 and 16 to settle down. She was close to making it three in a row on No. 17 when her drive on the par 4 landed four paces left of the green. She missed the short birdie putt.
Bogeys on Nos. 1 and 2 dropped her to 2 over, and despite numerous birdie chances on that side she parred the rest of the way. Still, Pettersen praised Oakmont’s greens, saying they are firm but holding nicely. She also said they were “awfully difficult” to putt.
While Pettersen’s group avoided anything more than a bogey, she admitted she does like to see the occasional train wreck when watching the men’s U.S. Open.
“I’m right in your shoes when I watch a men’s U.S. Open,” she said. “I enjoy watching their doubles and triples.”
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Stanford: Her back-nine 39 (played on the front) was salvaged by an eagle on the fourth hole. She hit a 7-wood to 20 feet.
Stanford admits the oppressive heat got to her as play was painfully slow. Her group played in 5 hours and 35 minutes.
“You’re having to put a lot of energy into every decision,” said Stanford, who as a Texan is used to heat. “There’s not a relaxing moment out there.”
Stanford, who lost in a playoff at the 2003 Open, said the winning score could be anywhere from 5-10 over. She would’ve liked to finish with a birdie on the ninth after she hit the par-5 in two, but said she’ll take her 2 over.
“I thought it was more fair than expected today,” Stanford said. “At least were some opportunities.”