Kraft notebook: Shin ailing, Creamer enduring
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. More than anything, Jiyai Shin was happy to finish the round. The two-time British Open champion has been battling a lower back injury in the last week and pulled out of the Tuesday pro-am at the Kraft Nabisco Championship. She tried to play nine holes on Wednesday but lasted only five.
Turns out the ailment was a bit of an aid to Shin, who is 3 under for the tournament and two strokes behind leader Na Yeon Choi.
“I’m just playing very safe, not aggressive,” said Shin. “I make less bogeys, less mistakes.”
Shin went to a hospital in Orange County last week to see a Korean doctor, getting acupuncture treatments and ultrasound. Because her back hurts if she hits it firm, Shin has focused a lot on tempo this week. She hit 25 of 28 fairways the first two rounds.
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Creamer looking up: Paula Creamer rebounded nicely with a 4-under 68, vaulting her into the top 10 from T-53. It’s fairly obvious from Creamer’s hoarse voice that she’s feeling under the weather. Creamer lost her grandmother, Florence Stanton, on Easter Sunday. Last year at this time, she lost her father’s dad, Tom Creamer, a man she called her biggest fan.
“My grandma passed away, and I'm just not sleeping and my body kind of shut down,” Creamer said. “But last night was a rough night, but other than that, I'm feeling a little bit better.”
A tweak on the putting green Thursday night led to a six-birdie round. She had 27 putts on Friday.
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Concolino's link to the past: Jacqui Concolino, playing in her third major championship, has already made a little bit of history this week. She’s the first Vanderbilt grad to compete in the Kraft Nabisco Championship, a significant note given that the late Dinah Shore also graduated from Vanderbilt.
“Also, my grandfather, who got me into golf, I called him Poppie,” said Concolino, alluding to Poppie's Pond near the 18th green. “Two little things I’ve been thinking about this whole week.”
The second-year tour player made the turn at 3 under but carded two bogeys in the last six holes and stood tied for 19th.
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Seo's turnaround:Hee Kyung Seo missed a short birdie attempt on the 18th hole but walked away smiling. Korea’s “Supermodel of the Fairways” knows how quickly things can change. Last year at the Kraft she had a three-shot lead with six holes play on Sunday and made four consecutive bogeys.
“I’ve learned a lot from that,” Seo said, “I don’t have to think about the result first.”
Surely more than a few Korean men were disappointed to learn that Seo got engaged to a Korean banker in December.
Seo said her fiancee’s golfing skills are less than impressive, however, and they’ve all but given up on playing the game together.
“Because I got angry when I’m trying to teach him and I don’t see any improvement,” she said with a laugh. “He said ‘I’d rather watch than play.’ ”
Could be a good show.