LPGA notes: Lewis' miscue; Nordqvist's changes
PHOENIX – Stacy Lewis’ bunker issues continue at the JTBC Founders Cup. Lewis beaned Cristie Kerr in the head Tuesday during a practice round at Wildfire Golf Club. Lewis said it wasn’t a skulled shot but rather a high shot that went too far.
“It knocked me over,” said Kerr, who put ice on the wound after the round and then continued playing. The ball hit Kerr several inches above her left ear, and a sizable welt was visible a day later.
“It was way worse yesterday,” Kerr said after her Wednesday pro-am.
“It was seriously like this,” she said, pulling the Titleist out of her pocket and placing it on her head to illustrate the size of the bump.
Lewis’ bunker accident comes one year after her caddie, Travis Wilson, cost her two strokes for testing the sand on No. 16 before Lewis hit a shot during the third round.
When Lewis played the 16th hole Tuesday, she asked Wilson if he wanted to have some fun in the bunker, maybe make a snow angel or drag his foot. Wilson declined.
“It’s something we can laugh about, thankfully,” she said.
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NORDQVIST'S CHANGES WORK: Anna Nordqvist can’t pinpoint which change has made the biggest difference in her game. In the past seven months, she has changed almost everything.
New caddie, new instructor, 14 new clubs, new clothing sponsor and a new golf ball. It all adds up to a new attitude for the Swede, now in her sixth year on tour.
“I’ve always been a person who was very dedicated and ambitious about anything I did,” Nordqvist said. “When you lose that edge, you’re not inspired or motivated to do it anymore.”
The “edge” disappeared last year, despite what many players would consider a solid season.
Her younger brother Mattias, a professional on the Swedish Nordic Tour, gave up his summer of competitive golf to help Nordqvist rediscover her spark.
“Probably my most fun summer ever,” Nordqvist said.
She picked up Jason Gilroyed, who was fired by Jessica Korda fired mid-round during last year’s U.S. Women’s Open, and gained a veteran looper whom she can trust.
A putting lesson from Jonas Blixt, a fellow Swede and PGA Tour player, led to a new instructor in Jorge Parada. They moved from the short game to the full swing one week before Nordqvist left for Australia to start the 2014 season. She won in her second start.
When Nordqvist hit a low point last year, her mother asked what else in life she’d like to pursue.
“I’ve always had a love and passion for graphic design,” Nordqvist said.
But for now, that can wait.
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CREAMER'S LEGENDARY TIP: Marilynn Smith, an LPGA founder, watched Paula Creamer play three holes of her pro-am Wednesday and called her over for quick tip.
“You need to keep your left foot down,” Smith told Creamer. “You’re getting too jumpy on your golf swing.”
Throughout her career, Creamer has made it a point to spend time with the game’s pioneers. Smith’s impromptu tidbit is at the core of what this event is about: honoring the past while helping grow the game for a future generation.
“I have tons of respect for them, for what they went through,” said Creamer, 27, in her 10th LPGA season. “In any sport, especially women, trailblazing a path for us just as female athletes.”
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SHORT SHOTS: Cheyenne Woods, a Phoenix native, is playing this week on a sponsor exemption. Woods grew up at Moon Valley Country Club and went out every day to watch when the LPGA came to town. “I remember I was there when Annika (Sorenstam) shot 59,” said Woods, referring to the Hall of Famer's second-round score in the 2001 Standard Register Ping event. “And I remember on the driving range I got to meet Grace Park. She is one of my favorites and still is one of my favorites that I ever watched play.” ... Maria Hjorth is competing in her first event as Maria McBride this week. The veteran Swedish player married Shaun McBride, a Tour caddie, in 2007. ... Quote of the day comes from newly-named Solheim Cup captain Juli Inkster: "There's no whining on the U.S. team."