Women's Open notes: Lewis pleased; Wie struggles
SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. Stacy Lewis said she wouldn’t want to lead the U.S. Women’s Open after the first round. It’s too difficult, she said, to maintain that position for four days. Lewis walked off Sebonack Golf Club feeling quite pleased with her 1-under 71 start Thursday. There was a point where the round could’ve gone the other way.
Lewis’ goal coming into the week was to remain level no matter the situation. She handled that part well today, shooting 33 on her inward nine to trail playing competitor Inbee Park by four strokes.
“I’m just excited about where my game is at,” said Lewis, who hit 12 fairways, 13 greens and used 30 putts. Lewis hasn’t had a top 10 at this event since a tie for third in her pro debut, in 2008.
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WHOA, NELLY: Nelly Korda can’t explain why she didn’t feel nerves on the first tee. At age 14, Korda is the youngest player in the field. She belted one down the fairway in her USWO debut, and off she went.
“I just went up to it and hit it like it was just a junior tournament,” Nelly said.
Petr Korda, Nelly’s daddy/caddie, said he didn’t see any nerves until the seventh tee (her 16th hole after starting on the back nine), where she dunked one in the water.
“She was steaming,” said Petr, a former world-class tennis player. Nelly made triple-bogey 6 but bounced back with birdies on her last two holes to shoot 1-over 72.
Petr planned to go back out and watch older daughter Jessica play in the afternoon.
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HOG WILD: Arkansas senior Emily Tubert gave herself permission on the first tee today to swing freely. She’d been paralyzed with fear over the ball for much of last year and was weary from the battle.
“I was just trying to play too perfect,” said Tubert, who opened with a double bogey but managed to play the next 17 holes in even par and shoot 74.
Tubert’s round included a par on the par-5 15th that, as her walking scorer put it, was all-world.
After hitting a hybrid left off the tee and deep into the fescue, Tubert popped up a provisional that went right into fescue.
They never found her second ball, and as the clock was ticking down, a spotter stepped on her first tee shot. With the help of a rules official, Tubert re-created the lie but found that she had no chance of hitting it the 8 yards needed to carry the fescue.
She found a small patch where the grass looked like it was intertwined, forming a little bed, and got herself a decent lie. Volunteers standing by clapped, saying “Great drop.”
From there Tubert hit her 7-iron into the fairway, and then hit a pitching wedge to 3 feet. She rolled in the putt for par and exhaled deeply.
“It was the most amazing thing ever,” she said.
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ONE AND DONE: Michelle Wie got off to a horrific start, making quadruple bogey on her opening hole, the par-4 10th. There was a topped shot and lots of fescue involved, including a lost ball. And that was despite the help of the gallery, invited by a rules official to help with the search.
“Everything that could’ve gone wrong, went wrong today,” said Wie, who was proud of the fact that she ended the day with birdies on three of the last four holes. Wie shot 8-over 80, her sixth round in the 80s at the Women’s Open.
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COMEBACK KID: Jodi Ewart Shadoff shot 40-30 to finish at 2 under. Her second nine (the front) included five birdies and no bogeys. She hit 15 greens in her USWO debut.