OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. – Nancy Lopez walked several holes with Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel at Olympia Fields on the eve of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. The LPGA legend/newlywed was on hand for the first past champions dinner at the tour’s flagship major.
“Definitely needed some mothering from Nancy,” said Creamer, who played her first Solheim Cup in 2005 under Captain Lopez. “She’s pretty good at that.”
Creamer opened with an even-par 71 on the North Course at Olympia Fields, trailing co-leaders Chella Choi (5-under 66) and Amy Yang (through 17 holes with play suspended for the day) by five shots. Lopez mostly focused on the mental game with Creamer, reminding her that it’s OK to miss shots.
“I tend to get a little bit too perfect,” said Creamer. “I think everybody has noticed that in my career. She just kind of tried to bring me back to where I should be.”
Creamer currently sits 19th on the Solheim Cup points list. The top eight automatically make the team. Two years ago, Creamer needed a captain’s pick from another mentor, Juli Inkster, to make the team in Germany and produced the Cup-winning point.
With three majors in the next six weeks worth double points, the time is now for big moves. American Solheim hopefuls Michelle Wie (68), Alison Lee (68) and Nelly Korda (69) produced solid opening rounds.
A pain-free Creamer seemed to turn a corner when she tied for seventh at the ShopRite LPGA Classic, but then followed it with a pair of missed cuts in the past two weeks.
This marks Creamer’s third week with caddie Ryan Dillon, who actually competed at Olympia Fields when the U.S. Open was held here in 2003. Dillon was paired with Phil Mickelson in the third round.
“We both struggled that day,” he said. “I was barely out of the rough and he was kind of elsewhere, so we never talked much until the back side.”
Dillon’s favorite memory from the week came when the crowd sang happy birthday to wife, Shana, on the 18th tee.
Creamer has worked with two caddies all season. Veteran caddie David Brooker will be back on the bag for a long stretch after this week. Dillon, a 20-year playing pro who mostly competes in Asia, made the connection with Creamer though longtime friend Cristie Kerr.