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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Paula Creamer 2008 in LPGA Tour action ............. Paula Creamer 2002 at the R&A Junior Open

Paula Creamer returns a 60

... and then says she had no idea she was
close to that magic figure of 59

Solheim Cup player Paula Creamer has come a long way in the last six years.
Next week's R&A Junior Open at Hesketh reminds me that when I reported on the same event for Under-16s at Royal Musselburgh Golf Club in 2002, Paula Creamer was the United States' girl representative and I took that picture on the right above.
She was obviously a young talent but I don't recall her having the lowest girls' score six years ago.
Now this evening comes the news that Paula Creamer has gone mighty close to that pro golfer's dream .. a round of 59.
She returned a course-record score of 60 in the opening round of the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic in Ohio by birdieing nine of her last 11 holes.
But the media were more excited watching her play the last few holes than she was because Paula got her facts and figures all wrong and didn't know what her score could be.
"I didn't know this course was a par 71," Creamer said with a laugh. "I thought it was a par 72. If I would have known that, who knows?"
Creamer would have had to hole out a 137yd seven-iron from the fairway to shoot 59, though she didn't realise it at the time. She made a 20ft birdie putt for 60.
Only a handful of players have matched that magic number 59 in a competitive round on the major pro tours of the world.
It was the 21-year-old's lowest LPGA Tour round by four strokes. She matched the tour record for nine holes with a 27 on the home half.
Creamer's 60 was one off the LPGA record low mark of 59 set by Annika Sorenstam in the second round of the 2001 Standard Register PING on a par-72 course. It matched the scores of three other players: Meg Mallon (2003) on the par-70 Dell Urich course in Tucson, Arizona), Jung Yeon Lee (2004) on the same Tucson course and Anna Acker-Macosko (2004) over a par-71 The Ridge Golf Course at Auburn, California).
David Duval (1999 Bob Hope), Chip Beck (1991 Las Vegas) and Al Geiberger (1977 Memphis) are the only three players to shoot a 59 on the US PGA Tour.
With half the field in the clubhouse at the midpoint of the first day, Farr led by five strokes. Scroll down for the overnight leaderboard.
"Paula is so talented. She could birdie every hole," said playing partner Natalie Gulbis, who shot a 74. "She's a birdie machine. I don't think there's a day that she goes out not thinking she can birdie every hole."
Creamer, No. 3 on the LPGA money list, started on the back nine and was 4 under at the turn after birdies on 17 and 18. The rest of the way, she had all birdies except for a pair of two-putt pars.
She birdied the first three holes on her last nine, hitting putts of 9, 30 and 15 feet. After missing a 20-foot birdie putt and settling for par at No. 4, she almost holed a 3-rescue club from 188 yards on the par-4 fifth, tapping in from 6 inches for birdie.
+Bad weather hit LPGA Tour's Corning Classic before the end of day and caused a suspension of play. More than 20 players have still to complete their first rounds.
Par 71
60 Paula Creamer.
65 Eun-Hee Ji, Gloria Park.
66 Eva Dahllof, Young Kim.
Other scores:
68 Catriona Matthew.
70 Stacy Lewis.
72 Mhairi McKay, Johanna Head.
74 Laura Davies.