Making the cut at the Women’s Open requires a good first round start
July 24, 2015
You can’t win a major golf tournament on the first day, but you can certainly play yourself right out of contention, if not out of the weekend entirely.
That fact may be among the reasons why so many competitors at the 2105 U.S. Women’s Open seemed so nervous during the first round on July 9.
I arrived early on the course, with the rain slowly tapering off into a steady drizzle. Jaye Marie Green, whom I watched playing well in the second round of the ShopRite LPGA Classic in May, was among the few players on the practice range. Her father Donnie was caddying for her, and she and I exchanged short greetings on my way to the Media Center.
Based on her reactions at the range, I had a good feeling about how Green would play that day, and decided to watch her again.
Green has a nice USGA pedigree, despite missing the cut at the Women’s Open in 2010, 2012, and 2014. At age 18 Green finished second to Lydia Ko in the 2012 Women’s Amateur, and she made the round of 32 in the 2011 and 2010 Amateurs. Greeen was a quarterfinalist in the 2008 U.S. Women’s Public Links Championship, as a 14-year old, and two years later made the round of 64 in the 2010 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship.
For 2015 Green was an alternate selection for the Women’s Open, but found her way to Lancaster because other golfers dropped out. In a post-round interview, Green said, “I was second alternate from the qualifier I played, and couldn’t get in unless that girl did also or turned it down, but they still called me Friday last week and said I should probably get here. So, we flew up from Ft. Lauderdale Monday. I learned I was in just after we landed. Over the weekend, my mom made all the arrangements for a place to stay.”
Juggling an umbrella, a pen, and a notebook, I watched the 6:56 a.m. threesome of Green, Amelia Lewis, and Ji-Young Oh begin their Women’s Open on the tenth tee.
My practice range hunch paid off. Green shot one-over par, despite bogeys on her last two holes. In a post-round interview, Green was excited and very pleased with her performance, especially with her tactical decisions that morning. “I definitely wanted to stay below the hole. I was above a couple of them early on, and after that I made sure that never happened again. I’d rather put uphill from 30 feet than have a 10-footer from above,” Green said.
She had a point. On the 11th hole she was above the hole, lightly tapped her ball, and it rolled 1 foot past. On the 12th hole Green was left 20 feet and five feet above the hole. After her first putt she was 4 feet past, but made the comebacker for par. On 14 she was just on the green, 20 feet below the hole, Green putted to 2 feet and made par.
On 18, her ninth hole of the day, she hit a beautiful hybrid approach to 8 feet, and made birdie. “I tried to be really steady, and just get my shots near the front of the greens if it looked like I couldn’t get one on the greens,” Green said.
When I suggested she only had one bad drive, on her 18th (the 9th), she immediately countered with “Yeah, but I made a great shot out of the bunker”, which was true. “I had 205 to the front of the green. I wasn’t worried about clearing the lip, I was just trying to get as close to the green as I could,” Green said.
Green had a long discussion with her caddie/dad on the par-5 7th hole about her second shot, 225 yards from the hole. She said, “I was trying to figure out if I should go for the green in two. I had it around 205 to the front, and my 3-wood would have been plenty. Then I thought better of it. I didn’t like where the pin was for going in two, and on the first day I didn’t need to. If it was moving day and they had moved up the tee boxes to make the hole shorter, maybe then, but not today.” She made a nice birdie putt from about 6 feet, hitting her third shot from about 83 yards after a lay up with an iron.
At the time she finished, Green was tied for 10th at one over. When the first round finished early Friday morning, thanks to a vicious thunderstorm late Thursday, Green was tied for 31st. A three-over par second round put her in a large group tied for 54th, making the cut with no strokes to spare.
Green shot 2-over in the third round, and then jumped over several players Sunday with a 3-under final round performance. She finished in a tie for 26th, earning $34,363. Green also tied Lee Lopez for lowest total number of putts during the tournament, at 114.
This is the second in a series of columns about the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open.
Cape Region golfers perform well in Delaware Women’s Senior Championship
This year’s Delaware Senior Women’s Championship was held July 13-15 at Wilmington Country Club’s North Course. Angie Coleman, of Deerfield Golf & Tennis Club in Newark, won the event.
Cape Region golfers also acquitted themselves nicely in the Championship Flight. Top finishers included Lisa Dillon of The Rookery GC in sixth, Judy Wetzel of Kings Creek CC in a tie for seventh, and Ann Reed of The Rookery in a tie for ninth. Diane Stetina of The Rookery finished in the eleventh spot, followed by Linda Kauffman of The Rookery in twelfth, and Denise Sills of Kings Creek in fifteenth.
Local club competition results
The Kings Creek Country Club Ladies Golf League played a Low Net game July 16. Tricia Ritthaler won first place in the first flight followed by Anita Pettitt in second and Cory Warther in third.
Faye Slatcher finished first in the second flight, with Atom Irwin taking second and Dorrie Spillman coming in third. Jennifer Falcone won first place in the third flight, with Carolyn Ortwein in second and Mary Mezger in third. JoAnn Pearlman won closest to the pin for the day.