Flashback - 2013 USWO: Sky Fly High Before Winbee Sting Mar 25, 2020 14:42:04 GMT
Post by philknj on Mar 25, 2020 14:42:04 GMT
I read a couple of NY Post articles on how an off-season invasion of Bloomberg androids from Manhattan wiped out the supermarkets and liquor stores in the Hamptons ... and if they have CV-19, they don't care about the poor slobs they come in contact with. It reminds me of my only trip to the Hamptons, which occurred under better circumstances ... how about a trip down memory lane during this current tour downtime:
Four individual train rides put me in Southampton at 3:15 AM. The public parking shuttle was only 1.5 miles away on foot, which would give me a ton of time to kill and almost nowhere to do it. At least 7-11 was open...got two bananas for a buck, which would add some variety to a fanny pack of breakfast bars I had brought on the trip.
I got on a shuttle bus at 5:10 AM and was the only spectator...everyone else was a volunteer. It wasn’t even 5:30 AM when they dropped me off at the front gate. I just walked in...three cops there didn’t look at my stuff or anything. I hung around the nearby ticket office thinking that maybe someone should scan the printout of my online ticket. By 6:00 AM, no one had showed up at the ticket office, so I said, “Forget this” and hoofed it to driving range. The first groups were teeing off at 6:45 AM. Ha Neul Kim was starting at #1 at 8:46 AM, so the plan was to follow her group’s first nine holes.
The driving range was on the other side of seven cottages bordering the eighth hole. Juli Inkster was on the far right side next to the bleachers. From above, I watched her begin her takeaway with an iron while a guy(coach?) across from her held out an alignment rod against her right hip. I assume this was done so she wouldn’t sway on her backswing. Then I went to top of the bleachers for about 45 minutes of attempted shut-eye on my back.
I dropped by the first hole to watch some tee shots. Jessica Korda’s slow tempo on the backswing and unhurried downswing should be played as a training video for another tall player, Michelle Wie. The next group included a cutie named Hannah Suh, who wore her Cal-Berkeley attire. She played with Anna Nordqvist and Shanshan Feng. Nordqvist had three or four people in the bleachers watching her who wore Team Sweden or blue & gold attire.
After another group teed off, Sky Kim was next. She played with Brooke Pancake and Dewi Claire Schreefel. The tee-off times were already more than five minutes behind schedule. It’s too bad ESPN’s Chris Berman wasn’t here. After a few cold ones, he might announce, “Brooke ‘NOT flat as a’ Pancake”. Four photographers and one GC video cameraman covered Ha Neul’s tee shot and would be following this group. Three of the photographers were non-Asian...they probably thought they were covering Michelle Wie.
I didn’t follow this group down #1, but #2 would be coming back in the opposite direction. The view of the second fairway from behind the second green was fascinating...imagine a series of ocean waves bearing down on you at the beach. BTW, #1 and #2 were the drive measuring holes; #1 is into the wind, #2 is with the wind.
Kim (birdie at #1, now -7) hit first and mashed her ball 274, per the USGA stats. But, thanks to those ‘waves’, her lie was below her feet. She hit the green, but the ball rolled to a high spot on the fringe. He putt broke severely left and gave her about an eight-footer for par, which she made.
The third hole was a downhill par-3 with foot-high wispy junk and a bunker on the left...and the flag on the far left. One would think the play would be to tee it up left, aim right and settle for a two-putt at worst. But no, all three took the bait and hit draws into the junk. I hope one of the shutterbugs captured the scene of eighteen people bent over looking for three golf balls...“While we’re young!”
Incredibly, all three balls were found and DCS & Pancake saved par. Unfortunately, Kim’s slash from the junk only reached the bunker. She knocked it on and was fortunate to do no worse than bogey, but her oil leak had started.
Ha Neul butchered #6 with a double, but made a nice sand save at the par-3 7th. At #9, she left herself a longish par putt and missed it to fall to -3. Generally speaking, she drove the ball higher and longer than her partners. Even after the bad holes, she remained cheerful. There was nothing particularly noteworthy about the tee-to-green game of DCS and Pancake. But, DCS can flat-out putt (left hand low method). I didn’t see her birdie at #1, but she made a long birdie at #6 and two or three difficult par putts elsewhere.
The next group I would follow in depth would by Soo Jin Yang, Momoko Ueda, and Ryan O’Toole, but they wouldn’t tee off from #1 until 2:31 PM. This left me a lot of time in between bits of play here and there.
The par-4 16th green should be blown up...it’s just that simple. The group of Nicole Castrale, Mina Harigae, and Mo Martin got a bitter taste of it. Castrale’s weak chip rolled on and rolled off back to her feet. Harigae’s lie was more in line with the pin on the far left. Her chip was sufficiently strong...was pin high...then I lost sight of it, due to the raised bunker on the left...then the ball took a severe right turn and kept rolling...then it took another severe right turn and rolled off the green. Mina took a 6 and bolted for the 17th tee box while her partners finished up. I have heard of and seen her outbursts of anger before, but it looks like she’s trying to keep it bottled up these days.
The next group to try #16 was Angela Stanford, Lizette Salas and amateur Mikayla Harmon, who I noticed on the range (has a funky inside move on her backswing). Harmon was doing a total bomb out; Stanford and Salas must have been wondering how this girl got grouped with them.
I walked up the 16th fairway to watch the approaches of JY Shin, Cristie Kerr, and SY Ryu. Ryu had the longest tee shot of the three, and her second shot iron was the most aggressive and impressive looking approach for this group...it was directly at that far-left flag from the right side of the fairway. So what happens? It lands, makes a severe right turn and just keeps rolling...and rolling. She ended up with the longest putt in her group. As I said before, the 16th green should be blown up.
It was at #16 where I saw fog being blown by the wind. My first thought was, “where’s the fire?”, before I realized what it was. I guess you have to live near the shore to see such a sight. I think it surprised C. Kerr and she has played this course many times.
I walked up to the par-3 17th green where Ji Young Oh had a short birdie putt...and missed it. She had the “another lousy day at the office” look on her face.
The next group at #17 was a collective train wreck. Annie Park was in the left rough just off the green, which sloped away from her. I couldn’t see the ball from the other side of the green. She took several careful practice chops...then got over the ball and whiffed it. Her next try was quite good and she salvaged a bogey. Meanwhile, her partners, Dizzy Izzy Beisiegel and Christine Song, were having a race to the bottom (both 20+ over par). Izzy stumbled around the green for a double bogey, while Song made bogey. Izzy displayed some wicked clubhead speed with a perfect drive at #18, but finesse is not her strong suit.
I think the par-5 18th tee box might be the highest point on the golf course. It can get pretty windy up there. It’s too bad the constant gray haze ruined the view of adjacent Great Peconic Bay. Also, the TV pictures don’t convey how vast it is.
I went down to the landing area at #18 to watch the results of Kerr’s, Ryu’s and Shin’s drives. Ryu and Shin hit lay-ups for second shots. Kerr had the longest drive and pulled out a 3-wood. The green seemed hard to hit on the fly with that club, but I guess she didn’t see much risk in trying. The 3-wood was short of the green...her third shot pitch unluckily hit a hard downslope between the bunker and the green and knocked the spin off the ball, leaving her a long birdie putt.
Meanwhile Shin and Ryu were on in three; Shin made par and Ryu made birdie. Kerr ran her putt past the hole...beyond kick-in range, but she made her par. Ryu gave Kerr the ceremonial hug and walked off the green. That was weird...what about Shin? Maybe I missed something. I noticed that Ryu and Kerr were chatting up each other on the 16th & 18th fairways, for whatever that’s worth.
I passed by Meena Lee as she hit her second shot at #1. When I got to the tee box, a mob was watching In Bee Park, Stacy Lewis, and S. Pettersen tee off next.
I had time to get some food in me ($7 grilled chicken sandwich) before starting my extended march with Soo Jin Yang, Momoko Ueda, and Ryann O’Toole. At the first tee box, Momoko chatted with Soo Jin in English, but I couldn’t make a guess on Yang’s English proficiency.
Since #1 was into the wind, Soo Jin teed it up low and split the fairway. Momoko also teed it up low, but hit it high to the right. Ryann hit a low tight draw down the left side where trouble lurked; luckily, her ball ended just short of the junk. She hit a great iron and made birdie. Soo Jin made par and Momoko scrambled to make bogey.
As I walked across to the second tee box, I looked up and saw Annika S., Brandel C., & Kelly T. turning around and looking down at us from a Golf Channel studio tower. Frankly, it looks a little dangerous. They’re about twelve feet off the ground and I didn’t see a barrier behind their chairs. It’s totally open behind them.
The 2nd hole was downwind, so Soo Jin teed it up high and let it fly...305 yards according to the USGA. But, she could do no better than par. Again, Ryann drove a bullet down the left side into some danger and had to scramble for par. Momoko made her second of many bogeys this day.
I followed Yang’s group on their first eight holes. Soo Jin would not look out of place on the LPGA tour. She has good power, good nerves on the greens, and is easy on the eyes. She had one birdie and narrowly missed a couple of others. Also, the back of her top (it said ‘MADE FOR GOLF’) received approval from a lady spectator at #7.
Ryann O’Toole is a strange case. I don’t have a good recollection of her swing, because I couldn’t see it...it was just a blur. If it’s possible to hit a booming wedge shot, she did it at the 4th hole...even the flight of her divot looked impressive. Unfortunately, she airmailed the green, but still made par. She’s a lean, mean fitness machine. She deserved to be on the 2011 U.S. Solheim Cup team, but why hasn’t she played better since?
Momoko’s score ballooned from the start and she couldn’t recover. I noticed a woman with Japanese media credentials was following her inside the ropes on every hole. Later in the day, I spotted Miki Saiki being covered by Japanese media, too. It occurred to me that for a BIG event like this, the Japanese media would flood the zone, but where was the Korean media? I assume they were with IBP, but what about the other players? You’d think they would have swarmed Ha Neul Kim at the range in the morning after she shot 66 the day before, but it didn’t happen. Soo Jin Yang didn’t get any special attention, nor did Je Yoon Yang, who I saw late in the day.
After Soo Jin’s group played their first eight holes, I decided to leave, but my timing was no good and I missed the shuttle to the train station by about 30 minutes! No big deal, I’ll just watch more golf until they finish. To minimize walking, I hung out around the 4th hole to watch the groups that started at #10.
I asked a guy manning a scoreboard if he knew the projected cut number. He didn’t know, but guessed it would +4 or +5. On that basis, the next group coming through was in decent shape, B. Lincicome (E), NY Choi (+2), & Lydia Ko (+3). Bam Bam had the longest tee shot, an impressive high draw down the middle with a hybrid. Fortunately, it finished just short of a small bunker. She made par, while the other two bogeyed. The 4th hole is short and downhill, but its tiny green must look no bigger than a manhole cover from the fairway.
The next group included two players going down the drain, Jennifer Johnson (+10) and Se Ri Pak (+10). Johnson’s tee shot into the wind ballooned to right. Pak hit it low and left. It didn’t look good, but her caddie kept saying it was okay...I guess so, she made par. Around this time, the wind was blowing in more fog.
Two groups later brought the trio of Natalie Gulbis, Sophie Gustafson and Je Yoon Jang, which I decided to follow to the end. Natalie (+3) and Je Yoon (+4) both shot 70 the day before, but were now hanging by their fingertips. Sophie was in bad shape (+7) and became worse with a bogey at #4 (the other two made pars).
The ropes put the spectators about 50 yards downrange from the 5th tee box. Before they could hit, someone sounded one of those aerosol can horns around 6:45 PM. The word from a volunteer was that play would be suspended for 15 minutes. The three players approached the ropes to meet people they knew. Natalie got some TLC from by her boyfriend (I assume), who was one of several folks in Adidas attire. Sophie talked to two of those Team Sweden people. Je Yoon chatted with three family members.
I thought it over...why wait 15 minutes? It’s only getting darker and this fog isn’t going away. I took off for the shuttle buses to the parking lot. From there, I could walk to Burger King on the main drag and crash...then walk to the 11:32 PM train. While at BK, Bam Bam L. walked in, bought food for two and walked back to her Lexus SUV rental or courtesy car.
Next year, Pinehurst is a bit out of the way to attend the USWO. But, two years from now, Lancaster CC in PA will be a lot more convenient. Plus, the golf course is only 2.5 miles on foot from the Amtrak station. Here we go again...
I'm in the red jacket and cap.
Ha-Neul Kim of South Korea walks to the fairway of the first hole after teeing off during the second round at the U.S. Women's Open golf tournament at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y., Friday, June 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Ha-Neul Kim of South Korea tees off the seventh hole during the second round at the U.S. Women's Open golf tournament at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y., Friday, June 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Dewi Clare Schreefel of the Netherlands tees off on the seventh hole during the second round at the U.S. Women's Open golf tournament at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y., Friday, June 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Soo Jin Yang, of South Korea, tees off on the sixth hole during the second round of the U.S. Women's Open golf tournament at Sebonack Golf Club on Friday, June 28, 2013, in Southampton, N.Y. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Inbee Park, of South Korea, tees off on the first hole during the second round of the U.S. Women's Open golf tournament at the Sebonack Golf Club Friday, June 28, 2013, in Southampton, N.Y. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
A television cameraman works in front of Inbee Park, center, from South Korea, in dense fog on the 18th hole during the second round at the U.S. Women's Open golf tournament at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y., Friday, June 28, 2013. Play was eventually suspended due to the fog. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)