Notebook: Alternate Makes Cut
By Ken Klavon, Alex Miceli and Dave Shedloski
South Hadley, Mass. - All Jennifer Greggain was hoping for was a chance to play in another U.S. Women's Open. The circumstances that allowed her to do that weren't ideal, but she's made the most of the opportunity nonetheless.
Greggain, 27, of Chilliwack, British Columbia, came to the Orchards Golf Club as an alternate and ended up as the last player to get a spot in the championship when Dottie Pepper withdrew because of an injury. Putting some recent swing changes to optimum use, she shot an even-par 71 Friday and made the cut with a 2-over 144 total.
"I knew if I got in I would play well, because I have been playing well," said Greggain, who missed the cut at the 2001 U.S. Open while pregnant with her second child. "I feel bad for how I got in the field, but I was excited about the opportunity. I feel like such an underdog, and to make the cut really reaffirms the things I've been working on."
Erica Blasberg is taking the leap. She is turning professional after the Women's Open.
Citing on Wednesday that she felt there was little else to accomplish as an amateur, the USA Curtis Cup team member of this year announced Friday of her intentions.
Blasberg just completed her sophomore season at the University of Arizona, where she was named a first-team All-American. She wrestled with the decision but in April came to the conclusion that it was the right choice.
"I really want my game to evolve a different way, on a different level," she said Wednesday. "I don't feel any intimidation playing at the pro level. I do feel confident where my game is."
This year she has played in two LPGA Tour events, missing the cut at the Welch/Fry's Championship and the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
Last year she reached the quarterfinal round of the U.S. Women's Amateur, and in 1999 and 2002 made it to the round of 16.
Blasberg, who missed the cut with a 8-over 150, was playing in her first Women's Open this week.
First Time for Everything
Leader Jennifer Rosales is in foreign waters leading halfway through the U.S. Women's Open. Rosales has never led an event after 36-holes in her professional career on the LPGA Tour. But when she has led, it has come only in majors.
Rosales was in the lead after 18 holes at the McDonalds LPGA Championship earlier this year, but faltered and finished tied for 13th. She also led the 2002 Weetabix British Open through 54-holes before shooting a 73 and finished tied for fourth. Rosales won her first and only title in April at the Chick-fil-A Charity Championship, which was hosted by Nancy Lopez.
Riding a Hot Streak
If Kim Saiki goes on to win the Women's Open, she would be the 19th player to win a women's major after winning the event the week before. Saiki won the Wegmans Rochester LPGA last week. Patty Berg was the first to do it in 1951 when she won the New York Weathervane and then took the Western Open, which was a major until 1967.
The last to accomplish the feat was Annika Sorenstam in 2003 when she won the Kellogg-Keebler Classic, and then the next week, the LPGA Championship. Three players -- Mickey Wright in 1964, Carol Mann in 1965 and Amy Alcott in 1980 -- are the only players to the Women's Open and the event the week before.
Saiki has been on the LPGA Tour since 1992, but until this year had not won and had four second-place finishes, all coming in the period between 1996 and 1998. At 38 years-old, the grind of tour life and her inability to win weighed heavily on her. She decided to look into the possibilities of making a change in her life.
"It kind of happened after the Sybase this year," said Saiki. "Actually right after that particular event I had kind of an informal meeting with the executive director for the Metropolitan Section of the PGA of America (Charlie Robson), and I was thinking of possibly taking a different career path. And after that day I had about five resumes, I was very calm and very happy, and I was OK with the fact that, you know what, I can take a different path in my career and be happy, be fine."
Now after her first career win and with the way she has played this week, Saiki is willing to stick it out a little longer, but only a little longer.
"I've definitely changed my mind on what's going on next year, but I still have a strong desire to teach golf," she said. "And whether it be in two years or three years, I will take that path, depending on what happens in my personal life, as well."
Alex Miceli is a free-lance writer for the Golf Press Association.