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Notebook: Mallon's Marks For The History Book

By Alex Miceli

South Hadley, Mass. - In winning the 59th Women's Open Sunday, Meg Mallon added her name to numerous categories in the record book.

. They include:

  • Mallon's 65 tied the fifth-lowest round ever in Women' Open history with eight other players, most recently Karrie Webb's second round in 2001.
  • Tied the best ever final-round score, tying three other players, most recently Tammie Green in 1997.
  • Mallon set the record with the best final round by a champion. Her 65 was one better than those of Pat Bradley in 1981, Annika Sorenstam in 1996 and Juli Inkster in 2002.  When Mallon won her first Women's Open in 1991 at Colonial Country Club, she shot a final-round 67.
  • The 13 years between Mallon's win in 1991 and her victory on Sunday was the largest margin between Open victories. Previously, the mark belonged to Hollis Stacy at seven years.

Other Low Numbers

Jeong Jang of Korea finished tied for seventh at the 2003 Women's U.S. Open and was determined to do just as well this year. After making the cut comfortably at 3 over, Jang wanted to finish in the top-10 on Sunday. 

Deciding to be aggressive to accomplish her goal Sunday, Jang took advantage of the drier conditions to post a 5-under 66 that included 27 putts, her lowest total of the week.

"I like the front [flagsticks]," said Jang through and interpreter. "I can be more aggressive and go behind the [flag] and spin it back. I like downhill putts."

Jang finished tied for seventh with her play, moving up 20 spots on Sunday.

Another mover and shaker was Michelle Redman. Finishing in the top 10 only once in 12 tries, with a tie for seventh in the 1997 Women's Open, Redman also relied on a hot putter. She took only 25 putts on Sunday to shoot a 4-under 67 and finish in a tie for fifth with Candie Kung... 

"Just hit the fairways and be on the right side of the [flags]," said Redman. "The greens were a little softer, which surprised me, but I made a lot and left just a couple of them out there."

It Takes Two

Paula Creamer and Michelle Wie were the two amateurs left on the top of the heap after Sunday's final round, both finishing in a tie for 13th with France's Patricia Meunier-Lebouc at 1 over.

Both Creamer and Wie were teammates on the victorious USA Curtis Cup team last month.

 

While neither player made a serious run at the title, both showed spots of brilliance.  For Wie it was the 14 birdies and one eagle she had over four days.  For Creamer it was her ability to shoot the only round of the 60s between the two.

For Wie the day was not exactly what she was looking for, making only one birdie and three bogeys over the final 18 holes to shoot a 2-over 73.

"I didn't play the way I wanted to, but I'm still happy with how I finished," said Wie. "I did a lot better than last year, and I got an exemption for next year."

At the start of the day Wie still had ideas that she could maybe post a low number and put pressure on the leaders. But as the day progressed and her round was not turning out as she had hoped, her focus was to finish in red numbers, which she came up short on as well.

"I wasn't thinking about low amateur, I was thinking about the trophy," said Wie.  "But it all didn't work out.  I didn't make a lot of birdies today.  I only made one, and that's usually kind of iffy for me."

Unlike Wie, Creamer wanted to win the low-amateur prize.  Looking at a downhill 6-footer for birdie on the 18th hole, Creamer drained it to make up for a double bogey on the 17th hole that moved her one shot behind Wie.

"There was a lot of pride going into this," said Creamer. "I don't know what Michelle is going to do. But if not, that's OK with me. I know I played golf and hung in there."

Creamer likely played her best round on Sunday, even thought her score didn't show it with four birdies. The three bogeys and one double-bogey derailed her chances for moving up the leader board, but with only 28 putts Creamer was on the cusp of a very good day.

"I know I left a lot of shots out there," said Creamer...  "Right now I'm hitting the ball well, and it's all really in your mental game right now.  I am tired, I'm fatigued after a couple of weeks, but this is what I want to do and that only motivates me more out there."

Odds And Ends

Little things get unnoticed at the end of a championship, but here are some of them to keep in mind:

  • Meg Mallon opened the championship with a 2-over 73. It would be the last round in the 70s for the week and she would progressively get better, shooting 69, 67 and then a final-round 65.
  • Jennifer Rosales hit the same amount of greens in round three, 14, as she did in round four. The difference was she had 36 putts on Sunday when she shot 75 and only 31 putts on Saturday when she shot a 69.
  • Brittany Lincicome shot a 5-under 66 in the first round, but never got closer than 10 shots when she fired a 76 in Saturday's third round.
  • In the finishing stretch of three holes, Mallon was 2 under for the four days.
  • Annika Sorenstam who ranked No. 1 in greens in regulation hit at 85 percent, tied for 45th in putting with 31.25 putts per round.
  • While Mallon ranked 47th in fairways hit, 51st in driving distance (234.3), 11th in greens in regulation, she was second overall in putting with 113, and No. 1 in birdies with 16.

Alex Miceli is a free-lance writer from the Golf Press Association.