|At 141, Jean Reynolds enters Saturday within striking distance of the two players ahead of her. (Hunter Martin/USGA)
By Dave Shedloski
Bethlehem, Pa. – One woman’s checklist for good golf this weekend at the 64th U.S. Women’s Open goes something like this: pain reliever, ice, concentrate, sleep, repeat.
That’s how it boils down for Paula Creamer, who needs the ice and medicine for her sore thumb, and the rest to overtake leader Cristie Kerr. Then again, all 72 players who made the cut at Saucon Valley Country Club would do well to employ a couple of those items when the game’s toughest championship resumes this morning on a layout that is proving to be an exacting test.
Creamer, who had last year’s U.S. Women’s Open in her sights – trailing Stacy Lewis by one stroke after 54 holes before withering with a final-round 78 – has put herself in position once again to win her first major title. A 3-under 68 on Friday, the best round of the day, lifted her into second place at 2-under 140, one stroke behind Kerr, the 2007 champion.
The two Americans are paired together in the day’s final group at 1:30 p.m. EDT. But it will be far from a match-play situation with another American, Duramed Futures Tour player Jean Reynolds, in third at 1-under 141 and 13 players within five strokes at the outset of third round.
Frankly, at least one player insists that the Old Course at Saucon Valley is so pure, fair and potentially pugilistic that anyone who sticks a tee in its storied turf this weekend has a chance to win the year’s third major.
“This is the kind of week, on a course this tough, where anyone who makes the cut still has a chance,” said 1987 champion Laura Davies. “This course might be my favorite of all the ones we’ve played (in the Women’s Open). It’s a fair test, which makes it great. If you’re still playing, you are definitely in this golf tournament, and that’s exciting.”
The competition should be exciting, but the combatants probably would prefer their golf to be anything but.
“The mindset for the weekend is you have to be focused on every shot, and you’ve got to be paying attention on every shot,” said Kerr, who holds a lead in the Open for the second time in her career. “That’s really all you can control.”
Dave Shedloski is a freelance writer whose work has previously appeared on www.uswomensopen.com.