The 2013 U.S. Women’s Open is history. The final round was played the last day of last month. Either Inbee Park won a third consecutive major becoming only the 2nd person in LPGA history to do so, or she didn’t. Before the U.S. Women’s Open, Park won five titles in 2013 including the first two major championships. The only person to win three in a row was Babe Zaharias in 1950 when there were only three majors played.
U.S. WOMEN’S OPEN
At the start of the tournament, Park was the #1 player in the world of women’s golf. She was the favorite to win and she finished her first day of play with a 67.
I’ve heard it said the most difficult task before U.S. Open officials is setting up the course so as not to overpower the weakest in the field and not be too easy for the strongest. The strong are the obvious. The LPGA Tour top players like Park, Stacy Lewis, Suzann Pettersen, and Cristie Kerr.
The weakest? They are the amateurs, some very young, who come from around the world with their game and their moxie to take on the best despite the obvious – they don’t have the experience or the support teams the pro’s have “on their bag”. They don’t travel with caddies, they don’t have sponsors or clothing for every occasion, they don’t have mental, physical and swing coaches. What they do have are families and friends who share their dream and want to help in any way possible to make it come true.
Hawaii’s Mariel Galdiano is one of those young women. She is a Punahou student. That means she may have more advantages than the average Hawaii junior golfer. Punahou is ranked as one of the best college preparatory high schools in the country. It’s got a great golf program. But Galdiano is bringing all of that teaching with her and something much more important. She is bringing experience.
During the pre tournament interviews, Inbee Park was asked how she copes with the pressure of U.S. Open and the expectations. Park has a mental coach she speaks with regularly but she says experience is what makes all the difference.
Galdiano and her family seem to have understood that from the beginning. Galdiano went into the Hawaii U.S. Women’s Open sectional qualifier at Poipu Bay Golf Course for the experience. She was 12. They didn’t expect her to win but she did. She came out on top, the Hawaii qualifier. At the age of 13, Galdiano played her first U.S Women’s Open at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
This year she celebrated her 15th birthday on the practice green at Sebonack Golf Club. The folks at the USGA sent out this tweet – kind of a birthday present.
U.S. Open (USGA) @usopengolf 25 Jun
Mariel Galdiano turns 15 today. She's celebrating by preparing to play in the #uswomensopen: pic.twitter.com/KIQUa60Ur2
2013 has been a good season for Galdiano. The Punahou freshman won the David S. Ishiii Foundation/HHSAA Girls Golf State Championship in May by 7 strokes and in the process recorded the first ever back-to-back below-70 rounds in the 19-year history of the Hawaii high school championship.
HAWAII AT THE US WOMEN’S OPEN
Hawaii was well represented this year.
For a 10th time, Michelle Wie made an appearance at a US Women’s Open. She was 13 the first time; a tall, beautiful 23 years young today. They call her the “former phenom” in the headlines but her enthusiasm hasn’t changed.
She told reporters at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, New York:
“I’m really excited to play. I love USGA events. You hear about the U.S. Open growing up. You watch it on TV. And then finally, just playing in it. That was a pretty amazing experience for me. It’s still as special as it was the first time I played it. It’s probably the most important tournament for me during the year. I definitely look forward to this championship a lot.”
On Monday before the tournament, Wie played a practice round with Inbee Park, 2011 U.S Open champ So Yeon Ryu and Nicole Zhang. Wie said, “It was a lot of fun playing with her. I learned a lot from how Inbee plays the golf course, and I got to see stuff like that, so it was a fun day.”
Wie had a very disappointing opening round 80 at the 2013 U.S. Women’s Open.
Wie earned her first USGA trophy in 2003 when she won the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship at Ocean Hammock Golf Club in Palm Coast, Florida.
Another U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Champion was in the 2013 U.S. Women’s Open Championship field.
Kyung Kim, the 2012 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links champion had a brilliant freshman season at USC, the reigning women’s NCAA D1 collegiate powerhouse.
Kim’s USC teammate Annie Park was also in the field.
Kim said, “This is the best tournament experience by far for me.” Of course she said that before U.S. Open championship pin placement. But she opened with an excellent -1 par 71.
This is Kim’s third straight U.S. Open. She missed the cut by a stroke a year ago. She played the course Monday. “It’s fabulous. I love the course. It’s so pretty here.”
It is a beautiful course. Membership buy in was $650,000 when it opened in Southampton, N.Y. in 2006.
2013 U.S. WOMEN’S AMATEUR PUBLIC LINKS CHAMPIONSHIP
Eight Hawaii golfers qualified to play in the 2013 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship.
Defending champion Kyung Kim raised on Maui but now living in Chandler, Arizona, Kristina Merkle of Honolulu, Ciera Min of Hilo, Mariel Galdiano of Pearl City, Allisen Corpuz of Honolulu, Alice Kim of Honolulu, Nani Yanagi of Hilo, and Eimi Koga of Honolulu.
Four of the six continued into match play including Kim, Galdiano, Corpuz and Min.
Min pulled off a surprising upset in the first round of his 37-year old event.
Min was ranked as the 2,883rd in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking. Her first-round opponent was ranked 8th. Annie Park had victories this summer in the Pacific-12 Conference, NCAA West Regional and NCAA Division 1 championships. Park continued her strong play with a pair of 4-under 68’s on the par 72 Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club to earn co-medalist honors with her USC teammate Doris Chen. And along came Min.
17-year old Min, from Hilo, defeated Park 6 and 4. It was the second-largest margin of defeat ever for a medalist in the first round.
Park, who won the NCAA individual title last month for USC and was in the US Women’s Open, “It was a bad day for me. I couldn’t hit it. I just putted like a. … tornado.”
Min? “I knew she was a great player. It’s humbling.”
All three of Hawaii’s contenders, Min, Kyung and Corpuz, were eliminated in the second round of 32.
21-year-old Ember Schuldt eliminated the youngest WAPL match-play qualifier at 10 years 8 months, Lucy Li.
HAWAII STATE JUNIOR GOLF ASSOCIATION
Speaking of young, from the Hawaii State Junior Golf Association, we get this release.
On Monday, July 1, the HSJGA and The Club at Hokuli'a will host the 11th Annual Mixed Plate Golf Tournament with a 10:00 am shotgun start. The Mixed Plate field is comprised of the top 30 junior golfers from the state of Hawaii, 60 amateur businessmen/women and 30 Aloha Section PGA professionals who gather and participate in a day of camaraderie and memorable golf—all proceeds benefiting the Hawaii State Junior Golf Association (non-profit 501 c3).
The 2013 King Auto Group (KAG) 13-18 State Jr. Championship will follow on July 2 and 3 where the top juniors in each age division compete for the title of “State Junior Champion”. This is King Auto Group’s 13th year as title sponsor.
The Trusted Choice Big “I” Qualifier will be held in conjunction with Round One of the KAG State Championship. Registered participant’s round one scores for the KAG State Championship will be applied towards the Big “I” Qualifier. One spot will be awarded to the top Girls 13-18 and top Boy 13-18. The 45th Trusted Choice Big “I” National Championship will be held at the Country Club of North Carolina in Pinehurst, NC on August 5 – 8.
The over-all winners of both tournaments earn a spot to play in the Michelle Wie HSJGA Tournament of Champions in December.
2013 KA’ANAPALI PRO-PRO CHAMPIONSHIP SPONSORED BY GPSi
Thanks to Melissa Ludwig for the wrap up from Royal Ka’anapali Course (Par 71)
After four playoff holes, TJ Kua and Shawn McCauley take home the title and $3000 in the 2013 Ka’anapali Pro-Pro Championship sponsored by GPSi.
Firing an impressive -7 today (64), Kua and McCauley worked their way into a playoff with Maui’s David Braxton and Kyle Hayashi, who had a share of the lead after round one yesterday.
“I have to say, we didn’t play all that well today actually and got off to a bad start - we just sort of ‘ham-and-egged’ it though and were able to cover each other when one of us was out of a hole,” commented Shawn McCauley. McCauley added, “The wind was tricky this weekend – kind of crazy at times so it was hard to hit my distances consistently.”
With the lowest round of the tournament today and a combined seven birdies and no bogies, they must have been doing something right.
Two teams would make par on the first three playoff holes and head to the par 3, 17th hole. Kua and McCauley were first on the tee where Kua hit his shot to within 20 feet (right) of the pin. McCauley would follow and left his shot just short left in the rough. Braxton was next and as the wind kicked up, the ball fell short left and into the water hazard. Hayashi then hit his tee shot a little fat and it too fell short into the water. McCauley would chip up and tap in for par and secure the win for he and Kua.
Braxton and Hayashi came in second last year to Pro-Pro Championship veterans, Larry Stubblefield and Andrew Feldman and fell victim to second place again, but not after putting up a good fight on the four playoff holes.
Braxton almost holed out on the first playoff hole from the fringe on #18 and Hayashi, who was the only one in the fairway on #1 hole (second playoff hole) would go for the green from about 260 yards but unfortunately found the water hazard just short of the right side of the green (the dreaded Ka’anapali lagoon that snakes along #1 and #18).
Kyle Hayashi commented on the weekend, “Our goal today was to make birdies when we could (and we eagled two par 5’s this weekend) and then just keep making pars because we knew people were going to be coming after us.” Hayashi continued, “I’m lucky enough to hit the ball pretty long so it allows me to be aggressive at the pin and I have a really great playing partner – Braxton keeps me under control and he’s got a great short game so I knew he’d always be good around the greens.”
Hayashi finished with, “The (Royal) Ka’anapali is a great course – a lot of fun – and the greens were fantastic, you couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
McCauley and Kua won their first tournament together last year in the Nike 4-ball Championship, just after Kua turned pro after completing his college golf career at UH. Kua noted, “This course is difficult for me in the wind because it’s a lot of right to left wind and I struggled at times (Kua is a lefty).”
McCauley added, “The course conditions were great though – course played really great this weekend.”
Tiger Woods says he tweaked his elbow but continued to play through the Memorial, where his performance was less than Tiger-like, and aggravated it further in the rough at Merion during the U.S. Open. You couldn’t help but know something wasn’t right watching Woods on TV grimacing and grabbing his arm after many of his golf shots.
Woods finally told the media all the pained expressions were because of the elbow injury and his doctor suggested no competition for several weeks. That took Woods out of his own AT&T at Congressional. As you can see in the photo above, he was in Washington, DC, to host the event but not to perform. I just hope he’s not leaning on the injured limb.
We won’t see Tiger Woods tee it up before The Open the third week of this month at Muirfield, Scotland, a privately owned links called the home of The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers.
COMING UP NEXT MONTH…MY REVIEW OF THESE VERY COOL STREET BOOTIES GOLF SHOES FROM ECCO!!!
“THE GOLF CLUB” FLYAWAY WINNER !!!
Congratulations to Barbara Nicholls - the winner of the “The Golf Club” anniversary flyaway on Hawaiian Airlines to San Francisco.
She and her friend will spend four nights in the Palace Hotel - a Luxury Collection Hotel.
Barb was our second flyaway winner this year. Thank you Hawaiian Airlines for making my year special!
It's been another fun anniversary flyaway!
We’ll be giving away golf balls and other goodies from the prize closet this July.
I hope you’ll tune in to the show.
I’m online at www.radiogolfclub.com - live and podcast and archived.
Each radio station also has a link so you can listen from its site.
Or you can listen on the radio!
It’s “The Golf Club” show every Saturday at 7 am on KGU FM 99.5 FM on Oahu, KONI FM 104.7 on Maui, KTOH 99.9 FM on Kauai and KPUA AM 670 in Hilo.
Thank you for your Mana and may you hit the sweet spot every time!