Livermore’s Casie Cathrea, who took medalist honors at the Sectional Qualifying tournament at Lake Merced Golf Club on May 20th to earn a spot in the field at this week’s U. S. Women’s Open, got a taste of the USGA’s idea of a “stern test of golf” today at Sebonack Golf Club on Long Island. Play in the premier women’s golf tournament in the world started today and continues through Sunday, June 30th.
Starting on the back nine with a 1:08 PM tee time, the Livermore teen got off to a bumpy start at +2 through nine holes, with just two birdies, on the par-5 thirteenth hole and par-3 seventeenth, to match against four bogeys.
Her troubles continued after the turn, when she racked up three straight bogeys on the opening trio of holes to go to +5. Local fans will know that the future Oklahoma State University Cowgirl, who plays in OSU orange, has the ability to come back strong when things aren’t going right, and she showed that this afternoon at Sebonack.
Righting the ship somewhat after what could have been a knockout punch for a less-determined golfer, she followed the trio of bogeys with a birdie at the 341-yard par-4 fourth hole, three straight pars, then another birdie at the par-5 eighth. The eight hole is a 500-yard par-5 which is considered a birdie opportunity for long hitters, and Cathrea’s length off the tee stood her in good stead here. After parring the ninth (which is usually the #1 hole on the course – the front side was re-routed for this tournament for better flow), the Livermore teen closed out the day at +3.
One of sixteen players at T-65 after the first day, including San Jose native and 10-year LPGA veteran Christina Kim, Cathrea has some work ahead of her during Thursday’s second round if she is to make the cut, which comes at top 60 and ties. The long-hitting Livermore teen hit 12 of 14 fairways with an average drive of 266.5 yards, but 12 of 18 greens and 33 putts tell the story of her round – she’ll need to pick up the pace in her short game if she wants to see the weekend.
At the other end of the experience spectrum, Los Altos resident Juli Inkster, a 2-time winner of this championship who is playing in a record-setting 34th U. S. Women’s Open, carded an even-par 72 today and is tied at 28th with, among others, Pleasanton native Paula Creamer. Creamer is the 2010 U. S. Women’s Open champion, and the last American to hold the title. Cristie Kerr, the last American before Creamer to hold the title, in 2007, is also T-28 at even par.
Alameda’s Emily Childs, who placed second behind Cathrea in the May 20th qualifier at Lake Merced Golf Club and is paired with her for the first two rounds, fired a 5-over 77, as did Monterey’s Mina Harigae, a third-year LPGA pro. Childs, a 2012 Cal grad, ran afoul of Sebonack’s narrow fairways and co-designer Tom Doak’s bunkers, hitting 9 of 14 fairways, 10 of 18 greens, and going 2 for 4 in sand saves.
The third qualifier from the Lake Merced sectional, Lafayette’s Elizabeth Schultz, came in at +6 on the day. The rising senior at Acalanes High School was +5 at the turn after carding 1 birdie against 4 bogeys and a double. Running afoul of the par-4 eleventh hole, which runs neck-and-neck with the second hole for hardest to hit in regulation, Schultz carded a dreaded “snowman” – an 8 – at the dramatic 434-yard par-4 to go to +9. She showed some grit over the remaining seven holes, however, taking back 3 strokes with a birdie at the 549-yard par-5 thirteenth hole, and a dramatic hole-out eagle on the par-4 sixteenth hole.
Cathrea and Childs, who are playing together, tee off at 7:18 AM on Friday on the #1 tee; Schultz has a later start, at 12:41, starting on the back nine.
Television coverage of the second round can be found on ESPN2 from 3:00-7:00 PM. Coverage continues on the weekend on NBC, both Saturday and Sunday, with a pre-game show from 2:30-3:00 PM and tournament coverage from 3:00-6:00 PM (all times EDT).