Paula Creamer carded her low round of the year (64) to take the first round lead at the Mitchell Company Tournament Of Champions. Lorena Ochoa, Liselotte Neumann and Joo Mi Kim are tied for second with rounds of 66.
Creamer birdied eight holes and bogeyed none to take the two-shot lead. Neumann also played bogey-less, while Ochoa recovered from her one bogey with four straight birdies on holes 12 thru 15 and then scrambled a couple of times to save par – at 16 she had to take an unplayable but still made par. Joo Mi Kim had the shot of the day when she holed out for eagle at the 7th. The shot at 13 which TGC selected as SOTD was great, but couldn’t possibly have topped the one at 7 since it didn’t go in the hole! Can’t be SOTD if they don’t have tape of it, I suppose. Kim three-putted 18 for her only bogey to drop back into the tied for second.
Juli Inkster, playing for only the second time in eight weeks, fired a 67. My fave Grace Park matched Kim’s feat of two eagles (13 and 16) but doubled 17 to wind up with 70. Hilary Lunke and Moira Dunn – the two players in this field who have accomplished the least in 2006, excepting maybe Jennifer Rosales – both started strong with 69s.
I’m really starting to worry about Christina Kim. X-Tina played pretty well in the Asian events but she opened with a 78. Even worse, she’s put back on most of the weight she worked so hard to take off last off-season (this picture is from the Atlanta tournament in April). My wife and I figure the problem has been lack of time to exercise. The TOC is Christina’s 29th tournament of 2006, tying her with Julieta Granada and Mi Hyun Kim for the most on Tour. I think the worse thing Christina Kim can do to herself is lose and gain 30 pounds every year. Not only will that wreck havoc on her physically, but her game/swing has to be altered with each transformation – not a recipe for golfing success. Dottie Pepper spends a lot of time talking about how Paula Creamer needs to learn how to pace herself in respect to scheduling and sponsorship commitments – I think Christina needs to map out her schedule for ’07 with an eye on leaving available time for keeping her weight and health reasonably stable. The LPGA and its fans need this popular player to keep herself competitive for many more years. Good luck, Tina.