You read that right. Paula Creamer creamed Highland Meadows in the 1st round of the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic, making birdies on 9 of her last 11 holes to shoot a 33 on the back (-4) and a 27 on the front (-7) of the par-71 course. With her 60, Creamer broke Se Ri Pak's tournament record of 61 from the 2nd round in 1998 and gives herself a chance to match or surpass Pak's winning total of 23-under-par.
How does it feel to be Eun-Hee Ji right now? Normally an opening round of 65 (-6) would feel pretty good. But even though she made up for her bogey on the par-5 7th hole, her 16th, with a birdie on the par-3 8th, she lost 2 strokes to Creamer there and 1 more on the 9th when she "only" parred it. There's still a lot of golf to be played, but I can't believe Ji expected to be 5 back heading into Friday. (Or, for that matter, that A.J. Eathorne and Angela Jerman planned to be 20 shots back after 18 holes!)
What makes Creamer's and Ji's rounds so special is that very few players in the morning pairings went low enough to come close even to Ji. Sure, Eva Dahloff shot a 66 and H.J. Choi a 67, but only 3 players shot a 68 (among them Se Ri Pak, although her round must be counted as a disappointment, considering she started with 3 birdies in a row on the 11th, 12th, and 13th holes and made only 1 birdie the rest of the way). With only 5 others breaking 70, that means there are only 11 players from the morning pairings within 9 shots of the lead!
We'll see how the golfers in the afternoon pairings respond to Creamer's 60 in a few hours!
[Update 1 (3:23 pm): Well, Stacy Lewis and Michelle Wie's 70s don't look quite so acceptable now as they did a couple of hours ago, do they? Especially considering that the cut line could fall at par or better once again.... Which means that Amy Yang at 73 (+2) has a lot of work cut out for her tomorrow, as does Christina Kim at 72 and Natalie Gulbis at 74.]
[Update 2 (6:39 pm): Nobody in the afternoon groups could come close to Creamer, but overall scoring was better than the morning. Nice 65 by Gloria Park to match Ji, 66 by Young Kim to match Dahloff, and 67s by Moira Dunn and Diana D'Alessio to match Choi. Momoko Ueda led the 5 (and counting) afternoon 68s, despite bogeying 3 of her 1st 5 holes on the back as she made the turn. Plus there were more 69s from the afternoon pairings than the morning ones. There could be 30 or more players within 9 shots of Creamer's lead by the close of play today.]
[Update 3 (6:45 pm): Hope no one starts treating this tournament as Creamer's to lose. Keep in mind that of the 5 players who have shot 62 that I know of in 2008, only 1 of them could manage a win that week--not Miho Koga on the JLPGA, or Angela Stanford, Angela Park, or Jane Park from the LPGA, but Akane Iijima. Sure, there are only 2 players within 5 shots of Creamer right now, but what about after Saturday's round? A lot can happen in 36 holes! And, as Creamer knows from her loss to Sorenstam in the spring and U.S. Women's Open collapse, on Sunday, too.]
[Update 4 (9:26 pm): Hound Dog's first-round recap picks up where play left off, thanks to thunderstorms in the area. Hope the course is playable tomorrow!]
[Update 5 (7/11/08, 7:59 pm): Go to GolfVideoClip.com for ESPN's highlights of the 60.]
[Update 6 (8:33 pm): A few notes from the local media: Nancy Lopez didn't start due to vertigo, Michelle Wie didn't use a driver all day but still only hit 6 fairways (but 4 of her last 5), and Paula Creamer didn't wear pink b/c she didn't want to clash with Natalie Gulbis!]