Park Sends 12 Players Home From Pine Needles

Saturday, June 30th 2007, 3:43 pm
By: News On 6

SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. (AP) _ Angela Park knocked a dozen players out of the U.S. Women's Open, and all it took was a pair of late putts.

Park's shots _ a 10-footer on No. 8 and a winding 20-foot on No. 9, both for par _ closed out her 69 in the second round and gave her a two-shot lead.

``I just looked at it and I said, 'OK, it's going to go left-to-right and then right straight to the hole,''' Park said of her putt at No. 9. ``I hit it and it went in, so keep it simple.''

The cut is top 60 and ties, plus anyone within 10 shots of the lead. Since only 58 players finished within 10 shots of Park's 5-under 137, the cut was made at 6 over with 67 players.

Two-time champion Juli Inkster was among those missing the cut. Joining her was Suzann Pettersen, who was coming off her first major title at the LPGA Championship.

Inkster had rallied Friday afternoon with four birdies in five holes, and returned to face a 12-foot birdie on the eighth Saturday morning. But she missed, then took bogey on the ninth for a 71 that left her at 7-over 149, missing the cut for the first time since 1998 in the U.S. Women's Open.

Christina Kim took bogey on the last hole to miss the cut and left Pine Needles in tears.

Also missing the cut was Karrie Webb, the winner the last time the Women's Open came to Pine Needles in 2001. She opened with a career-worst 83, and followed that with an even-par 71.

``I could have shot two 6-over rounds and been at the same score, missing the cut by just as many,'' Webb said.


VACATION'S OVER: Though 12-year-old Alexis Thompson was sent home early from the Open, its youngest-ever qualifier received valuable lessons.

``I saw what I have to be, what my game has to be like, what has to be good in my game _ my short game if you miss the green,'' Thompson said. ``So I'm going to work on that _ I'm going to work on everything _ but it was an awesome experience.''

Thompson, who supplanted Morgan Pressel as the youngest golfer to play her way into the field, made it to the weekend in unorthodox fashion _ when rain cut short her second round Friday, she came back Saturday morning to wrap up her final 4 1/2 holes and finish 16 over.

Her father, Scott, who also was her caddie, says he hopes his daughter grows stronger in the coming years to add length to her drives.

``She thinks she should have done a lot better (and) she can play a lot better than she did,'' he said. ``But it's tough, and there are a few things we've got to work on when we get home. We'll be better next time.''


FIELD'S DAY: Sally Field likes golf. She really, really likes golf.

Instead of merely watching the Open from the gallery, the Academy Award-winning actress tried playing, taking her first lesson on a practice hole at Pine Needles with renowned teacher and former LPGA star Peggy Kirk Bell.

``It's one thing I want in my life _ I want a sport in my life where it's one thing I go out and play,'' Field said. ``I would go to all these locations and think ... why don't I play golf? People walk around and enjoy God, God's gifts, the trees, so I think I've always thought I should have that in my life.''

Field, who stars in ABC's ``Brothers and Sisters,'' also came to the Open to promote awareness of women's health issues, including osteoporosis, the disease of progressive bone loss and fractures that affects millions of Americans. Field was diagnosed with it last year.

She said she keeps a set of golf clubs in her bedroom to remind her of her goals.

Field was enjoying being at the Open, talking about women's health and getting a lesson from one of golf's greatest teachers.

``It's absolutely a kick,'' she said.