by Jeff Skinner
It was just a matter of time. Paula Creamer finally won her first and most coveted major championship. At Oakmont Country Club the soon to be U.S. Women’s Open Champion looked to be in control of a golf course that had sent many of the world’s best home early. Battling the difficult course with a very weak and sore left thumb she saved her best round for last as she managed a title clinching, two under par 69 that brought her the U.S. Open title.
Creamer never let anyone get closer than two shots to her all day and essentially put the championship away right after her bogey on number twelve. With back to back birdies on 14 and 15 she moved to three under par and no one could catch her. She played some of her best shots of the week when the pressure was the greatest. Her iron play was stellar down the stretch and she had birdie looks time and time again. She said afterward that it was by far her best pressure performance ever.
She had seen this championship slip away from her the past two years with a 78 in the final round two years ago and a 79 in the third round last year. There would be no such collapse this year. Playing with a strict hole by hole game plan Creamer never tried to force a shot all week. If she was in the rough or a troublesome bunker she took her medicine and played on from there. The USGA once again proved their affinity for par as Creamer was the only player to finish in red numbers.
When Creamer started winning LPGA tournaments while she still was in high school in 2005 it was thought she would have her first major long before now. But while Creamer had no problems winning on the LPGA her best finish in a major previously was two third place ties.
While Creamer did not develop into the major winning machine that Annika Sorestam was she grew into the face of American face of the LPGA. With her bright smile, fashion sense and bubbly personality she has become the embodiment of the popular LPGA player. Even though she is only 23 she seems to have been on tour much longer than her five and one half years. She has the maturity of an older veteran and appeals to many different fan bases. She is the daughter parents love to have. She is the fashion plate that women emulate. She is the player that golf watchers love to see compete and she embraces her responsibility as a role model and face of the tour. She wore a bunch of elastic bracelets all week that young fans had given her.
She may look cute and cuddly, like her Pink Panther nickname intimates, but she competes more like a lion on the hunt. She is as tough a competitor as there is on tour and a model sportswoman. She is her generations Nancy Lopez with a little bit of Arnold Palmer and Phil Mickelson mixed in. The cry for American golfers to step forward and win has been heard for years. Cristie Kerr and Paula Creamer have given the Americans the last two major championships. If they have anything to say about it there will be plenty more to come.