Just as it was about to become a cakewalk, the Women’s U.S. Open produced some of the excitement we golf junkies crave.
First, Houston’s own Stacy Lewis, who had made only eight birdies through the first three rounds, blistered the already parched-looking Pinehurst No. 2 course for eight more in the final round; Lewis delivered on the course and in her post-round interview a message to Michelle Wie that she would indeed have to earn her first major victory.
Wie added to the tension with an errant shot resulting in an unplayable lie-induced double bogey at the 16th, and it was off to the practice tee for Lewis to warm up in anticipation of a playoff.
Wie suddenly looked all grown up. She dug in, birdied the 17th; then, she killed her tee shot at the final hole, flipped a wedge shot onto the green and two-putted for the win. Grown up, and looking even taller than her 6 feet in height, she laughed, she cried, and she got doused in Champagne by her fellow competitors.
Good for her. Her game, her life, her demeanor and behavior have been dissected, analyzed, criticized and polarizing second only Tiger Woods. Wie said that at age 24 with college degree (Stanford) in hand, she feels she’s just begun her second career in golf. She’s the same age as was Annika Sorenstam when she won her first U.S. Open. Here’s hoping she chases all of Annika’s records.
American women finished 1-2: Take that, American men.
An article in the June 23 issue of GolfWorld postulates that the now completed back-to-back U.S. Opens at Pinehurst constitute “…exhibit A for environmentally sound courses.”
“Brown is the New Green” is the theme, and Ron Sirak’s piece acknowledges Pinehurst’s water conservation program (35 million gallons saved annually) as an important contribution to the “campaign many see as crucial to getting the game affordable, accessible and growing again.”
He even said, “…brown golf is not only more affordable, but more fun,” adding that a once booming economy turned courses lush and green; also, that they became, among other things, too expensive to build and too expensive to play.
Pinehurst No. 2 is on the bucket list of many duffers. I’ll let you know when the cost to play No. 2 is reduced from its current $420.
Be safe, on and off the course.
Gean Leonard is a columnist for The Daily News and can be reached at Gean.GDNgolf@gmail.com.