Lee’s low-key demeanor a key to victory
Who said that off-course distractions don’t translate to success in a tournament? Ilhee Lee’s victory last week in the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic is an example of how being comfortable in your surroundings pays off.
The 24-year-old South Korean became the second consecutive first-time winner in 2013 (after Jennifer Johnson). When approximately a foot of rain forced the tournament to be compacted into 36 holes and 12-hole rounds, Lee found comfort in where she was staying and didn’t stress out over when and how the tournament would conclude.
The Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island offered the opportunity to swim in the adjacent ocean and in the series of pools that the resort includes in its entertainment. Lee spent five hours at the pool one day, including numerous trips down a glass tube slide that moves through an aquarium of sharks. She spent five hours at the pool one day as the course was being prepared for limited play. At night, she visited the casino and didn’t feel financially strained.
“The shark tank slide is the best,” Lee said. “(In the casino) I lost 45 bucks, that’s it. Not bad, huh?”
Lee made the LPGA in the 2009 Qualifying Tournament after surviving a playoff for the last card. She won $195,000 for her first LPGA victory last week.
Rain, rain go away
Last week’s shortened Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic and abbreviated course was not unprecedented for the LPGA. In 1988 at the Women’s Kemper Open, two holes on the Princeville Maki Course had to be abandoned in the first round because of massive rain. Betsy King rallied in the final round to win at 8-under, one stroke better than Beth Daniel.
The flooding last week at the Tom Weiskopf-designed course came after a foot of rain in approximately five hours on Tuesday night turned a lake in the middle of the course into an extension of the ocean. Approximately 45 million gallons of water was pumped off the course by the maintenance crew. Brittany Lincicome and Stacy Lewis fished on the course and nearly caught a 4-foot tarpon in a spot where they would usually be playing golf.
Lewis strolled to 2012 victory in New Jersey
Stacy Lewis had such a large lead entering the final round of last year’s ShopRite LPGA Classic that she broke a recent trend. Since 1995, every winner of the tournament had shot 69 or lower to capture the title. Lewis opened with consecutive 65s for a six-stroke lead and shot a final-round, even-par 71 to win by four strokes.
Donna Andrews was the previous winner to fail to shoot a final round in the 60s; she shot 74 in 1994. The winner’s final rounds have including a 63 and two 64s. In 24 tournaments since the first event in 1986, winners have shot in the 70s only five times in the final round. Annika Sorenstam holds the ShopRite tournament record of 196 (1998 and 2005). She finished with 65 and 64 those years.
A look at the winner’s since 1995 and their final-round scores:
|2006||Seon Hwa Lee||63|
|1999||Se Ri Pak||66|
Historic course at Stockton Seaview
The late Sam Snead held this week’s Bay Course at Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club close to his heart. Part of the Bay Course was used during the 1942 PGA Championship where Snead captured his first major championship, beating Jim Turnesa 2 and 1 in the final of a competition that was then contested at match play. Snead won on the eve of his enlistment in the Navy and earlier earned a one-week extension in order to enter the PGA. He would spent the next 2 ½ years serving during World War II.
The course was originally laid out by Hugh Wilson in 1914, with Donald Ross completing it in 1915. Bob Cupp restored the original design in 1997.
Located on Reeds Bay, a few miles northwest of Atlantic City, N.J., the Bay Course includes classic mounding, difficult bunkering and small greens.
Juli Inkster won the first LPGA competition at the course in 1986, shooting 4-under-par 209 to beat Patti Rizzo by three in the Atlantic City LPGA Classic.
Laura Davies and Jimin Kang share the course record, with 62s in 2005. Kang shot a nine-hole 27 that year.