A look at some of the top player picks for the U.S. Women’s Open, scheduled to begin Thursday at Sebonack Golf Club:
- Inbee Park: The world’s hottest golfer, male or female, doesn’t appear to be fazed by the spotlight. The low-key Park didn’t make any advance trips to Sebonack in trying to create the normal playing week. With a victory she would have three consecutive LPGA wins and a third leg of the five-leg Grand Slam. No player has won more than three major championships in a calendar year.
- Cristie Kerr: No one in the field this week has contended more often in the U.S. Women’s Open than Kerr. She has seven top-10 finishes, including a 2007 victory at Pine Needles (N.C.) and finishes of third and T9 the last two years. Plus, this is a bit of a home game for Kerr since she resides in Manhattan for a couple of months to ease international travel connections and has also traveled to Long Island to play Sebonack numerous times.
- Paula Creamer: Since turning pro in 2004, Creamer has never finished outside of the top 20 in the U.S. Women’s Open. That includes her last LPGA victory in the 2010 U.S. Women’s Open at Oakmont, a course Creamer said reminds her of this week’s site, Sebonack. Plus, to add some momentum to her cause, Sebonack co-designer Tom Doak (with Jack Nicklaus) walked around with Creamer during a practice round earlier this week.
- Annie Park: Since joining the Southern Cal women’s golf team this spring, the 18-year-old Park won the Pac-12, NCAA Western Regional and NCAA Championship (by six strokes) in consecutive weeks and then shot 136 to qualify for the Women’s Open. Sean Foley, who coaches Tiger Woods and recent U.S. Open champion Justin Rose, is her teacher. Plus, the only Long Island native (from Levittown, N.Y., one hour west of Sebonack) in the field has played Sebonack numerous times.