It’s been a year of change for Paula Creamer, but Saturday at the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by ACER, it looked like the Creamer of old was stalking the fairways.
The 31-year-old fired her round of the year at the Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club, a 5-under-par 66, to sit just two shots back of the lead held by Celine Herbin.
Creamer got her round in before dangerous weather in the area caused a suspension of play mid-afternoon Saturday.
Creamer made eight birdies in the second round – all coming back-to-back, a feat she repeated four times – and three bogeys.
“It's nice to be able to make a lot of birdies,” said Creamer. “I don't think I've made this many birdies in like the last three months, so it was good to actually have it all in one round.”
The 10-time LPGA Tour winner returned to action earlier this year after off-season wrist surgery, a coaching change, and a separation from her husband of three years.
She’s come in refreshed and rejuvenated, but has experienced some growing pains as she’s gotten adjusted to a lot of things all at once.
However, Creamer said her round Saturday could be a turning point for more good things to come. She said she’s been working on everything from putting to chipping to bunker play to her driver this year.
Creamer said sitting out for six months was the “hardest thing she ever had to do” but said her doctor gave her the “Rolls Royce” treatment so she wouldn’t have to have surgery ever again.
It was a last resort, the surgery, and it’s resulted in all these swing changes she’s had to undertake. She’s hopeful for the future, though.
“After my surgery we just really wanted to break everything down and basically start over again,” she said. “Now that I'm strong and healthy I can do a lot more things with my golf swing.”
Creamer finished tied for seventh here a year ago and could have battled for the lead Sunday but struggled to a 3-over-par 74. However, her T-7 result was her best finish of the year.
She admitted she put pressure on herself last year and didn’t quite perform the way she wanted to. This year, after the surgery and all the changes that have happened, she said she’s just going to go out Sunday and “have fun and enjoy it.”
“I think this time last year was kind of a turning point just with my confidence,” she said. “Being back in contention is obviously something that I want, but this definitely made a turning point for me last year, so we'll see if it does it again this year.