By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Home-course knowledge proved to be valuable Monday. The thunderstorm that blew in early Monday morning also shifted the wind from south to north at the Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club
The overwhelming majority of the field in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links hadn’t arrived at the course until Saturday to begin playing practice rounds, and hadn’t played the course with the wind blowing out of any direction but the south.
“It’s a very good thing to know how to play the golf course in those conditions,” said Oklahoma’s Anne-Catherine Tanguay, who shot an opening-round 69. “I think a north wind makes the course harder because the finishing holes on both sides are harder.”
Of course, Tanguay has played the course hundreds of times.
Mariel Galdiano, who opened with a 2-under 70, actually thought the wind shift helped the field.
“I think it made it a little easier,” she said.
Casey Danielson, who is tied with Tanguay at 3-under, didn’t get to play the course in anything but a south wind. However, she has her sister, Lindsay, caddying for her. Lindsay played college golf at Wisconsin and finished tied for 15th in the 2011 Susie Maxwell Berning Classic at the OU course.
“It helps to have her on the bag because she knows were to land it and where to hit the drives,” Danielson said.
Room to grow: The youngest player in the field is 10-year-old Lucy Li, from Redwood City, Calif. She is the second-youngest player in the tournament’s history.
Li made a strong showing Monday with an opening-round 77, which left her in a tie for 70th. The round could have been better, but Li was assessed a two-stroke penalty for tapping down a spike mark on the 12th green.
Local youth: Norman’s Yujeong Son, 12, opened with a 9-over 81. She’s currently tied for 102nd, but only five shots outside the current cut line.
Son, who will be a seventh-grader at Irving Middle School come August and who is the reigning 2012 U.S. Kids Golf National Player of the Year after winning her age division at the 2012 U.S. Kids Golf World Championship, said it was a matter of controlling her emotions.
“It wasn’t my best. I shot a 43 on the back nine, which was my front nine. I got really upset over that and I think that’s why I played so badly,” she said. On the front nine, I played pretty good. I was two over. I’m not going to get upset over it.”
Praise for the course: The Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club drew positive reviews for the players.
“It’s pretty nice for a public golf course. The greens are fantastic. They rolled really well,” said Annie Park, who won the NCAA Individual title at USC last month and is tied for the lead after Monday’s opening-round 68. “The course layout is pretty good and challenging. When you’re hitting it straight, it shouldn’t be that challenging, but still it’s a nice course.”
Championship experience: There are three USGA champions in the WPAL field: Doris Chen, 20, of Bradenton, Fla. (2010 U.S. Girls’ Junior); Kyung Kim, 19, of Chandler, Ariz. (2012 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links); and Emily Tubert, 21, of Burbank, Calif. (2010 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links).
Chen is tied for the lead at 4-under after Monday’s opening round. Kim is at even par. Tubert, however, has some work to do today. She’s currently tied for 70th after opening with a 77.
Starting late: The early-moring thunderstorm did wreak a little havoc with the tournament. The first tee times were pushed back 30 minutes due to lightning in the area.
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