Ward Plays Way Into Contention


By Stuart Hall
July 10, 2010

Oakmont, Pa. — By no means is Wendy Ward presuming that she will win this 65th U.S. Women’s Open. But if history is any predictor, mediocre play has preceded each of her four LPGA Tour victories.

In 1997, for instance, after five missed cuts and zero top-10 finishes in 23 previous starts, Ward won her final start of the year, the Fieldcrest Cannon Classic. Nearly five months later, Ward, in her fourth start of ’98, won the Cup Noodles Hawaiian Ladies Open. Her 2001 win at the Wendy’s Championship for Children came the week after she missed the cut at the Weetabix Women’s British Open.

“I haven’t had the best start [to 2010], that’s for sure,” said Ward, who has only one top-15 finish in 11 starts. Looking for an

Wendy Ward waves after making her putt on three during the --- b_10USWO__J5F3017
 Coming off a missed cut last week, Wendy Ward had no reason to believe she would be a contender at this week's Women's Open. (John Mummert/USGA)
omen?  One of her missed cuts came at last week’s Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic in Toledo, Ohio.

“For me, in what appears to be poor or average play, there are those rounds that are so close, but the scorecards don’t reflect that. So it’s nice to see some of those putts falling and see some of the rewards of things I’ve been working on.”

On a 36-hole leaderboard that shows seven Americans among the top 14, Ward, the 1994 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion, is clearly in the mix. A second-round 73 that leaked a little oil on her second nine – three bogeys in a five-hole stretch – placed her at 3-over 145, tied for eighth and three shots back of Sakura Yokomine and Paula Creamer.

“Two days ago, I would have taken that [position] running,” said Ward, 37, of San Antonio, Texas, who has never finished higher than 19th in this championship. “We’ve still got 36 holes, so there’s no pressure … yet. The course puts pressure on you every shot. It doesn’t let up whether it’s a tee shot, an approach shot or even the putts. There’s no let-up.”

In her first two rounds Ward has hit 64 percent of the Oakmont fairways and 75 percent of the greens in regulation. Putting has been her nemesis. Of the three second-round bogeys, two were a result of being too aggressive.

“Out here, you’re trying constantly to leave yourself the better second putt, and one was a push and one was a good putt that just didn’t go in,” she said.

As for what the afternoon and evening holds, Ward is treating Saturday like a day of Solheim Cup competition – which she has played twice for the United States – when  she had to play back-to-back matches.

“And for me, right now, it’s just halftime,” she said.

Ward may also want to believe her 36-hole performance has been run-of-the-mill. That may just bode well for a strong Sunday finish.

Stuart Hall is a freelance writer whose work has appeared previously on USGA websites.

Follow the USGA
Become a Facebook Fan of the USGAFollow us on Twitter @usopengolf
World Amateur Golf Ranking
WAGR Counting Event
Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
Chevron
   

The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.


Chevron image
Rolex
   

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.



Rolex image
IBM
   

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website, www.usopen.com, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit http://www.usopen.com/IBM

AmEx image
Lexus
   

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit http://www.lexus.com/

AmEx image
American Express
   

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit www.americanexpress.com/entertainment


AmEx image