Oakmont, Pa. -- As much as Kelli Shean wanted — and knew — to go to sleep on Thursday night, she just could not.
An opening-round 1-under 70 gave Shean, a 22-year-old amateur from South Africa, a brief early evening lead that eventually gave way to Brittany Lang’s 2-under 69. Nevertheless, Shean’s performance was cause for merriment — both back home and here.
We’re going to celebrate tonight, Stephen Shean said immediately following his daughter’s round at Oakmont Country Club.
Friends and family, though, were cognizant of Shean’s 7 a.m. second-round starting time on Friday.
The first thing everybody said to me last night was that I needed to go home and get some rest and go to sleep, Shean said. I couldn't. I was too excited about this whole thing. You know, my Facebook was overloaded last night.
Shean tried to fall asleep, she really did. She responded to well wishes from family and friends, but still found sleep to be elusive.
Finally, at around 2 a.m., Shean drifted off. Her wake-up call came 2½ hours later.
I wanted to play, she said. I really did. I couldn't wait to come back out here.
As exhilarating as the first round was, the second was exhausting. Another five-hour, 30-minute round resulted in an 8-over 79 that pushed Shean down to 7-over for the championship, which currently ties her for 59th with less than half the field completing 36 holes due to a weather suspension that ended play at 2:29 p.m.
Shean, however, remains upbeat.
I mean, I'm an amateur, said Shean, a senior at the University of Arkansas. It's not like I can take any money home or anything like that, so I'm just gonna go out there and take all the experience and the memories as the prize of making it this weekend.
And with round two done, Shean had plenty of time for a nap.
Glad To Be Done
Vicky Hurst was standing under a tree located just outside the women’s locker room at Oakmont Country Club when a few drops of rain began falling. The wind was picking up as the Friday afternoon thunderstorm began lumbering in.
Hurst had just signed for a 6-over-par 77 and was seven over for championship, tied for 59th.
I’m happy to be finished with the first two days, so I just want to go back, relax, clear my mind and start over again tomorrow, said Hurst.
Within 30 minutes of Hurst uttering those words, play was suspended for the day, meaning Hurst would go into Saturday six shots behind 36-hole clubhouse leaders Cristie Kerr and Christina Kim.
Play will resume at 7:30 a.m. with at least 27 players not having teed off or completed their first hole.
A couple of birdies and you’re right back in it, said Hurst about her position on the leaderboard. I think one over might be the leader after the second round.
Hurst’s rationale was based on changing course conditions that players have not encountered this week, such as heightened winds and softer conditions. Plus players are playing [Oakmont] for a second time and might become more aggressive, she said. That could be costly.
Getting Into Bandz
Silly Bandz are soooo the rage these days.
It's understandable why 15-year-old Alexis Thompson would wear the rubber bands that, when taken off the wrist, morph into a gamut of items, including animals, vehicles, baseball and princess figures.
I have seven, said Thompson, admitting that she is not a collector or trader like some children who are believed to have upwards of 1,000. I got one from a little girl the other day.
As for 26-year-old Christina Kim, who wore four on her left wrist on Friday?
I stole them from very small children, she joked. No, they were willing to part with them. I’m not going to say no if someone gives me a gift.
In describing her collection, Kim pulled each one off and displayed them in her hand.
The first two were a birdie — the girl tried to tell me it’s a duck, but you don’t want ducks in golf — and a giraffe, like Michelle [Wie], that’s what I call her, Kim said. Then I have a car and a truck.
Kim did not have much leverage with the little girl who gave up the car and truck.
She had a star and a bunny rabbit and I wanted those, she said, but she only wanted to give me the cars.
Thompson said her bands were also given to her, the favorite being a breast cancer ribbon.
We Have An Ace
Sun Gyoung Park, a Korean-born amateur who now resides in the Tucson, Ariz., suburb of Vail, made the first hole-in-one of the championship at the 141-yard, par-3 sixth hole. Park used an 8-iron to make the 21st ace in U.S. Women’s Open history and the first since 2008. Unfortunately, Park, a quarterfinalist at the 2009 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship, was seven over par for the day through 16 holes – and 16 over for the championship – when play was suspended.
Stuart Hall is a freelance writer whose work has previously appeared on USGA websites.