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[IP] Another Woman Golfer on the Pump :-)
Today's NY Times:
June 4, 1999
Kuehne's 64, a Course Record, Leads by 1 in U.S. Open
By CLIFTON BROWN
WEST POINT, Miss. -- It was 90 degrees in the shade, but Kelli Kuehne's
performance was even hotter.
Playing with poise and precision, and displaying the talent that carried
her to United States Amateur championships in 1995 and 1996, Kuehne
stole the first-round spotlight at the United States Women's Open
Thursday. She shot the second-best round in Open history, set a course
record at Old Waverly Golf Club, finished with an eight-under-par 64 and
led by one stroke over Juli Inkster, who birdied the last two holes.
Moira Dunn, a three-time New York women's amateur champion from Utica,
N.Y., was in third place at five-under-par 67.
Se Ri Pak, the defending champion, was tied for fourth at 68 with Dottie
Pepper and Sherri Steinhauer. Play was suspended by darkness with 15
players on the course, but none of those players were near the leaders.
This was the Kuehne many expected to see last year, when she joined the
Ladies Professional Golf Association tour at age 21, backed by a
lucrative contract from Nike and carrying great expectations after a
splendid amateur career.
But Kuehne struggled as a rookie, earning just $39,831 and finishing
124th on the money list.
She returned this year with a fresh attitude and a better game. And she
began wearing an insulin pump on her waist while playing, allowing her
to cope better with the diabetes she has had since the age of 10.
After winning her first pro tournament last Sunday, the Corning Classic,
Kuehne entered this week with momentum. Is she ready to win a United
States Open at age 22? Didn't Pak win last year at age 20?
"My driving was solid, my irons were sharp, and my putting was true,"
said Kuehne, who only needed 25 putts during her round. "I've been
playing really well and I came here this week with a lot of confidence."
Kuehne fell one stroke short of the Open record of 63 shot by Helen
Alfredsson in 1994 during the first round at Indianwood Golf and Country
Club in Lake Orion, Mich. But that was a par-71 course, so Kuehne's
eight-under score today matched Alfredsson's eight-under score.
Making eight birdies during a bogey-free round, Kuehne's putting stroke
was the key. She set the tone at No. 1 by making a 30-footer for birdie
and she made another 30-footer at No. 12, and an 18-footer at No. 15.
When Kuehne made four consecutive birdies at No. 6 through No. 9 and
made the turn at five-under par, the leader board was filled with red
numbers. The Open is not usually a birdie-fest, but with the greens
softened by heavy rains Wednesday, and with the rough at Old Waverly
lower than at most Open courses, players kept firing at pins and making
Besides a 43-minute suspension because of lightning, the toughest
obstacle was the heat, with 90-degree afternoon temperatures coupled
with 60 percent humidity.
However, no player looked cooler than Kuehne, who, at 5 feet 2 inches,
averages about 245 yards off the tee. She is part of a remarkable
golfing family from Dallas. Her oldest brother, Trip, finished second to
Tiger Woods at the 1995 United States Amateur. Her 23-year-old brother,
Hank, is the reigning United States Amateur champion, and will turn
professional when he leaves Southern Methodist University this year.
Kuehne's parents, Ernie and Pam, followed their daughter with pride
today, and smiled with every birdie. "She put a lot of pressure on
herself last year," her father said.
"It was tough for her. But she's really coming on now."
Kelli admitted as much earlier in the week. "It's nice to know I still
have the same instinct I had during my amateur days, because that's been
missing for a while," Kuehne said. "I've struggled as a pro. The most
frustrating thing is that I have not played to my potential.
"When I came out here, it was great that I had a great amateur record,
but it didn't do anything for me. I needed to earn the respect of my
peers. It's something I had to reestablish this year by playing well."
Her round today was one to savor. And she hoped the best was yet to
NANCY LOPEZ, trying to win her first United States Open in her 23d
attempt, struggled to a four-over-par 76. . . . GRACE PARK (70) and
JIMIN KANG (70) of Korea were the day's low amateurs.
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