Date: July 14, 2009

Stacey Keating blog: Excitement at US Women’s Open

Stacey Keating writes: We arrived into Bethlehem on Sunday night and to say we were a little excited was an absolute understatement. We were about to spend a week (staying in the same house) watching one of the best players in the world (Karrie) prepare for the biggest tournament of the year, the US Open at Saucon Valley Country Club My goal this week was to just learn as much as possible about how the big guns prepare for a tournament, and pick Karrie s brain a little (but at the same time appreciating that she has a job to do this week, so not wanting to be too sticky!) on anything to do with the game and with regards to my future and what the best way to go about getting where I want to be. On Monday we spent the day watching Karrie in her practice round. This was great as Karrie had a great group of Meg Mellon, Meagan Franchella and Nicole Hage, so we got to watch all of them, along with watching other groups of Lorena Ochoa, Paula Creamer, Suzan Pettersen, Katherine Hull and the list goes on. Everyone was just spending a lot of time around the greens, maybe hitting a couple of balls into the green but mostly pitching, chipping and putting. Mainly just getting used to the different thicker grasses, and of course getting pace of the greens. We also spent a bit of time at the driving range watching players practice which was great! After a long day we had to head home and of course we still got to hang with Karrie! Well Tuesday was one of our more memorable days! We actually went to a public course in the morning to do a little practice ourselves just to keep sharp for our next competition, but then back to the Open course mid morning. We did similar things as yesterday just wondering around watching players practice and then of course went to watch Karrie. She was paired with Meg Mallon, Pat Hurst and Juli Inkster. So between them they had 17 Majors! Loving it! So this was great to watch them and to get to meet them all was even better. But wait it got even better- Karrie let us walk inside the ropes! And Mikey (Mike Patterson,her caddy) even let me rake a bunker (yes, maybe small things amuse small minds, but we were at the US Open!) Then it got better again! On the final hole Julia and I were allowed to caddy for Karrie! We had to put the bib on, do the yardages etc, but I was so nervous and mucked the yardage up a little. This was just the best day. Wednesday was the final practice day. Karrie was only doing a little practice today so she could rest before her first round. She played 9 holes, again doing similar things , just lots of short game. Then she spent a little time on the range and putting green and then she was ready. While Karrie was having the afternoon off to rest, Karrie had teed up for us to play a round of golf. She asked us if it was ok if we played with a friend of her&aposs. Beth Daniel! I m not sure what words came out of my mouth when she said that but I was so excited and I will admit very nervous! Beth is a major winner (1990 LPGA Championship) and Hall of Fame member. This was great, she was really good to us and we picked up lots of bits and pieces from her advice. In Round 1, Karrie had an early tee time, which was good. She played well just got unlucky on a couple of holes and took 2 doubles, one which her ball bounced out of bounds and they only just put the Out of Bounds post in on Thursday morning. Apart from that she played well to finish at +4 on this tough golf course. Similar to Wimbledon, we were loving being able to show our Aussie colours and this did cause us to get a little attention from the Media (not that we minded!) We were interviewed by NBC and a few of the local papers so we were very excited to run to the mail box in the morning and see our mugs in there! In the afternoon Julia and I just walked around watching other players that we had an interest in, trying to take it all in. In Round 2, Karrie was off late so I went and did some practice in the morning and then headed to the course mid morning to watch other players. We watched Lindsey Wright play a lot and she was doing really well. Karrie hit off at 1:30 so we watched her and Karrie had arranged for us to have a tour of the NBC TV trucks! This was so interesting, we got to watch them going to air, and it was just crazy, everyone yelling and trying to get it all right, it was so good to see how the golf really gets to air. We caught her on her 3rd hole for the day, just as she holed her birdie putt. (we figure she needed us there!) Karrie hit is great that day and she was knocking the pins out! Four birdies in total, unfortunately she had 5 bogeys, but it was a great score of +1. To have four birdies in a round at this US Open venue was great to watch. Unfortunately (yet I am excited to be going to play) but we had to leave on Saturday morning to go and get ready for the US Amateur pre-qualifying in Missouri. We hope Karrie won&apost be too lost without us! She is probably glad to have some peace and quiet. I know I keep saying that every week is better than the last, but I can&apost think of how anything could top this. We have learnt so much this week, and of course had a blast along the way.