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Published: Friday, 7/11/2008

Vertigo keeps Lopez from playing

BLADE STAFF
Toledo native Stacy Lewis intently watches her ball from a sand trap on No. 9 in the opening round. She shot a 1-under 70. Toledo native Stacy Lewis intently watches her ball from a sand trap on No. 9 in the opening round. She shot a 1-under 70.
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Nancy Lopez was forced to withdraw before yesterday's first round of the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic, but that doesn't mean the LPGA Hall-of-Famer hit the road.

According to Farr director Judd Silverman, Lopez was suffering from vertigo, a disorder that can cause dizziness, unsteadiness, and nausea.

"She felt awful about having to withdraw," Silverman said. "But, apparently, it's something she deals with every now and then."

Lopez, 51, left Highland Meadows and returned to a local home to rest after pulling out of the tournament. But she expressed an interest in returning to the course today for an autograph session.

"There's an example of how she's unique," Silverman said.

Providing Lopez feels well enough, Silverman said she will be available to sign autographs starting at 9:30 a.m. behind the scorer's tent near the 18th green.

Before withdrawing, Lopez was set to begin her 16th Farr Classic. She is a three-time runner-up in the event (1985, '88, '89) and also posted a third-place finish in 1997.

She has played at Highland Meadows in each of the last three years. The Farr was the only LPGA event in which she competed during the 2006 season.

IN THE PAK: Se Ri Pak's record is broken, but her will is intact.

Pak, the five-time Farr champion, is tied for ninth place after registering a round of 3-under 68. It won't be easy for Pak to catch leader Paula Creamer, but Pak is keeping the eight-stroke deficit in perspective.

"I still feel my game is on, so hopefully starting [today] I'll move up," Pak said. "It's important to start out very well, but we still have three days to go."

Pak was pleased with her performance, putting not withstanding.

"I struck it really well and I had a lot of opportunities," she said. "I just didn't make many putts."

NAT NOT HAPPY: Natalie Gulbis stayed about 10 minutes after her round to sign autographs and meet with fans. She did a good job of hiding her true emotions after shooting a 74.

"Not very good," Gulbis said. "I have a lot of work to do. I didn't hit it very close. I didn't have a lot of putts inside 20 feet."

WIE POWER: Earlier this week, Michelle Wie said when she played in the Farr at age 13, she hit a driver on every hole.

Five years later, Wie is back and things have changed. After shooting a first-round score of one-under 70, Wie said she didn't use any drivers.

"It's just not set up to hit driver here," Wie said.

Wie had five birdies and four bogeys in her round, birdieing three of her final six holes to finish under par.

"I've just got to hit more fairways," Wie said. "The holes I hit fairways on I did pretty well on. I've got to get more confidence in my tee shots and just work on everything."

LEWIS FRUSTRATED: Toledo-born Stacy Lewis shot a 1-under-par 70 in the first round. She was the first group off hole No. 1.

After three birdies on the front nine Lewis had just one on the back nine to go along with three bogeys overall.

"I'm pretty disappointed because I hit the ball better than how I scored," Lewis said. "I just couldn't really get the ball down in the hole."

For the second straight year, a group of about 20 of Lewis' family and friends sported "Lew Crew" T-shirts.

"It's awesome to have family and other people out there cheering for you," said Lewis, who moved away at age 2.

KIM RECOVERING: 2006 Farr champion Mi Hyun Kim shot a 2-under 69, playing in the same group as Paula Creamer. Kim is recovering from surgery on her right knee last December.

"It's a little tough," Kim said. "I'm a little tired, my knee is tired after nine holes. I can hang in there."

NO DEMONS: There is a saying in golf that there are horses for courses, but Eva Dahllof would not be considered a horse for Highland Meadows. The Swede has played in the Farr Classic on 10 previous occasions, missing the cut five times and only once finishing better than in 51st place.

Yesterday, though, she tossed a 5-under 66 at the Meadows and is in a tie for fourth place after one round.

What was the difference?

"If I could answer that I'd be really rich," Dahllof said. "I know I'm a really good ball-striker and I was able to find something that worked today and I just tried to stay in the moment.

"I can't say I had great expectations, but I felt pretty good and I tried to keep it simple. I've been struggling, but today my misses were good ones."

Dahllof, who attended Oklahoma State University and now lives in South Carolina, knocked it close on one hole after another and made six birdies during her round. Four came on putts of six or fewer feet.

"The key is just focusing on the process and not having too many thoughts," she said. "You can't let those old demons come out."

- Dave Hackenberg, Maureen Fulton, Ryan Autullo



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