Sal Maiorana at the LPGA event in Rochester:
Karrie Webb may have felt like biting her tongue after completing a disappointing 2-over-par 74 in the first round of the Wegmans LPGA on Thursday.
During a pre-tournament interview, Webb was asked if Locust Hill Country Club — with its lush rough and fast greens — would be an ideal prep course for next week's U.S. Women's Open.
"I think it's perfect for driving the ball because it's really a tough challenge driving the ball," said Webb. "We're going to be facing a lot longer second shots (at Newport Country Club in the Open) into par-4s than we do here. But it's always good to touch up the wedge game and the short irons because if you are missing a few fairways at the Open, you're probably chunking it out to about that distance anyway."
However unintentional her backhanded swipe at Locust Hill may have been, Webb's assessment was right on. Locust Hill, set up the way it is for this tournament, is too short at 6,221 yards by today's standards, and that was definitely proven during the second round Friday.
Yes, the course has built-in defenses with its thick rough bordering firm and narrow fairways, and greens that are fast and often difficult to read. Then there's the fickle Rochester weather. Thursday it was swirling winds.
I get all that. But how do you explain this? During the first round, when the wind was whipping and many of the players said it was really tough to judge distances and select lubs, there were 35 rounds under par of 72, nearly double the first-round average of 19 over the first 29 years at Locust Hill.