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Paula Creamer leads American contingent

7/8/2012
Paula Creamer tied for seventh, 10 shots behind winner Na Yeon Choi. AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps

KOHLER, Wis. -- Going into the weekend, several American golfers seemed poised to contend for the U.S. Women’s Open title. But their hopes of winning pretty much went down the tubes with Saturday’s third round.

Eventual champion Na Yeon Choi took control of the tournament then. And while no one was waving the white flag going into Sunday, it was pretty evident the Americans were playing for a strong finish, not for the trophy.

Top American honors went to Paula Creamer, who is also the last U.S. player to win this title. The 2010 Women’s Open champion, Creamer shot weekend rounds of 71-74 and tied for seventh place, 10 shots behind Choi.

Creamer wasn’t thrilled with that, and in the bigger picture isn’t happy with her putting overall.

“I feel I’m so much better than what my scores show, but that's golf,” said Creamer, who was a bit below middle-of-the-pack for the tournament with the flat stick, averaging 30.50 putts per round here at Blackwolf Run. “I don't get quite out of my game what I wish I could, but it's a learning process. Right now, we’re going over some hurdles. And it's only making me stronger.”

Two other Americans were among five players tied for ninth place: 2007 Women’s Open champion Cristie Kerr and Nicole Castrale. Three others -- 17-year-old Lexi Thompson, Cindy LaCrosse and Danielle Kang -- were in a group tied for 14th place.

“I needed my ‘A’ game coming into the weekend,” Kerr said, “and I had my ‘B’ game.”

Then there was Brittany Lincicome, who had a good tournament save for the one day she brought her “F” game. Her second-round 80 was a glaring anomaly from the scores of 69-74-71 she shot the other rounds. An even-par score Friday would have put Lincicome in the top three for the championship; instead she finished tied for 18th.

Michelle Wie, who had everyone jazzed up with her round of 66 Friday, went south on the weekend. She shot 78-80 and finished tied for 35th. Considering that she has missed six cuts this year, though, Wie had reason to feel some positive vibes from the Women’s Open despite the weekend slide.

“There are some things I need to work on,” Wie said, “but at the same time, this week was a definite confidence booster for me.”

It was exactly the opposite for Stacy Lewis, who entered the Women’s Open as the top-ranked American at No. 2 overall but never got things together here. She shot rounds of 77-69-80-75 and finished tied for 46th.