Fri, Jul 29, 2005 - Page 23 News List

Paula Creamer's dreams come true

AP , SOUTHPORT, ENGLAND

Paula Creamer of the US prepares to hit a putt on the thirteenth hole during the Pro-Am event before the start of the Women's British Open golf tournament at the Royal Birkdale course near Southport, England, on Wednesday.

PHOTO: AP

Paula Creamer's early season aim was simple. A Solheim Cup spot would be just fine.

With two tournament triumphs in her rookie season, including last week's prestigious Evian Masters in France, the 18-year-old American is among the favorites for the final major of the season, the Women's British Open at Royal Birkdale.

Now that Solheim Cup place is secured.

"To be on the Solheim team was my main goal before I hit a ball," she said on Wednesday. "If I achieved that goal, I knew I would have had to have won."

The first victory was in May's Sybase Classic. Then the Evian Masters triumph by eight strokes boosted her first year's earnings to almost US$1.15 million, third on the US LPGA Tour money list.

What she would like now is some time to spend it.

"I have no room for anything. I went shopping one day in France and bought a belt," she said. "So that's really it. When I go home, I'll splurge on something I don't need."

Creamer did not hesitate to name Annika Sorenstam, the 2003 champion, as one of her main rivals this week. The Swede is going for her third major of the year, having won the Kraft Nabisco and the McDonald's LPGA Championship, and her 10th in total.

"There are so many great players that I think it's going to be a very good leaderboard," Creamer said.

Virtually everyone in women's golf is playing, including US Women's Open champion Birdie Kim.

Former champions Se Ri Pak and Karrie Webb, along with Britons Laura Davies and defending champion Karen Stupples, as well a host of prominent Asians are all in the 150-woman field.

Creamer said playing junior and amateur golf "has helped me so much."

"Obviously professional golf is a whole new level but that taught me how to win under every circumstance," including protecting a seven-shot lead in the final round, as she did last week.

"I think it's one of the hardest things playing when you have a big lead going into Sunday. It's tough because you want to be aggressive but you don't want to lose with a seven-shot lead as well," she said.

She won by eight.

Creamer already has focused on things she needs to improve.

"I will hit longer in the fall. And creativity. My putting has got better, and I think being able to work the ball left and right," she said.

One thing that is definitely not on Creamer's mind is to follow the path set by Michelle Wie and play in men's events.

"Maybe later in my career, but there are so many things I want to achieve with the LPGA. I have no desire right now," she said.

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