SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. - The U.S. Women's Open at Pine Needles is Ji-Yai Shin's second tournament on mainland America, and this week she was using an American caddie, Richard Kropf. Shin speaks little English and is here without family. Kropf admits there is a language barrier.
"Most of the time, she's trying to teach me some Korean, though," he said before Sunday's round.
As far as offering his assistance on the course? "We usually just talk numbers, yardages, things like that. Then she does the rest."
Word has spread at Pine Needles of Shin's family tragedy, losing her mother in an auto accident in 2002.
"There are a lot of people pulling for her, we know that," said Kropf.
American Paula Creamer entered the week with high expectations. She finished 5-over par for the tournament.
Creamer said the constant weather interruptions early in the week affected her psyche.
"Today was the first day I had a chance to play 18 holes start to finish," said Creamer. "Waking up every morning around 4:30 takes a toll on you.
"Waiting around and getting home late and eating late, it was difficult. It's unfortunate I got the bad end of the draw that's for sure."
American Jennie Lee was this week's low amateur, shooting 10-over to tie for 39th place. Lee was a member on USA's Curtis Cup team and the Women's Amateur Team Championship.
"It's definitely one of the proudest moments of my amateur career," said Lee.
There were 35 South Koreans in the field, many of them saying it was trailblazer Se Ri Pak's success on the LPGA Tour that led them to golf themselves.
But this week, it was Pak who was the low South Korean in the field, finishing 2-under, tied for 4th place.
"I have to show them the way," she said. "That makes me put a lot of pressure on myself. But now they are already good enough and they all work so hard. And I'm very proud of it."
July 1, 2007
Brandon Tucker is the Managing Editor for Golf Channel Courses & Travel. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and over 500 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours.
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