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LPGA's Nicole Castrale 'can't wait' to play Saucon
Editor's note: Today we continue our Monday series spotlighting a golfer who has qualified to play in the U.S. Women's Open, which is July 6-12 at Saucon Valley Country Club.
Residence: Palm Desert, Calif.
Career LPGA victories: One (2007 Ginn Tribute)
Best U.S. Women's Open finish: Tied for sixth last year
About Castrale: Defeated Lorena Ochoa in a playoff for her first professional win at the 2007 Ginn Tribute. Â
Through June 7, had three top-20 finishes this season, with her best a T15 in Thailand. Â
Made winning putt for U.S. team at 2007 Solheim Cup. Â
Three-time all-Pac-10 player at USC. Â
Wore a black dress in Sunday final rounds last year, beginning with the U.S. Women's Open. Â
Participating in Adopt-a-Player program at Saucon. ...Tied for fifth at LPGA Championship.
How is 2009 going? So far this season I have underachieved. Just trying to put it all together at the same time. My short game has definitely improved both chipping and putting, I'm driving the ball well, but I've been a little inconsistent with my iron play, which is usually a strength in my game. We have a lot of tournaments remaining this year and hoping to find a rhythm leading up to the U.S. Women's Open.
What do you know about Saucon Valley? I have only visited Saucon Valley last year for media day that introduced the ''Adopt-a-Player'' program. I have not played the course and tried to find a day to make it there while we are traveling on the East Coast for LPGA events. Unfortunately, it just isn't going to fit in my schedule to get a sneak peek at the course. I will be there Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday the week of the Open, and that will be plenty of time to learn the course. The talk I've heard is that it's a great course, kind of a ''hidden gem'' on the East Coast, very traditional and always in great shape. I can't wait to be there.
What does it take to win the Women's Open? It takes patience, driving it straight, good iron play and especially putting well. You really have to put all these areas of the game together at the same time. I'm working hard to put myself in that position.
Who are the favorites? I am working hard to put the pieces together so that I may be included as a favorite. That being said, obviously Lorena Ochoa has to be the favorite, being the No. 1 player in the world. Suzann Pettersen has been playing great of late and has a very complete game to win the U.S. Open. You also cannot count out former U.S. Women's Open champions such as Karrie Webb and Cristie Kerr, both of whom have won this year on tour. There are so many awesome players that will be competing for the U.S. Women's Open trophy. I just hope to have a chance on the back nine on Sunday. -- Mark Wogenrich