WHO: Paula Creamer
WHAT: 35-yard pitch to set up the winning 17-foot birdie putt
WHERE: Par-5 18th at Wykagyl
WHEN: Final round of the Sybase Classic
May 29, 2005
WHY: Creamer has a wise head on young shoulders. With the title on the line, the 18-year-old made two smart choices that led to victory: conservatively pitching to a spot below the hole, ensuring an uphill putt; and stroking the putt so it would barely reach the hole, taking a testy downhill comebacker out of the equation.
Most amateurs make the critical mistake of trying to hit a great shot without thinking of all the consequences. Pros, however, approach every shot with one thing in mind: the next shot. It is especially vital to plan ahead around the greens. Get greedy and try to stiff a pitch, and you're likely to end up on the wrong side of the hole with a very hard putt. A conservative play such as Creamer's at 18 (left) might leave you with a longer putt, but a 15-footer uphill is often a lot easier than a three-footer downhill.
Spearman teaches at Manhattan Woods Golf Club in West Nyack, N.Y., and is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher.
Think Ahead Before You Hit
... AND ANOTHER THING
"Carton House, the Colin Montgomerie--designed layout that hosted the Irish Open, is a cross between Muirfield and Troon, and the best new course I've seen in years."