Paula Creamer had the support of family, friends and fans at the LPGA Championship Friday, but what she really needed was a bag of ice.
Creamer underwent surgery in April to repair her injured thumb. She returned to the tour last weekend with a seventh-place finish at the ShopRite Classic. Although Creamer is able to compete again, she has her thumb taped when she plays and still feels some pain.
"Every day is a new day with my thumb. It hurts more this week because of the divots. I'm not used to that," Creamer said.
Creamer also received some unwelcome news while out on the course. Tee times are being moved up today due to the poor weather forecast.
"It's hard because of the quick turnaround. I'm going to ice it as much as possible and see how it feels tomorrow," Creamer said.
She had plenty of support to guide her through the second round. Creamer has family ties in Ithaca and many came out to see her play, including her 92-year-old grandfather.
"He sits on the balcony of the 18th hole and it's emotional. I want to win in front of my family," Creamer said.
In addition to her grandfather, an aunt, uncle and cousin were cheering her on as well. Creamer also drew a large fan base. They wore "pink for Paula" because her nickname is the pink panther.
"This is one of my favorite tournaments. My fans here are incredible," Creamer said.
With family support and ice, Creamer managed to salvage a day that started out on the wrong side of par.
Creamer started the day at 1 under par, but it wouldn't stay that way long. Creamer, who began on the back nine, was forced to make a long putt on No. 10 to save par.
She then had back-to-back bogeys on 12 and 13. Hole 13 is playing as the most difficult on the course, with no eagles and only eight birdies on the day.
Creamer got into a sticky situation when she hit her ball into the rough on a downslope left of the green. She was able to get out of the rough, but missed a medium length par putt and was forced to settle for bogey. She then bogeyed 16 to fall to 2 over.
"The course suits my game once I get going, but I had nothing in the beginning," Creamer said.
Creamer was able to turn her day around on hole 17. She made a long putt for eagle to get back to even par.
"My day didn't start well, but it came back nicely. There was definitely a momentum swing," Creamer said.
Creamer then moved back under par quickly. On No. 2 she hit her ball out of the rough to within 5 feet for an easy birdie.
That put her back to 1 under, where she stayed. Creamer is tied for 14th, nine strokes back of leader Cristie Kerr.