Sherri Turner didn't make her pro debut until the age of 27.
Turner in the chase
Sherri Turner is probably closer to retirement than her next victory on the LPGA Tour, but that didn't keep the 49-year-old from having a little fun at yesterday's SBS Open at Turtle Bay.
Her opening-round 68 left her in a tie for third as she swims upstream in the youth movement that is taking over the LPGA Tour. But if her pending 50th birthday in October is bothering the three-time winner, including a victory in Hawaii in 1989, she didn't show it during her five-birdie, one-bogey round that left her two shots behind first-round leaders Grace Park and Becky Iverson in the rain-delayed event.
"I've been working really hard this offseason because this is probably going to be my last year," Turner said. "And no, I'm not making an announcement because you know how golfers are thinking this is my last year and always wanting to come back for more. I had no idea how I was going to play today. I mean I'm in shock as anybody."
Turner turned her fair share of heads yesterday, as a lot of the younger players and fans wondered just who this veteran was tootling about the Arnold Palmer course that wasn't even here when she won the Orix Hawaiian Ladies Open 17 years ago.
Like everyone else out here, she sees the future of the women's tour right before her eyes. It's hard to miss the media contingent that follows 17-year-old Morgan Pressel, 19-year-old Paula Creamer and 20-year-old Ai Miyazato wherever they roam. What does Turner think of these young kids knocking it around? She's all for it.
"There is more maturity as far as the playing goes for sure because Morgan in particular, she has a lot of experience," Turner said. "She has played in a lot of amateur events. I think Morgan took the correct route to get to where she is. Maturity level, I'm not so sure. Sometimes I look at Morgan and the silly things that she may say, and I have to remind myself she is only 17."
By contrast, Turner didn't begin her LPGA Tour career until she was 27, but knew long before her debut that professional golf was her thing.
"When I first started on the tour (in 1984), I knew I wanted to play a long time," Turner said. "I was 27 when I got out here. It took me five tries to get my card. I knew a lot of players out here and I knew I could compete with them. And I knew that was all I ever wanted to do. I'm not surprised I am (still) out here."
Turner won only three times on tour, but has collected $2.3 million along the way, including $45,000 for her win here in 1989. It was a long time ago, but Turner still remembers a lot of things about that victory.
"I remember that the wind was blowing, I mean it was unbelievable," Turner said. "And I have never, ever considered myself a good wind player. Never. And all at once I won the tournament. And it was like, wow! I have a lot of fond memories when I come here. Sure, it's a lot of years ago, but I still do remember it."
Miyazato turns it around: As popular as the American players are on the LPGA Tour, they'd be hard-pressed to match the kind of coverage Miyazato has received in recent weeks from the Japanese media. There were 45 press credentials from Japan alone.
Miyazato got off to a slow start with a bogey, but turned it around with birdies on her ninth and 10th holes. She was 2 under through 14 and will complete her round first thing this morning as long as the weather holds.
"I didn't get off to a good start, but I was focused and I was able to play my style of golf," Miyazato said through an interpreter. "I felt no pressure at all. There was good tension all around."
Early start: LPGA Tour officials announced the remaining 27 golfers on the course will continue their first round today at 7:30 a.m. It's likely they will be done within an hour, weather permitting.
The past few days, the early mornings have been plagued by wind and rain. The forecast is good for today, although rain may be on the way tomorrow. Once the first round is done, they will continue the second round with those going off late yesterday being the first ones to tee it up today. It's possible the second round won't be completed by this evening.