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Grimes battles tough venue at U.S. Open

Alexandria's Lisa Grimes had to battle the elements and a tough course as she competed in the U.S. Women's Open at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wisconsin recently. (Echo Press file photo)

Alexandria's Lisa Grimes wasn't really ready for the call she got from the United States Golf Association (USGA) asking her to be a part of the field at the 67th LPGA U.S. Open.

Grimes had finished second at the U.S. Open qualifying tournament in Wayzata earlier this summer. That made her a first alternate if a spot opened up in the weeks leading up to the Open tournament.

That's exactly what happened for Grimes as she received the call on June 29, less than a week before the best female players in the world teed off on July 5.

"I really didn't expect it and wasn't too prepared for it," Grimes said. "My daughter was in town, and we had plans. I had to switch some things around, but you can't turn it down. This was my eighth Open and probably my last and I was intrigued by this course."

The course at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wisconsin provided a challenging venue for Grimes and the rest of the field. Just two tackled it under par as Na Yeon Choi won her first LPGA major after shooting 7-under. Stifling temperatures in the mid-to-upper 90s also challenged the golfers throughout the week.

For Grimes, it was a constant battle throughout the first day. She doubled two of her first three holes before making the turn at 8-over par. The back didn't start any better as she doubled the par-5 10th on her way to a day-one 83.

Grimes said she never could get her short game going on a course that doesn't allow much room for error. She shot 1-over on the front on day two after birdying holes two and five. Grimes finished by shooting 5-over on the back as she missed the cut after posting a two-day score of 161.

"I didn't feel like I hit it that bad," she said. "My short game, which I rely on a lot, wasn't as sharp as it could have been. It's a course where there's not a lot of room for error. If you're off by a few yards, it can be disastrous. On some of the greens where the pins are tucked to the right, I missed to the right. Then it became really hard to get up and down from there."

Grimes wouldn't blame any of her struggles on the nerves of playing on the big stage of a major championship. She's gotten fairly used to that over the course of her career.

"This was just an intimidating course," she said. "You have the fairways and there's trouble on the left and trouble on the right and no bailouts. It's not like it was just four or five holes. It was every hole. That's tough. The other girls are used to seeing that. I'm not."

The U.S. Open was the second major that Grimes has played in this season. She missed the cut at the LPGA Championship in June after shooting 79-84 at the Locust Hill Country Club in Pittsford, New York.

Grimes spends much of her time teaching the game to others now as the Alexandria Golf Club's Director of Instruction. She plays in many of the qualifying tournaments just to have something to play in.

"It's always good to play well and qualify and win things," Grime said. "It's nice to win those events, but I won't aspire to qualify for the Open again. I may play in the LPGA Championship again if I'm able to win my [Midwest] Section."

Grimes has played in a total of 12 majors over her career with the eight U.S. Opens and now four LPGA championships. Her best finish came in 1994 when she took 12th at the U.S. Open.

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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