Cap, Becka find consolation
By TOM WILLIAMS
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
VIENNA -- Two Valley golfers found positives after enduring some tough breaks in the opening round of the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic.
Boardman native Kelly Cap rebounded on her final five holes to finish at 5-over par 77.
A recent broken ankle left Lisa Becka of Columbiana with a limp and in pain. Despite a throbbing ache and nine straight bogeys, Becka still managed to smile after shooting 11-over 83.
A non-exempt LPGA player, Cap said it was easy to pinpoint the problem in her 11th tournament of the season.
"I didn't hit it too well for probably the first 14 holes," the 28-year-old said. "Finally, I figured out what I was doing wrong.
"[Today], I have a really good chance. I know I can make a lot of birdies out here by just getting the putts to fall and hitting the fairways and greens."
Of her rough opening holes, Cap said, "I started off with a double [bogey], but then I really hung in there.
"I was plus-2 making the turn," Cap said. "I was hitting some good shots, but I wasn't making the birdies.
"[On] the last five holes, I was 1-under with four other birdie opportunities because I was sticking it in there. But that's golf.
"The best thing is, I stayed patient, especially coming down the stretch because I could have lost my patience with the birdie opportunities that I missed."
Hole that hurt: The hole that hurt Cap the most was her 11th of the day, the par-5 No. 2 where her tee shot landed in the rough.
"I thought it was going to come out with just a little bit of a pull because that's what usually happens," Cap said. "The club face closes in that rough and you're going to hit it a little left, but the ball shot off to the right.
"It cleared the hazard but kicked back in [the rough] so there was another double right there.
"But I hung in there and birdied No. 8. I had a great up-and-down on No. 9 -- I was little juiced, hit a little too much club."
Becka said she also found patience -- the hard way.
"It was my first time inside the ropes for a while," said Becka, who entered with a tournament exemption. "I'm a little disappointed, I was a little nervous and I couldn't get anything to come out."
Becka saw improvement on her back nine "after I received an attitude adjustment from my caddie on the walk from nine to 10."
Becka was referring to Lorna Miedema, a former LPGA Tour member.
"I probably have more brains on the golfbag than [anyone]," Becka said, referring to how Miedema will graduate from law school in January.
Becka said her game "wasn't real solid today, but I didn't expect it to be. But I held in there.
"On the backside, I really thought I gave myself some opportunities. Normally, I make a boatload of putts, but absolutely nothing went in."
Becka had 12 bogeys and one birdie.
Playing so close to home produced different reactions.
"It's a lot tougher than I expected," Cap said. "[Friday], I felt good to finally to play in front of the hometown. I've been waiting to do it since I was 16 and I was a standard bearer here. It was exciting."
Becka said she was "pretty jazzed" because of how many friends were following her around the course. "Maybe [today] I'll give them something to clap about."
Becka said she found inspiration from the 182 young golfers she instructed on Thursday.
"I'm going to have to do a little bit of explaining [about her round], so I thought I'd keep plugging away and try not to make too many mistakes."
Ankle: As for her ankle, Becka said her biggest problem is maneuvering on downhill slopes.
"I've never really felt much about being injured," the Columbiana High graduate said. "It's really sore. I'm going to go stick it in a bucket of ice."
Becka, who wears a women's size 91/2 shoe, said she wore a men's size 10 Friday. "My left foot is swimming in it, but my right shoe has filled it."
Natalie Aber, an amateur from Akron, shot a 75.