Normally Casie Cathrea gets up in the morning really early to head to the gym the USGA provides for the players to use this week, but with our practice round tee time this morning at 7:30 a.m., she decided just to TRX (home strength trainer) at the house and then head to the course.
We played nine holes with Japanese player Ai Miyazato and Swedish player Anna Nordqvist, and it was really fun to play with seasoned LPGA pros.
In high school I took one year of Japanese and unfortunately the only thing I remember how to say is, "Hi, my name is Eric, it's nice to meet you." So while everyone was introducing themselves, I walked up to Ai and said I'd like to check my Japanese and proceed to say, "Boku no namae wa Eric des, dozo yoroshiku" and she smiled and gave me a high five! She said "that was perfect Japanese, where did you learn that?" I told her, Crown Point High School. She didn't know what to say after that, haha.
No. 1 played into a 20 m.p.h. gust on Wednesday and Casie ripped a driver past both Miyazato and Nordqvist. Ai has the slowest backswing of anyone on tour, but hits the ball pretty solid and is actually a really nice person to play with.
I wasn't surprised at how good Casie hit the ball today, but I was surprised at how poor Anna hit the ball the day before a major championship begins. I understand that with golf everyone has "off" weeks, but it looked like she was struggling. After saying that she'll probably win the tournament.
Casie only missed one shot in the nine holes we played and that was the second shot into the par 4 ninth hole, however it still finished on the second tier just 40 feet right of the hole.
We finished our practice round around 10 a.m., went to the range to hit some balls, and then to the putting green to make sure we had the speed down. At the Open they have a house designated for "Player Hospitality" where all the players, caddies and family members can go in and get something to eat and drink.
Casie, her father Harry, her coach Chris, and I were sitting at one of the tables, and I had made a turkey, ham, salami, cheese, mustard and mayo sandwich. Yani Tseng walked in, grabbed something to eat and came over to sit down with us.
Just as she walked over to our table, I tried to take a bite of my sandwich and apparently I had put too much mustard and mayo on each side and the meat slid out of my sandwich onto my plate ... Yani decided to eat at another table ... just kidding, she sat with us, but gave me a 5-foot radius.
We were done at 1 p.m. and left the golf course to find the closest ice cream shop. Ice cream in the Hamptons is huge, due to it being a summertime town so there is practically one on every corner.
The last few days we've tried a number of different places and I think we've found a winner. The Peppermint today was unbelievable! We tee it up at 1:08 p.m. off the No. 10 tee today, and the forecast is looking like I'm going to get soaked. Casie's umbrella keeps herself dry, the bag cover keeps the clubs dry and I enjoy my free shower. A full round one recap will be coming tomorrow, and I hope you'll get to read about a lot of birdies!
Harry just received an email from Damon Hack at the Golf Channel asking for the correct pronunciation of Casie's name, so we might be on Morning Drive today. He stopped us on No. 2's tee and took some video and told me it's the best swing he's seen out here so far.