When Jennifer Rosales won the Chick-fil-A Championship last month in Atlanta for her first LPGA Tour victory, the 25-year-old golfer from Manila got a call from the president of the Philippines asking her to come home for a victory celebration. She politely declined.
"It's crazy right now," Rosales said Thursday, minutes after completing a first-round 66 to lead the LPGA Championship by a shot. "They were upset because I didn't go home, they were going to have this big parade for me or something. I've got to stay here and do what I want to do. It's too tiring for me to come back and forth. When I get back there, I hope they'll make another one for me. I have to win again, actually."
Not really. Rosales' victory, her first in four years on the tour, was televised live back home in the middle of the night. She said many girls are starting to wear the headbands she prefers over the traditional golf cap or visor.
"Actually, it started out as a bandana three or four years ago," she said. "Then I cut it down a little bit. It got too hot. I just don't like wearing hats for some reason. My head sweats a lot."
Rosales, the daughter of a retired general, grew up playing a lot of golf on American military bases. She has a brother, Gerald, who plays on the Asian tour. She played college golf at Southern California and won the NCAA championship as a freshman.
As for her celebrity status in the Philippines, she shrugged and said, "their eyes are on me right now, everybody. Sometimes it's just too much to handle, but it's what we do and what can I say? . . . If I want to be good at what I do, it's part of it. It goes along with it."
Webb in the Swing of Things
Australian Karrie Webb, who won for the first time this season last week in Chicago, said she was a bit surprised by the victory because she has been working on swing changes to hit more of a fade than her natural draw since the end of last year.
"I think it's going to be 12 to 18 months before I really feel comfortable with what I'm doing," said Webb, who slipped to 11th on the money list in 2003. "When I first started doing it at the end of last year, I really thought I had gotten it quite quickly. But really, since then, I went into the year probably way too overconfident with how things were going to go."
Webb was in decent shape at 2 under through her first 15 holes Thursday, but made a double bogey at the 465-yard 16th and a bogey at the 156-yard 17th to finish at 1-over 72.
Whaley Hits Hole-In-One
Suzy Whaley, the Connecticut teaching pro who qualified last year to play in the Greater Hartford Open on the PGA Tour, had a hole-in-one today at 17, using a 6-iron. She finished with a 74. . . . Kris Tschetter, who lives in McLean, posted a 73. . . . Bethesda native Kim Williams had a 71.