On 'roller-coaster' day, Paula Creamer has ace in third round since LPGA return

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Two weeks into her LPGA return, Paula Creamer had quite a turbulent start at the Kroger Queen City Championship.

But amid all the ups and downs, two "nice little" releases stand out above the rest.

The 36-year-old, who started Round 1 on the back nine, holed out for eagle on the par-4 fifth. Then after two consecutive pars, Creamer stepped up to the par-3 eighth and hit a "perfect" 7-iron, 155 yards, which rolled into the cup for an ace.

"Unfortunately," Creamer said after her round, "my scorecard is a roller coaster. But that's golf."

Creamer finished the day with an even-par 72, but started it with two birdies. What followed was two bogeys and a double on her first nine and then a 2-under back-nine despite three more squares on her scorecard.

Full-field scores from the Kroger Queen City Championship

"Hole-in-one is awesome, hole-out and everything," she said. "Just way too many three-putts today. I'll be doing some putting afterwards."

Eight years removed from her 10th and most recent LPGA victory, the 2010 U.S. Women's Open winner returned to the tour at last week's Dana Open — after giving birth in January — for the first time in over a year, but missed the cut.

In 2021, she made only one cut in seven starts. But after becoming a mom, Creamer has embraced the grind back, working with Grant Waite since last September while "pregnant and all."

"We took advantage of (downtime while being on maternity leave) and we have changed all aspects of my game," Creamer said. "I trust him and I trust what he has kind of envisioned with my golf swing and what we can do, and now it's just up to me to take it to the course."

Maybe not with her putter on Thursday, but at least with her irons, Creamer was able to see some of the progress they've made the past year.

However, embarking on a new chapter in her golf career — and life — Creamer has a different perspective now.

"I'm not only (playing) for myself, but I'm doing it for (my daughter)," she said. "To be able to tell her, actually, you were here (for the ace) when I did that. You were at the hotel, but you were physically here. It's special.

"I keep thinking that when I'm out here, I just want to show her that you can overcome adversity, you can overcome everything. Put your mind to it, and you're strong enough to be able to achieve what you want."