Just when you thought the field was going to leave world #1 Lorena Ochoa behind after her 74 on Friday, she reels off the best round of the Corona Championship, a 64, to jump into a tie for first at -13 with the steady Silvia Cavalleri (69-68-69) and the hot Julieta Granada (71-68-67). If it were not for her three double bogeys (including one on 17 today) rookie Na On Min (68-72-67) would be the story of the tournament; as it is, she has to settle for a share of 4th at -12, wth Pat Hurst (70-69-68). But don't count anyone out among the 11 players at -9 or -8. Almost every single one of them has gone low this week, and as Ochoa's round Friday and Angela Park and Yu Ping Lin's today (a pair of even-par 73s) show, it's very easy to get passed if you don't keep making birdies and it's hard to go low twice in a row (and even harder to do it three times in a row). When 16 people can win, it doesn't make any sense to make a call, but look for at least half of the people four or five shots back to make an early run on the leaders. It's definitely going to come down to who gets hot on the first 10 holes and holds on during the last 8 (the 11th hole is probably the toughest on the course, and even though there are birdies to be had at the end, there are just as many bogeys). Too bad it won't be televised in the U.S.--it should be a wild finish. Here are the pairings!
Of course there are races within races in every tournament. Chasing Min and Park in the rookie race are Ji-Young Oh (-7, T17), Song-Hee Kim (-5, T21), and Jane Park and Jin Joo Hong (-3, T28). (Both Martinez and Sargent shot themselves out of this race with one bad round, unfortunately.) Among the Super Sophs chasing Granada are Hye Jung Choi, Teresa Lu, and Stacy Prammanasudh (-9, T6), Kyeong Bae (-8, T13), Linda Wessberg (-7, T17), and Meaghan Francella (-5, T21). (Blomqvist, Futcher, and Nirapathpongporn have slowed down so much that Miyazato has already passed them.) Looks like slightly-more-experienced youth is winning out over slightly-less-experienced-youth thus far. With few in the top 30 on the money list playing, making the cut, or playing well this week, those who are stand to move up. The money race should be in the back of people's minds or completely out of them, but it's hard to ignore it when there's that much at stake.
My friend Moira continued her steady play today and stands at -6 (T19), but she's got to be frustrated by that second-straight pair of late back-to-back bogeys that dropped her out of contention on Saturday. It's great that she's putting herself in position to contend, but she's playing well enough to be scoring much better. Here's hoping she gets more comfortable with going low as the season goes on. Tomorrow would be a good day to start, eh?
And my fave Ai-chan finally got the engine started; her 69 today pulled her to -2 for the tournament (T33). Actually, except for her disastrous opening 9 on the back on Thursday (41), she's been at or under par every 9 since then and today she finally started making birdies in bunches (she had 6, with two bogeys on the back to keep her from having a great round). So look for her to pass a lot of people who are less accustomed than she is to playing well on Sundays.
Gotta run--Pretty Cure 5's theme song is almost over!