By birdieing her last three holes in today's round at the Wegmans, my old friend Moira Dunn not only guaranteed she'll make another cut, but at even par for the tournament ended up in a tie for 19th heading into the weekend, as well. Ai Miyazato kept pace with her precisely--and Angela Park (+3, T54), Seon Hwa Lee and Meena Lee, (-2, T10), and Lorena Ochoa (-4, T4), among others, also shot 71s--but that's more than can be said for Cristie Kerr, whose 75 dropped her to -3 and T6, thanks to a 41 on the supposedly easier back side. With Pat Hurst's 69 bringing her to -1 (T14), Angela Stanford's 69 leapfrogging her to -5 (3rd), and leaders Mi Hyun Kim (68) and In-Kyung Kim (67) ending the day at -7, Kerr's task this weekend (a top 2 to qualify for the end-of-the-season ADT Championship) is a lot more imposing than it looked yesterday. Even though Suzann Pettersen (75, -1), Brittany Lincicome (75, E), Jimin Kang (75, +1, T32), Catriona Matthew (75, +2, T43), Young Kim (76, +2), and Paula Creamer (76, +2) played as badly as or worse than she did, her momentum and confidence have to be just a little bit shot.
In fact, all the leaders must be wondering if they can avoid a high round this weekend. With Mi Hyun 1 over for her final 7 holes, In-Kyung bogeying and Angela double bogeying the tough 18th, and even Lorena struggling to score on the back, it's clear the course can take away as easily as it giveth. I expected Canadian Alena Sharp to struggle the rest of the tournament (and unfortunately she obliged today with a 74), but Friday's results put a big question mark over everyone at E or better. And if we see as many big backward moves tomorrow as we did today, a great moving day even from Hall of Famers Se Ri Pak (+3, T53) or Karrie Webb (+1, T32) would put another victory for them in the realm of possibility.
When I wrote the first version of this post's first sentence back around 1 am-ish, Moira was back in 33rd, Ai-chan wasn't even out on the course, the leaders had just begun their rounds, and it looked like the cut would be as low as +2. But it turned out to be +4, high enough to save Super Sophs Jee Young Lee and Hye Jung Choi from an early exit from Rochester--although not high enough to save, in reverse order of performance, Grace Park, Julieta Granada, Meg Mallon, Juli Inkster, Laura Diaz, Lisa Fernandes, Brittany Lang, Na On Min, Kyeong Bae, Teresa Lu, Nicole Castrale, Birdie Kim, or Dorothy Delasin. I have to admit I'm shocked at how high the afternoon scores were. With better weather expected for the weekend, maybe the scores will go lower. Or maybe the plagues of bogeys at Locust Hill will continue. If the winds stay up, swirly, and gusty as they were this afternoon (according to the webcasts), I vote for the latter.
[Update: With Sarah Lee and Natalie Gulbis out due to bad backs, it appears many of the LPGA's top "young veterans" may not be at their best in the second half of the season. This may open the door for the rookies and Super Sophs--we'll have to see. Was also interesting to see that Pettersen, who was assessed a two-stroke penalty for slow play, claims not to have been aware she was on the clock. Weird. It's nice to see the quality of the webcasts was up today. But it would be cool if they mentioned central NYer Moira Dunn once or twice--guess she'll have to play her way into their attention tomorrow. Lots of interesting pairings then, by the way: Young Kim/Angela Park at 8:20 am, Meena Lee/Morgan Pressel at 11:08, Cristie Kerr/Seon Hwa Lee at 11:16, and of course the leading Kims at 11:48.]