Friday, November 16, 2007

ADT Championship 2007: Another One Bites the Dust

Well, one thing is clear about the format of the ADT Championship: it puts a different kind of pressure on the 32 qualifiers than any other tournament in the season. My evidence? The amazing number of huge numbers from some of the best women's golfers in the world. Admittedly, the course itself has a good number of holes that invite disaster, but how else than pressure do you account for the range of ways the following players found to avoid declining the invitation?

  • Reilley Rankin being -3 through 11 holes on Thursday, taking a 10 on the par-5 12th, and never recovering;
  • Solheim Cup stalwart Stacy Prammanasudh making 5 doubles over two days on the back 9;
  • fellow Solheim Cupper Laura Diaz battling her way back to E for the first 20 holes of the tournament, and even after bogeys on the 5th and 7th holes Friday remaining in the thick of things, but suffering a double and 2 triples on the way to a 44 on the back;
  • Jee Young Lee also falling prey to two triples, on the 9th on Thursday (capping off a +6 run over the final 3 holes on the front) and the 10th the next day (just when she had fought her way back into sight of the projected cut line);
  • Maria Hjorth, one of the hottest golfers in the world over the last several months, going +7 over her final 6 holes on Thursday and then on Friday breaking a 3-hole birdie run on 15, 16, and 17, which had gotten her in sight of a playoff for the 16th spot, with a bogey on the 18th hole;
  • the injured Se Ri Pak fighting back into sight of the projected cut line at +3 with three holes to play and finishing with two doubles (to match her back-to-back doubles that closed out Thursday's round);
  • Laura Davies also getting within range of a playoff for the 16th spot in Saturday's field, but finishing +3 over those same final 3 holes;
  • Jeong Jang getting to -2 through 12 Thursday, then going +5 over her final 6 holes (thanks to a pair of doubles), then fighting her way back to E for the tournament through 10 Friday, but going +4 over her next 3 holes to finish a shot out of the playoff for the 16th spot.

Several of those who will be playing Saturday dodged bullets along the way, including:

  • Lorena Ochoa put two balls in the water on the 17th Thursday, which turned a possible 66 into a 70, but still cruised her way to a T4 finish at -4;
  • Paula Creamer gave back every stroke under par of her opening 68 over the first 8 holes Friday, but fought back with 3 consecutive birdies and finished T6 at -3;
  • Karrie Webb was +6 over her final 6 holes Thursday (thanks to a triple and a double), found herself at +6 through her first 22 holes, then made 4 birdies over her last 14 holes, including one on the 18th, to finish in 14th place at +2, one shot out a playoff for the 16th spot.

And then there was the playoff trio at +3, playing for the last two spots:

  • Annika Sorenstam hit three balls in the water Thursday, fought her way back to -1 on the tournament through the first 6 holes Friday, took a quad on the par-3 7th, then could only manage matching pairs of birdies and bogeys the rest of a way;
  • Ai Miyazato, who battled her way back to +1 for the tournament following her second consecutive 34, but doubled the 10th;
  • Natalie Gulbis, who was cruising around E for most of both days until doubling the 16th and bogeying the 17th.

I never would have thought Sorenstam would be the odd woman out, but that's golf for you. With the scores cleared for Saturday's round, literally anything can happen. I'd love to see the 3 remaining Super Sophs play well tomorrow.

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