Saturday, April 26, 2008

Stanford International Friday: Kim and Sorenstam Break from the Lead Pack

It was another day of thrills and spills at the Stanford International Pro-Am. Thanks to fantastic 67s, Young Kim (-7) and Annika Sorenstam (-6) have opened up a big lead on their closest pursuers, Angela Stanford and Paula Creamer (-2).

Here were the scores of the day on the par-71 Soffer Course and the par-70 Miller Course:

67 Kim, Sorenstam (-4)
67 Jee Young Lee (-3)
68 Seon Hwa Lee (-3)
68 Guilia Sergas (-2)
69 Grace Park, Sun Young Yoo, Karrie Webb, Eun-Hee Ji, Karin Sjodin (-1)
70 Angela Stanford (-1)
70 Dorothy Delasin, Mikaela Parmlid, Erica Blasberg (E)

While the rounds of Kim, Sorenstam, and Seon Hwa Lee are looking quite impressive (particularly Kim's avoiding the pattern set by those who started off hot and finished not on the Soffer Course Thursday--under what look to be tougher conditions), the Miller Course continued to give up more low scores. If you compare the same player's results on each course, you'll see an overall pattern of lower scores on the Miller Course, which makes the disastrous rounds there of Shi Hyun Ahn (80 to miss the cut), Carolina Llano (80 to miss the cut), Laura Davies (78 to miss the cut), Beth Bader (78 to miss the cut), and Linda Wessberg (76 to fall to the middle of the pack) even more mystifying and disappointing--and the late collapses there of Kyeong Bae (who dropped from -3 in the tournament to E in her final 6 holes) and Maria Hjorth (whose 39 on the back dropped her from -2 to +2 in the tournament) even more costly.

The fact is, though, most of the people who played the Soffer Course well Thursday squandered opportunities on the Miller Course Friday. Creamer had to make a furious comeback on the final 6 holes and even that didn't make up for her horrific first 3. Meena Lee and Momoko Ueda needed birdies on the easy 18th to get back under par for the tournament (T5 at -1). Cristie Kerr and Christina Kim couldn't even manage that, as they were caught by Dorothy Delasin's eagle and Juli Inkster's and Grace Park's birdies (T7 at E). And nobody else playing that course with a shot at the top 10 heading into their round got there.

But if the leaders struggled on the Miller Course, they were beaten down by the Soffer Course. 74s by Birdie Kim and Ai Miyazato dropped them down to T32 at +3 for the tournament, but that's nothing compared to the misfortunes of Candie Kung (78, T48 at +5), Ya Ni Tseng (77, T37 at +4), Suzann Pettersen and Julieta Granada (76, T48 at +5). Let's not even get into the rounds of Morgan Pressel (74), Kelli Kuehne (75), and Jeong Jang (76), who missed the cut by 1 shot, much less Jennifer Rosales (79), Reilley Rankin (79), Janice Moodie (81), Meaghan Francella (82), and Na On Min (83).

So if the Soffer Course is showing its teeth, who has the best chance to chase down the leaders, now that the entire field is playing it on the weekend? Let's put it this way: there are 29 players as close to Creamer and Stanford at -2 as they are to Sorenstam at -6. So the odds are much greater that they'll get caught and passed than that they'll do the same to her. I'm not calling this one as a 2-player race just yet, but if they string together their third-straight rounds in the 60s, I will. In the interviews, Kim claims the Soffer Course is easier, while Sorenstam demurs, and while both are complimentary to their partners in the pro-am, neither seem to be paying much attention to their standing in it (Kim didn't even know it continues into Saturday's round!).

For some reason, they're going off almost entirely in threesomes on moving day--I assume the tournament organizers have set it up so there are no more than 4 players in a group, including amateur partners (and that the blank early times include pros who missed the individual cut but whose teams made it into the final day of the pro-am). Early on, some interesting head-to-head match-ups stand out:

Start Time: 8:30 AM
Suzann Pettersen
Candie Kung
Jin Joo Hong

Start Time: 8:40 AM
Karen Stupples
Stacy Prammanasudh
Julieta Granada

Start Time: 9:00 AM
Louise Friberg
Jane Park
Laura Diaz

and there are some excellent midway ones, as well:

Start Time: 10:15 AM
Angela Park
Maria Hjorth
Rachel Hetherington

Start Time: 10:25 AM
Ji Young Oh
Hee-Won Han
Teresa Lu

but the best are, as usual, saved for last:

Start Time: 10:55 AM
Karrie Webb
Sun Young Yoo
Inbee Park

Start Time: 11:05 AM
Cristie Kerr
Giulia Sergas
Seon Hwa Lee

Start Time: 11:15 AM
Lindsey Wright
Kyeong Bae

Start Time: 11:30 AM
Juli Inkster
Christina Kim
Mi Hyun Kim

Start Time: 11:40 AM
Momoko Ueda
Grace Park
Dorothy Delasin

Start Time: 11:50 AM
Angela Stanford
Paula Creamer
Meena Lee

Start Time: 12:00 PM
Young Kim
Annika Sorenstam

Hopefully the thrill-spill ratio will go back in the players' favor on moving day!

1 comment:

The Florida Masochist said...

my walking today is likely to be 6 holes with Dorothy, Grace and Momoko, then I'll follow Annika and Young from 7-9. After 9 I'm going back to the press center. I have a couple of story ideas for the weekend. One may involve me asking Hee Won and Grace a couple of questions. The other Hee Won and Pat Hurst. With Pat teeing off two hours before the leaders I would need to be back to the press center in time for her.