Sunday, June 1, 2008

Ginn Tribute Sunday: Can Anyone Chase Down Gustafson?

The final round of the Ginn Tribute has started early in hopes of avoiding projected afternoon thunderstorms and Hound Dog is already camped out at the 14th green. To speed play, the players are going off in threesomes on both sides, as well. That means Hound Dog will get to enjoy seeing Stacy Prammanasudh, In-Kyung Kim, and Hee Young Park play together, as well as Brittay Lang and H.J. Choi, Mi Hyun Kim and Morgan Pressel, Angela Park and Candie Kung, Paula Creamer, Juli Inkster, and Sandra Gal, Jee Young Lee, Karin Sjodin, and Natalie Gulbis, Inbee Park and Ya Ni Tseng, and of course the final three groups:

Start Time: 9:05 AM
Teresa Lu
Se Ri Pak
Sun Young Yoo

Start Time: 9:16 AM
Jane Park
Song-Hee Kim
Seon Hwa Lee

Start Time: 9:27 AM
Sophie Gustafson
Na Yeon Choi
Karrie Webb

This is making me want to take the family to the Wegman's in Rochester....

So far, Futures Tour graduate and Junior Mint Allison Fouch is continuing her comeback from her 2nd-round 77 with 4 birdies in her first 6 holes; at -7, she'll need to keep it going if she wants to bag another top 10. Mhairi McKay is also off to a good start with her 4 straight birdies early on the back side. And Sophie Gustafson birdied the 1st hole for the 3rd time this week to extend her lead to 7. More later!

[Update 1 (10:06 am): How cool would it be if Se Ri Pak got into contention the first week playing her new clubs? She's now got a 53-hole bogey-free streak going and has made 2 birdies in her 1st 4 holes to get to -10!]

[Update 2 (10:18 am): Amy Yang has 1 hole left to play and a 4-shot lead on last year's LET rookie of the year Louise Stahle in the Ladies German Open. Michelle Wie birdied her last 2 holes to get to -14, good enough for T5 and 3 shots better than Anna Rawson, 4 shots better than Veronica Zorzi, and 5 shots better than Nina Reis.]

[Update 3 (10:28 am): Wonder how many people will get to double digits under par? And whether Gustafson will go lower than the -20 she's at already? Karrie Webb has also birdied 2 of the first 3 holes to keep pace with her, but the only one among the leaders making up ground on her so far is Minea Blomqvist, who shot her 3rd straight 33 on the front. Here's hoping she does better than her Saturday 40 on the back!]

[Update 4 (10:34 am): Song-Hee Kim and Jane Park are in a classic Super Soph dogfight--Kim has birdied 4 of her 1st 5 holes and like Park bogeyed the 2nd: Park has responded with 3 birdies of her own. They're both at -13, 1 shot behind Webb and 2 ahead of top Junior Mint Seon Hwa Lee, who's "only" birdied 2 of her 1st 5 holes. What a great next-to-last group!]

[Update 5 (10:38 am): It's official! Amy Yang got her 1st professional win and 2nd LET win (she won in Australia as an amateur Here's hoping she gets lot more sponsor's exemptions to play on the LPGA this season. If so, it'll give the LET money leader a tough dilemma, but a good one to have....]

[Update 6 (12:38 pm): Wow, I step out for a couple of hours to do some yard work and follow onechan around on her new bike with imoto in tow on the stroller while the Full Metal Archivist sleeps off her jet lag, and this thing turns into a tournament! Gustafson bogeyed the 4th and went bogey-bogey-double bogey as she made the turn, while Seon Hwa Lee kept making birdies and Na Yeon Choi made 3 of her own. So after 12 Gustafson has fallen to -15 and Lee and Choi are -14. Meanwhile, Jane Park and Song-Hee Kim remain at -13, now tied with Webb, and Se Ri Pak is only 4 off the lead with 4 holes left in her round.]

[Update 7 (12:57 pm): This must be my week! Ai Miyazato birdied 2 of her last 3 holes for a 69 to get to -6 for the tournament (T20 for now)--that's only her 3rd sub-70 round on the LPGA since last October's Samsung World Championship and it's her 1st tournament since last year's Corning Classic that she shot par or better in every round. It's not quite the 4 sub-70 rounds she shot then, but it's quite a big step on her comeback trail! Way to go, Ai-chan!]

[Update 8 (1:08 pm): Hound Dog has multiple reports up on action at the 14th--the last one on Inbee Park's double that dropped her back to -9. Check them out! Whoops, he just updated that last one to report that Song-Hee Kim birdied 14 to pull even with Seon Hwa Lee--and that he's following them!]

[Update 9 (1:17 pm): Hound Dog just missed Gustafson's 2nd double on the back! He's walking with a 3-some I thought would end up having a nice little match among each other maybe for 2nd, but it turns out Seon Hwa Lee is going for her 3rd LPGA win and Jane Park and Song-Hee Kim for their 1st!]

[Update 10 (1:21 pm): Well, this has to rank as a very disappointing tournament for Annika Sorenstam, Paula Creamer, Jeong Jang, and Mi Hyun Kim--all ended up T32 at -4. Or maybe the disappointment is mine, as their play is making my 2nd straight Pakpickers win look pretty doubtful, despite my lead after the second round. I'm counting on Teresa Lu and Ya Ni Tseng to finish strong to give me a chance!]

[Update 11 (1:31 pm): Onechan wanted to look at scorecards and I realized when I did that Song-Hee Kim had gotten to -14 on the front before tripling the par-3 8th. Amazing run on the back to get back there before her bogey on the 15th. Choi was also at -14 before she went bogey-double on the 13th and 14th. The pressure is getting to Jane Park, too, as she bogeyed the 15th to fall back to -12. We'll have to see if Webb and Gustafson can get their heads back on straight--they're still only 1 behind the Stone Buddha!]

[Update 12 (1:42 pm): Ouch, another bogey for the ROY leader Choi, dropping her back to -10 (tied with Se Ri Pak and Inbee Park) and giving her another painful learning experience. At least she's young--Gustafson did the same and she's too experienced to need any more of such lessons. She's now +7 for her last 12 holes.]

[Update 13 (1:44 pm): Oh no! Seon Hwa bogeyed the par-5 16th, dropping back into a tie with Webb and Kim. Park and Gustafson are now only 1 back!]

[Update 14 (2:01 pm): Hound Dog is at the 17th--says the wind is gusting to 25 mph! Whoever wins this thing is really going to have to earn it!]

[Update 15 (2:04 pm): Despite Choi's troubles, she still has the top rookie finish wrapped up--Ya Ni Tseng finished at -7. Momoko Ueda and Hee Young Park were way back at -2. Wonder if that's the order the ROY race will end in?]

[Update 16 (2:17 pm): Wow! Seon Hwa Lee birdied the 18th to get back to -14! She ended up 1 up on Kim and 3 up on Park. Webb needs a birdie and Gustafson an eagle to force a playoff....]

[Update 17 (2:21 pm): Cristie Kerr was the only other player in the field to match Lee's closing 67, which allowed her to move up to T25 (-5). Song-Hee Kim was the only other player in the top 20 to match Ai-chan and Fouch's 69s.]

[Update 18 (2:31 pm): Karrie Webb just showed why she's a Hall of Famer with a clutch birdie on the 18th to force a playoff! It's one of onechan's 3 most favorite golfers against one of my top 3!]

[Update 19 (2:55 pm): Hound Dog is the first to call the win for Seon Hwa Lee! It's her 3rd in 3 seasons on tour....]

[Update 20 (3:10 pm): So many players will be wondering why they couldn't have done what Lee did--most of whom I've already mentioned. But it's worth noting that Se Ri Pak ended her 58-hole bogey-free streak with 3 on the back to drop from -11 at the turn to -9 at the finish (T9 with Suzann Pettersen). Still, she's gotta be feeling even better than Michelle Wie--she's in next week's major's field at Bulle Rock!]

[Update 21 (3:32 pm): Here's Pete Iacobelli's AP story.]

[Update 22 (4:44 pm): How about that Amy Yang? She pulled a Mi Hyun Kim after her win, donating her entire winner's check to earthquake victims in China. Both she and Wie will now try to qualify for the U.S. Women's Open.]

[Update 23 (5:18 pm): Sounds like Seon Hwa and her coach came to the same conclusion as I did last week:

Mike my coach came here Monday through Wednesday, and we just work on lot of short game. He says short game is very important on the Tour, so I hit it straight, and I didn't miss a lot of fairways when I play out there so we work on short game and chipping and the putting, so I think that help a lot this week.]

[Update 24 (5:24 pm): Well, 7th place in the Pakpicker this week is what I get for not trusting Seon Hwa to get her short game going again as quickly as she ended up doing!]

[Update 25 (6/3/08, 3:43 pm): Great story in Hound Dog's tournament epilogue about meeting Lee's mom!]

[Update 26 (6/4/08, 11:52 am): Nice story on Lee's win by Ron Sirak, but it's the poorer for its failure to include Super Sophs Song-Hee Kim and Jane Park, Lee's playing partners who both had several chances to win.]

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