Until Jin Joo Hong and Maria Hjorth ended their rounds with birdie barrages on the front to get to -4, the morning leaderboard at the LPGA Championship was dominated by Bs and Ks.
Emily Bastel and Lorie Kane shot bogey-free 66s. Thanks to an eagle and 5 birdies in her first 11 holes, Marisa Baena had it to -6 until bogeys on the 14th and 18th dropped her to 68. Soo-Yun Kang, Young Kim, and Kelli Kuehne all shot 69s. Even Su A Kim got in the act with a 70. Not to be outdone by much, Christina Kim fired a bogey-free 71. And Mi Hyun Kim and Jimin Kang stumbled a bit down the stretch on their way to 72s.
Making McDonald's happy by breaking up the BK party were Hee-Won Han and H.J. Choi (69, T10 thus far); Annika Sorenstam, Se Ri Pak, and Jee Young Lee (70, T17); and Paula Creamer, Suzann Pettersen, and Karen Stupples (71, T36).
Still very much in the tournament are Angela Stanford (who had offsetting pairs of birdies and bogeys on each side), Eun-Hee Ji (who had 5 birdies, 3 bogeys, and a double bogey), and Moira Dunn (who birdied her final 3 holes on the front), all T61 right now at 72. But if conditions remain as benign as they seem to have been thus far today, the cut line tomorrow could be right at E, so they'll have to have one eye over their shoulders at players like Seon Hwa Lee, Hee Young Park, and Natalie Gulbis at 73 (T82), Angela Park at 74 (T106), and Na Yeon Choi and Minea Blomqvist at 75 (T118), all of whom are capable of going very low.
Among the most disappointed this morning have to be Laura Davies, who birdied 3 of her first 4 holes but ended up shooting a 75, and Sophie Gustafson, who was cruising at E through 11 but finished with a 77. Davies is still looking for the final 2 points to qualify her for the LPGA Hall of Fame and Gustafson was looking to bounce back from her catastrophic collapse last Sunday at the Ginn Tribute.
More on the afternoon groups soon.
[Update 1 (7:44 pm): Well, Lindsey Wright had the round of the afternoon, a bogey-free 67, to leap into 3rd place; Nicole Castrale and Rachel Hetherington joined Hong and Hjorth at 68; and Lorena Ochoa, Inbee Park, Ji Young Oh, and Wendy Doolan round out the top 10, bringing the total number of players who broke 70 to 17. The lowest Ks of the afternoon belong to Candie Kung and Song-Hee Kim at 70 (T18). McDonald's breathes a sigh of relief, no doubt.
In all, 77 players shot par or better, so Ya Ni Tseng and Morgan Pressel at +1 (T78), In-Kyung Kim at +2 (T97), Carin Koch and Teresa Lu at +4 (T126), and Ai Miyazato at +5 (T131) really have their work cut out for them tomorrow, so to speak. And Jeong Jang, Catriona Matthew, Jane Park, Momoko Ueda, and Pat Hurst at E had better bring their 'A' games.
The thing about majors, though, is that winning scores in the double digits don't come all that often--although it has happened 6 of the last 10 times in this one. Juli Inkster has the lowest (-16) and highest (-3) winning scores in that stretch. So anyone under par heading into the weekend has a realistic chance to get hot and win, assuming, of course, that the rather surprising group at the top of the leaderboard find it hard to go as low tomorrow as they did today.]
[Update 2 (6/6/08, 9:30 am): Hound Dog comes through with his recap and highlights. Meanwhile, Doug Ferguson keeps his attention firmly focused on Lorena Ochoa, but gets in some good bits on a few of those ahead of her.]
[Update 3 (10:25 am): IceCat's on-course dispatches at Seoul Sisters.com are not be be missed, and Golf for Women continues its fine bloggy coverage over in the sidebar.]
[Update 4 (6:46 pm): Hound Dog gives us even more highlights!]