Friday, June 27, 2008

U.S. Women's Open Friday: Still a Lot of Birdies on the Course!

If the play of the first few groups in the morning pairings at the U.S. Women's Open is any indication, Interlachen's birdie holes aren't yet playing any tougher than they were on Thursday. Super Soph Inbee Park became the 8th player in the field to eagle the 2nd, Junior Mints Seon Hwa Lee and Minea Blomqvist birdied their 1st 2 holes on the back, and living legend Annika Sorenstam birdied both opening par 5s on the front. But Pat Hurst and Song-Hee Kim have made an early bogey each, so it's not automatic for anyone out there. We'll see how many of the 32 players who started out the day under par remain there by its end!

[Update 1 (10:13 am): Lee is now -3 on the day and -1 for the tournament after her 1st 6 holes on the back. Karen Stupples has joined her thanks to birdies on the 13th and 15th. Also making an early move is Jane Park, who imitated Sorenstam's feat. But Ji-Yai Shin and Sakura Yokomine are moving in the wrong direction early in their rounds (Yokomine is now +3 on the short par-4 15th for the tournament). You can track the best (and worst) rounds of the day for yourself at the USGA leaderboard.]

[Update 2 (10:38 am): Oh no! Beth Ann Baldry reports that Ya Ni Tseng has a very bad right elbow:

Diagnosed with tricep tendonitis, Tseng’s doctor said he’d recommend a week off [if] it wasn’t the U.S. Women’s Open. The injury was an emotional blow to the Taiwanese power player who wants desperately to win rookie of the year honors.

Her arm started hurting in December at the final stage of LPGA Q-School. If Tseng promised to take it easy at the Open, she wouldn’t damage the elbow any further.

“I’ve been to the range twice this week,” said Tseng, who feels pain at impact. “A lot of time chipping and putting.

I feel terrible for Tseng.]

[Update 3 (1:45 pm): From a potential Rookie of the Year to the recent ones! Angela Park has been in limbo since her slow-play penalty while she was in contention in Hawaii seemed to send her into a tailspin, but although she's only hit 5 of 12 fairways thus far, she's hit all but 1 green and has made 5 birdies and an eagle in her 1st 15 holes. She briefly had the lead to herself at -7 but bogeyed the tough 6th hole to drop back into a tie with Ji Young Oh (who hasn't yet started her round today). Seon Hwa Lee bogeyed the 9th hole for the second day in a row, but her 70 still helped her leap into the top 25 at -1 for the tournament. Paula Creamer bogeyed both par 3s on the back but still managed a solid 72 to get to -4 (T6). With Tseng's injury, 2nd-place 2008 rookie Na Yeon Choi may have an advantage in the 2nd half of the season, and she's made 3 birdies in her 1st 4 holes on the back to get within 1 shot of even par.]

[Update 4 (1:51 pm): Junior Mint Minea Blomqvist was the first to break 70 today, though Jeong Jang was right on her heels. Meanwhile, Annika Sorenstam birdied the 18th for a 70 to join Lee at -1, as did Suzann Pettersen, who will need some help to make the cut from her +2 perch--either from the eventual 36 hole leader or from the rest of the field.]

[Update 5 (2:03 pm): How about that Inbee Park? After suffering a final-6-hole mini-collapse of her own last Sunday when she was in contention at the Wegmans, she fired a 69 today to join Blomqvist as leader in the clubhouse at -5. Fellow Super Soph Jane Park will need help from the leader or the field to make the cut; her 71 only brought her back to +3 for the tournament, T72 right now. Even though their classmate Song-Hee Kim ballooned to 76 today, at -2 she's still very much in contention--she may even be in the top 10 by the end of the day.]

[Update 6 (2:05 pm): Morgan Pressel shot a 39 on the back to drop to +2 for the tournament (T64 right now). She and Pettersen were at the top of the leaderboard last week at this point, but now they're just hoping to be playing on the weekend.]

[Update 7 (2:18 pm): Junior Mint Brittany Lang and JLPGA star Sakura Yokomine held it together on a tough day for both of them--their 75s keep them at E, in pretty good position heading into the weekend. With only 3 players from the morning pairings going under par both days (only Ji-Yai Shin, at -1 with the 8th and 9th left to play, can join this group), you just have to have a feeling many in the afternoon pairings will come back to them.]

[Update 8 (8:54 pm): Hound Dog summarizes where things were a few hours ago, but I've been doing daddy stuff and now it's time to put the girls to bed, so no more updates from here for awhile. Just a quick note to say how surprised I am at how tough the scoring has been in the afternoon--even tougher than I expected. I suspect the weather--and the weather delays--have something to do with that. But Cristie Kerr (-4 so far), Helen Alfredsson (-3), and Candie Kung (-3)have been handling the conditions just fine, as has Stacy Lewis (-2). But Ji-Yai Shin's late collapse (2 closing bogeys and 3 in her last 7 holes) to fall back to 74 for the day and -3 for the tournament has been the norm for the leaders heading out in the afternoon. More on that later!]

[Update 9 (6/28/08, 7:27 am): Most of the groups did get their Friday rounds in after seemingly unending weather delays. Cristie Kerr bogeyed her final hole, the 9th, but at -4 is in great position heading into the weekend. With the birdie-able 18th still to play, Ai Miyazato not only has the chance to become the 11th player to shoot consecutive under-par rounds and to join Kerr, Creamer, Jang, and Kung T5 at -4, but also to take a 1-shot lead on Momoko Ueda, who finished with back-to-back birdies for a fine 34 on the back--and a 2-shot lead on Rookie of the Year race leader Ya Ni Tseng. Ji-Young Oh and Louise Friberg have chances to salvage their Friday rounds with a start on the 18th today that could land them in the top 10, while Jee Young Lee has 3 holes on which to get back below par before starting her Saturday round. Plus there are a host of players looking to stay within 10 shots of the leader Angela Park, among them Maria Hjorth, Leta Lindley, and rookies Hee Young Park and Amy Yang.

Hound Dog's update is not to be missed--he mines Minea Blomqvist's interview for great material--and of curse his highlights rock! For more reading, check out the USGA news page and the usual suspects in our sidebar.]

[Update 10 (7:56 am): Ron Sirak's latest headline caught my attention because I thought he was going to talk about all the young players, from not-even rookies like Stacy Lewis to the rookies, Super Sophs, and Junior Mints at the top of the leaderboard, but instead he focused on Sorenstam and Creamer. I'm regretting not putting more young guns in my Pakpicker this week, particularly with Se Ri Pak missing the cut and Karrie Webb just barely squeaking in. Oh, and Moira Dunn missed it by 1 shot, darn it! Going +2 on the 10 par 5s she played was her downfall.... But she's in good company--Juli Inkster (81), Laura Davies (81), Natalie Gulbis (80), and Sophie Gustafson (77) are out, along with Michelle Wie and all but 7 of the amateurs.... The course isn't all that kind to veterans or newbies, apparently, despite the fine play of Alfredsson, Uribe, Lewis, and Ueda. But I could easily envision a 2nd- or 3rd-year player winning this!]


The Florida Masochist said...


Doesn't the USGA use the 10 shot rule? Anyone within 10 shots of the leader makes the cut. If so, Morgan will be playing this weekend.


The Constructivist said...

Yeah, that's why I said the field or the leaders....