Sunday, July 6, 2008

NW Arkansas Championship Sunday: May the Best Golfer Win

Here are the 18 players within 5 shots of the lead and their starting times for the final round of the NW Arkansas Championship:

Start Time: 10:45 AM
Karen Stupples
Na Ri Kim
Helen Alfredsson

Start Time: 10:55 AM
Cristie Kerr
Heather Young
Il Mi Chung

Start Time: 11:05 AM
Jee Young Lee
Na Yeon Choi
Louise Friberg

Start Time: 11:15 AM
Ai Miyazato
H.J. Choi
Jeong Jang

Start Time: 11:25 AM
Seon Hwa Lee
Kristy McPherson
Inbee Park

Start Time: 11:35 AM
Eun-Hee Ji
Meena Lee
Angela Park

Let's make CBS regret cutting away at 3:00 pm Eastern time from your finish, ladies!

With 3 looking to lay claim to being the hottest women's golfer of the summer (Ji, I. Park, and S.H. Lee), 8 looking for their first win in a while (M. Lee, Jang, Friberg, Chung, Young, Kerr, Alfredsson, Stupples), and 7 looking for their 1st win as an LPGA member (A. Park, McPherson, H.J. Choi, Miyazato, N.Y. Choi, J.Y. Lee, Kim), there's plenty at stake for everyone and no out-and-out favorite. Plus, with the likes of Hee-Won Han, Morgan Pressel, and Stacy Lewis lurking 6 shots back at -6, and everyone else in the field gunning to break Angela Park's tournament record of 62, there'll be plenty of fireworks to close out July 4th weekend! A sub-60 round is not out of the question, given the softness of the course and the likelihood of lift, clean, and place conditions.

See you at at 3:01 pm!

[Update 1 (4:49 pm): How about that Jane Park?! Makes 10 birdies and 8 pars, matches Angela Park's tournament-record 62, gets to -14, and has been the leader in the clubhouse for awhile. And now that Kristy McPherson butchered the next-to-last par-5 on the course, she's the co-leader!]

[Update 2 (4:51 pm): Got to see Karen Stupples makes some nice approach shots and great putts down the stretch. Great 66!]

[Update 3 (5:36 pm): Didn't get to see Na Yeon Choi's nice finish, a birdie on 18 that got her to -12 (T7 for now). But I did get to see Ai Miyazato give herself birdie chance after birdie chance on most of the back and almost chip in for birdie on the 18th to tie Jane Park as leader in the clubhouse. A very solid 68 today got her to -13 (T4 for now), but you can see that 1st LPGA win is right around the corner for her.]

[Update 4 (5:39 pm): Great spin-back approach for Seon Hwa Lee on the par-5 18th just now! She has a 2-foot downhiller to get to -15 and become the leader in the clubhouse, with only Meena Lee able to catch her.]

[Update 5 (6:05 pm): Congrats to Seon Hwa Lee! It was more a war of attrition than the fireworks everyone expected and there were plenty of opportunities for others to make like Jane Park and take a run at the leaders, but scores were fairly high today and Lee knew what it would take to avoid a playoff with Jane Park. That's win #4 in less than 3 years for the top Junior Mint. With her 2 wins since our last ranking at the end of May, she's turned a so-so season into a very good one, and now has a great chance to make it great.]

[Update 6 (7:25 pm): Just noticed that Ai-chan was one of only 4 players to break 70 each round. And the only one to break 69 each round!]

[Update 7 (11:43 pm): Hound Dog goes all-out in his final-round recap (and balances my Ai-centricity in the process!)....]

[Update 8 (7/7/08, 1:18 am): Golf Channel beat Hound Dog to the highlights. Let's see whose are better later today!]

[Update 9 (8:55 am): Hound Dog was held back by CBS's only covering the front 9, but some of the best highlights were there, anyway. You be the judge!]

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