Sunday, July 20, 2008

State Farm Classic Sunday: Blast from the Past

Until Michelle Wie was disqualified after yesterday's round for not signing her scorecard while she was in the scorer's tent after her round on Friday, the State Farm Classic was shaping up to be a repeat of the 2004 Women's Amateur Public Links, when Ya Ni Tseng beat Wie 1-up in the 36-hole match-play finals. With Wie and her -17 total through 3 rounds out of the tournament, there's a different way in which history seems to be repeating itself. Flash back to Sunday at the MasterCard Classic, another event with a thin field and a big name out of contention (Lorena Ochoa, who had shot herself out of the tournament in the first round). Take a look at the mid-March leaderboard to refresh your memory. Let's go through the checklist.

Charging rookie threatening to win? Check. Then it was Louise Friberg. Now it's Shanshan Feng, who's -7 through 13 today and -14 for the tournament.

Rookie of the Year race leaders in the mix? Check. And once again Na Yeon Choi is making up ground on Ya Ni Tseng, who's let the field back into the tournament with her +1 start over her 1st 5 holes. Choi is 4 back thus far today; maybe she can do better than the 2 back she ended up in at Bosque Real.

Ji Young Oh with a chance to win? Check. She squandered it big-time in Mexico; maybe she'll do better today. She tied with Tseng now.

OK, so Jill McGill and Jane Park aren't doing quite as well relative to the field as they did at Bosque Real, but history more rhymes than repeats, anyway, right?

[Update 1 (2:09 pm): OK, there are significant differences between this event and that one. One is the presence of proven winners like Hee-Won Han (-16 heading into the 8th hole), Stacy Prammanasudh (-15 as she plays the 9th), and Christina Kim (-14 on the 9th) in the mix. But with 12 players within 3 of the lead as the lead pairings appoach the turn, this is shaping up to be a classic free-for-all....]

[Update 2 (2:53 pm): Well, Feng sure got it done. Her 63 brought her all the way to -16 which is 1 behind Oh right now, but not likely to get her the win the way Friberg's great final round did in Mexico. Still, another great Sunday for the rookie from China!]

[Update 3 (8:54 pm): Wow, Ji Young Oh sure proved me wrong! Never expected her to be in a playoff--nor to beat Ya Ni Tseng--nor to be the 3rd in her class to get a win! Hound Dog has the key details.]

[Update 4 (7/21/08, 2:27 am): The local media shines in this live-blog of the final round. And the interviews with Oh, Tseng, and Feng are better reading than Dave Mercer's AP story.]

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