There are some amazing pairings for the final round of the Canadian Women's Open. Here are my top 4:
Ya Ni Tseng (-14) and Se Ri Pak (-10): Tseng came this close to matching Pak's 2 majors in her rookie season (Pak has Ji-Yai Shin to thank for that!). Tseng is going for LPGA victory #2 and Pak for #25....
Suzann Pettersen (-2) and Annika Sorenstam (-2): Annika definitely gets in Suzann's head. She's 4-0 against her when they've played together this season. I don't think it's a coincidence that Pettersen's breakout season came while Sorenstam was sidelined or that she's struggled this season with Annika back.
Jennifer Rosales (-3) and Michelle Wie (-2): 2 talented young players known as much for their DQs and WDs as for their more positive achievements--and both fighting for their 2009 cards. Rosales is #97 on the money list, having made just under $80K this season, while Wie needs at least a 4th-place finish to avoid Q-School.
Lorena Ochoa (-8) and Katherine Hull (-8): Hull has already had a career season, but she can make it a great one with a great finish today, while Ochoa will need a miracle to defend her title and get her 7th win of the season.
I'll be at the Erie Zoo most of today for the 5th birthday party of one of onechan's best friends, so I won't know for awhile whether Tseng will follow Erina Hara's lead and run away with this tournament in as dominating a fashion as Hara did on the JLPGA. Feel free to give me updates in comments!
[Update 1 (8/18/08, 6:32 am): Congratulations to Katherine Hull for turning what was already a career season into a great one by any standard. On a day when the few other players who broke 70 had nothing to lose, her 69 was the only strong round among the 4 who could have won this. Sure, Tseng had a Pettersen-like collapse (so watch out for her the rest of the season, as Pettersen won in bunches this time of year last year after missing out on good opportunities for wins earlier in the season), Ochoa couldn't get anything going for the 2nd day in a row, and Pak was all over the map. But Hull did exactly what she had to do to give herself a chance of winning--and like Seon Hwa Lee's win a little while ago, it was just good enough. And that's all that matters. She's in the ADT Championship, she'll be doing the Asian swing, she's in the top 20 of the money list, not far from Karrie Webb and way ahead of Lindsey Wright and Rachel Hetherington.... Wow! Only time will tell if Hull will handle this quantum leap better than Brittany Lincicome and Meaghan Francella have, as well as Nicole Castrale, or even better.
And what a bitter disappointment for the other 3 contenders. Not to mention for Seon Hwa Lee, Cristie Kerr, Eun-Hee Ji, Na Yeon Choi, Angela Park, Inbee Park, and In-Kyung Kim, who had to have higher expectations this week than the middle of the pack. (Certainly I did for them!)
But a good day for Pettersen, who finally beat Annika when playing in the same pairing as her. And for many lesser-known players, it was a pretty darn good tournament. Another great finish for Junior Mint Sun Young Yoo--she had the best weekend among those in the top 10. Super Soph Song-Hee Kim was the only plaer in the field to break par all 4 rounds. Jennifer Rosales and Moira Dunn picked up significant chunks of change for those fighting to get and stay inside the top 80 on the money list (#80 Marisa Baena has $112.3K now). And I would say this was actually a good tournament for Michelle Wie. She showed she can grind it out under pressure on a course that doesn't entirely suit her game (too much rough!) and get a top 15 despite 1 really bad round in the mix. Sure, she didn't play well enough to get her card, but she showed she can be a top-rank player on tour. But more on her in another post. For now, check out Hound Dog's recap and LPGA.com's notes and interviews.]
[Update 2 (3:25 pm): Ryan Ballengee gets Tseng right.]
[Update 3 (3:45 pm): And Hound Dog gets Hull right.]