Thursday, October 2, 2008

Venice Thursday: Not Too Shabby!

I'll tell you what: when I first saw the field for the Venice sectional qualifier, I wasn't at all impressed. But take a look at the scoring today. Sure, nobody's burning up the course, but a number of players are showing the kind of consistency that could get them in the top 80 next season on the LPGA money list--if they can just play as well or better over their next 6 rounds (tomorrow plus the 5 at Final Qualifying School in the 1st week of December).

Beatriz Recari couldn't break 70 for the 3rd straight time, but her 71 kept her safely under par again and puts her ahead of the entire field, except for amateur Jaclyn Sweeney, who's also gone under par every round to also get to -7. Janell Howland (70, -5, T4) is the only other player in the field to manage the 3-straight-under-par-rounds feat, but with their 72s today, Chella Choi (-6, 3rd), Nontaya Srisawang (-5, T4), Hae-Jung Kang (-5, T4), and Taya Battistella (-3, T8) have all managed to avoid going over par, joining Samantha Richdale (70, -5, T4).

And even the players who haven't shown that kind of consistency have been better than I expected. Pornanong Phatlum's 70 got her to -2 and into a tie with Sunny Oh, who fell back to a tie for 10th with her 74, but both remain in good shape. Sara Brown's 2nd-straight 72 kept her at +1 but moved her up to T17, a shot ahead of Jenny Suh and Angela Oh, who shot a 72 and a 71 today, respectively, and who balance precariously on the right side of the bubble heading into tomorrow's round. (Now, if only Sunny Park can get it together tomorrow and go low--she's T50 at +7 after a 73 today--we'd have some of the very best names in either sectional qualifying field keeping their hopes alive!)

The fact that anything between +1 and +5 could end up being the "move on" line leads me to 3 conclusions: 1) this field is a lot stronger than I thought; 2) 8 players in it have a chance to make themselves favorites for the top 20 at Final Qualifying School in December; 3) a 67 or lower tomorrow means that someone even as high as +10 so far could give themselves a fighting chance to enter Q-School. Oh yeah, and 4) should be pretty compelling golf tomorrow!

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