If the ADT Championship doesn't have the most compelling--and painful--format in golf, I don't want to know about the alternative. I can't imagine what it's like to play it. I'm not even watching it--just checking in on scorecards on LPGA.com--and it's all I can do to avoid covering my eyes and peeking through my fingers as the scores update. Thankfully, my lunch break is almost over! Hopefully the round itself will be over by the next time I can check in.
Of the 4 players tied for 16th right now at +1, Maria Hjorth had been at -3 for her round and the tournament as she headed to the 7th tee. She's now heading to the 10th, having dropped from contending for the 36-hole lead to hoping to make the 36-hole cut. Na Yeon Choi and Ji Young Oh just dropped back to join her with their doubles on the par-3 7th. Helen Alfredsson is playing comparatively steadily, with only 1 birdie and 1 bogey through 14 holes.
1 shot back is Candie Kung, who just shot her 2nd straight 38. 2 shots back is Lorena Ochoa, who just bogeyed the par-4 16th after making birdie on 2 of her previous 3 holes to come back from another weak start. Thanks to a shaky 39 on the front, Morgan Pressel is also 2 back. Then there's Annika, who's 3 back with 3 to go. And....
I can't go on. See you in a few hours!
[Update 1 (4:24 pm): I am so glad I missed what just took place. Song-Hee Kim? No million-dollar season for this Super Soph! Young major winners like Ya Ni Tseng and Morgan Pressel? Forget about it! Not even close. But not as bad as Ji Young Oh, who went from +1 on her day and -1 in the tournament to +15/+13 in the space of 12 holes. Maria Hjorth was "only" +8 over her final 12 holes--and only missed the cut by 2 shots. Candie Kung's double on 18 dropped her back to +5 with Hjorth, Ochoa, Sorenstam, Kerr, Diaz, and Han--and they all finished T18! But maybe the most painful finish belongs to Na Yeon Choi, who made three doubles on the day--and 2 in her last 6 holes--to drop from E to +4 and miss a playoff by 1 shot.
Even those who made the top 16 are likely to be scarred heading into tomorrow's round. Karrie Webb was +5 over her last 11 holes of birdie-less golf--and ended up in 16th place. Karen Stupples made 5 bogeys and a double, yet her 4th birdie of the day on the par-3 17th secured 15th place for her. Eun-Hee Ji got all the way to -6 for the tournament before finishing triple-bogey-triple on her final 3 holes--yet her 75 dropped her only to +1 and T10. Jee Young Lee's Friday was filled with as many thrills and spills as Thursday's, but a walk-off birdie finally brought her back to +1. Neither Ji-Yai Shin (75) nor In-Kyung Kim (73) had confidence-building back 9s, to say the least.
Probably the only players sad to see their scores erased will be Katherine Hull (a bogey-free 71 brought her to -5) and Angela Stanford (whose 67 pulled her to -4). Paula Creamer (-2) was +2 over the final 10 holes for the 2nd day in a row, while Christina Kim (-2) bogeyed 2 of her last 3 today and must be furiously trying to exorcise the memories of worse finishes last year. Jeong Jang (-1) went 32-38 today, while a walk-off bogey marred Angela Park's otherwise perfect performance (70, -1). Seon Hwa Lee shot 72-72, but was +3 over her final 11 holes today, while Suzann Pettersen was almost as steady (72-73), but also stumbled down the stretch with a birdie-less 38 on the back. Even Sun Young Yoo, one of the few players to fight her way into the top 16, shot a 37--and that was 4 shots better than last round. Well, it's time for everyone to clear the memory banks and scorecards--even though the latter is easier than the former--and start over tomorrow....
It's not just the qualification system for the ADT that's like NASCAR--it's the event itself. The crashes are as spectacular as the brilliance. And it seems to me they're getting worse from year to year. Is it just me?]
[Update 2 (4:34 pm): Here are some reactions from Hound Dog, Ryan Ballengee, and Jay Busbee.]
[Update 3 (11/23/08, 2:30 am) Here's Bill Jempty on the results and the controversy.]
[Update 4 (3:48 am): And here are Brent Kelley's, Ryan Ballengee's, and Geoff Shackelford's takes on the various Friday results. Once again the LPGA is taking heat from the golfy media--but not the LPGA bloggers--for doing the right thing (l'affaire Wie card, in particular). Plus they don't seem to be getting much credit for turning the wrong thing into a much better thing (seems like the English requirement is going to become something like a cultural immersion program, although we'll still have to see how close to the 2-way mentoring model I called for it turns out to be). Bob Smiley gets both the LPGA's PR problems and the golfy media's overreactions to them dead right!]
[Update 5 (4:24 am): Back to the golf, the LPGA Insider covers every painful shot of Annika's final LPGA round of 2008. Was her putter evil, or what?]