Saturday, November 29, 2008

Lexus Cup Saturday: Best-Ball Battles

The 2nd day of the Lexus Cup ended much like the 1st--with Team Asia and Team International battling to another 3-3 draw. Both captains mixed up their foursomes teams from the previous day, with mixed results. Pak's strategy was to pair someone playing well with someone struggling, while Sorenstam's was to keep the victorious Aussie and American pairings from day 1 together but mix everyone else up. How did it turn out?

Eun-Hee Ji (#14) and Inbee Park (#13) vs. Suzann Pettersen (#5) and Annika Sorenstam (#3): This one was a cliffhanger, with every hole that changed hands decided by a birdie except the last, which Sorenstam eagled for the win. Team Asia was 2-up with 7 to play, but couldn't keep pace with Pettersen's 4-hole birdie train; and even when Ji's birdie on 14 and Park's on 16 each lifted them back to 1-up, Pettersen responded on 15 and 17 with her 7th and 8th birdies of the day. So it was fitting that Sorenstam would respond with an eagle on 18 that made both Ji and Park's birdies meaningless--and gave Team International a 4-3 lead.

Se Ri Pak (#44) and Seon Hwa Lee (#8) vs. Cristie Kerr (#6) and Helen Alfredsson (#11): Early stumbles by Team Asia helped Team International jump out to a 2-up lead on the front, but they birdied 3 of the 1st 4 holes on the back to even up the match. They were still tied with 4 holes to go, but Team International birdied all 4 to win 2-up. Match-play ace Lee failed to make a birdie in this stretch as Team International opened up a 5-3 lead.

Jeong Jang (#12) and Na Yeon Choi (#9) vs. Paula Creamer (#2) and Nicole Castrale (#38): Team Asia posted 3 birdies as they began the back to turn a 1-hole deficit into a 1-hole lead, but Creamer's birdie on the par-3 14th evened things up. They stayed that way until both Jang and Choi birdied the par-3 17th and neither Creamer nor Castrale could match them. The match ended with birdies all around as Team Asia gutted out a 1-up win and cut the Team International lead to 5-4.

Sarah Lee (n.r.) and Song-Hee Kim (#17) vs. Karen Stupples (#16) and Christina Kim (#29): Kim was the hero of this match, helping turn a 1-hole deficit after 2 to a 4-up lead after 7 when she matched Pettersen's 4-hole birdie train. Team International could never get closer than 2 holes down, and when Kim birdied 15 and Lee birdied 16, they sealed a 4 & 2 victory that brought Team Asia back to a 5-5 tie.

Candie Kung (#19) and Mayumi Shimomura (n.r.) vs. Natalie Gulbis (#46) and Angela Stanford (#7): This was essentially a Kung vs. Stanford showdown that Kung won handily with 5 birdies in 15 holes, leading Team Asia to a 6-5 lead.

Ya Ni Tseng (#4) and Namika Omata (n.r.) vs. Katherine Hull (#23) and Nikki Campbell (n.r.): Amazingly, Tseng and Hull contributed only 1 win each on the front as Omata and Campbell battled to a tie, which lasted until Campbell won the par-5 13th with a birdie and matched both of Tseng's birdies on the par-5 15th and 18th to seal the Team International win and even the competition at 6-6.

(Again, the numbers in parentheses reflect the players' final positions in my Best of the LPGA rankings.)

The individual matches should be awesome tomorrow!

[Update 1 (11/30/08, 12:54 am): Check out Mike McGee's report on Day 2 over at Annika's blog!]

[Update 2 (12/1/08, 2:44 am): And's notes and interviews.]

No comments: