Sunday, December 7, 2008

Q-School Sunday: This Is It

Here are the pairings for the final round of the LPGA's Q-School. With everyone playing the easier Champions course today, I'm not sure that cooler and windier conditions will make that much of a dent in the low scoring we've seen all week there. I expect we'll see the number of players double digits under par swell from 8 through 72 holes to 11 through 90, while the playoff for the #20 spot will come at -6. Here's where my picks stand heading into today's action:

1st Tee
7:45 am Anna Nordqvist (-2, T35)
7:56 am Alison Walshe (-3, T29)
8:07 am Tania Elosegui (-3, T29)
9:02 am Anna Rawson, Carolina Llano (-7, T12)
9:13 am Mika Miyazato (-8, 11th)
9:35 am Shiho Oyama (-12, 4th), Charlotte Mayorkas (-11, T5)
9:46 am Stacy Lewis (-15, 1st), Michelle Wie (-14, 2nd), Amy Yang (-13, 3rd)

10th Tee
8:29 am Pornanong Phatlum (-1, T44)
8:40 am Miki Saiki (E, T50)
9:02 am Melissa Reid (+1, T58)
9:13 am Martina Eberl, Hannah Jun (+2, T61)
9:35 am Song Yi Choi (+2, T61)

Soon we'll see how everyone handles the pressure of the final round!

[Update 1 (10:15 am): The LPGA Insider is following the leaders again.]

[Update 2 (10:56 am): Looks like I was wrong--the early scoring is significantly higher than I expected. Mika Miyazato is +2 through her 1st 5 holes, Charltte Mayorkas +3 through 4, and Michelle Wie +3 through 3. Right now, only 5 players are making any kind of move up the leaderboard, lead by Ashleigh Simon, who's -3 as she makes the turn onto the front and has helped bring the projected cut line up to -5. My guess is people's games will heat up as the weather warms up; I still expect the 14 players at -7 or better to get much more company before the day is out.]

[Update 3 (11:05 am): Anna Nordqvist has 6 holes left to make a charge. She's fought back to E on the day and -2 for the tournament, but she's back in T27 and needs to get to at least -5 to have a shot at a playoff. Alison Walshe and tania Elosegui are both +2 through 11 and -1 for the tournament; they, too, have their backs against the wall.]

[Update 4 (11:10 am): Miyazato is now +3 through 6 and right on the cut line at -5 (T20). But she's not alone in moving backward in a big way early in her round: Leah Wigger and Paige Mackenzie (+2 and +3, respectively, though 8) have dropped back into Category 16-land (T25 and T28, respectively). Miki Saiki continues to have trouble getting anything going; she just dropped to +1 through 8 (T45 at +1 for the tournament).]

[Update 5 (11:20 am): How 'bout that Anna Grzebien? -5 through 8 today and at -12 only 2 shots out of the lead! BTW, the cut line is now -6, so good for Anja Monke that she's -3 through 10 and -7 for the tournament!]

[Update 6 (11:32 am): 2-shot swing at the par-3 6th when Yang got a tap-in birdie and Lewis failed to get up-and-down from over the green. It's now Yang -14, Lewis at -13, Super Soph Sophie Giquel joining her there with a -3 start through her 1st 7 holes, Shiho Oyama still at -12, joined by Grzebien, and Wie, Mollie Fankhauser, and Lisa Strom at -11.]

[Update 7 (11:36 am): Ashleigh Simon, Leah Wigger, and Mika Miyazato, among others, are back in the top 20 (which puts 23 players at -5 or better right now). Still no moves from any of my picks who started on the back or before 9 am on the front.]

[Update 8 (11:42 am): Sunny Oh has fought back to +3 through 10 (-2, T27 overall) after a horrific start. The cut line for the top 40 is now E, for the top 30 -2, and for the top 20 -5. Audra Burks has joined Monke at -7, thanks to a -3 start through her 1st 12 holes.]

[Update 9 (11:52 am): Giquel has now tied Yang for the lead at -14 after a birdie on the 8th brought her to -4 on the day. Nordqvist now has 3 holes left to play; she's still E for the day, -2 overall, and 3 shots behind the projected top 20 cut line.]

[Update 10 (12:00 pm): Well, at high noon you have to be under par just to make the top 40. Things are not looking good for Hannah Jun (+2 through 81 holes), Miki Saiki (+2 through 82), Martina Eberl (+3 through 81), and Melissa Reid (+3 through 81).]

[Update 11 (12:02 pm): Giquel just matched Grzebien's 31 on the front to get to -15 and leads Yang and Lewis by 1.]

[Update 12 (12:06 pm): Nontaya Srisawang is now -3 through 14 and 1 shot out of the tie for 18th at -5. Oyama now makes it a trio at -14 after a birdie on the 9th. Mayorkas's birdie on the 9th makes her the 10th player to get to double digits under par, but she still shot a 37 on the front.]

[Update 13 (12:12 pm): Paige Mackenzie is now +5 through 12 and in a tie for 40th at E. She's the only Super Soph still moving in the wrong direction now. Wonder if there will be playoffs to knock out all but the exact top 40. I know they will have them at the #20 mark, so I assume they'll do the same to determine the precise top 30 and top 40, too.]

[Update 14 (12:30 pm): Yang and Lewis birdied the par-5 9th while Wie failed to get up and down from the side of the green, but Giquel birdied the 10th to maintain her 1-shot lead on them. Miyazato is now back to -6, T15.]

[Update 15 (1:36 pm): Nordqvist birdied the 18th to finish the tourament at -3, 2 shots shy of the cut line right now. Na Ri Kim made a nice charge late but couldn't birdie the 18th to join Mary Hart and Audra Burks at -5. Leah Wigger needs a birdie to do it.]

[Update 16 (1:44 pm): Other 18th hole drama at the top 30 and top 40s lines. If Paige Mackenzie can birdie the 18th, she can avoid being in a playoff for the 40th spot with Angela Oh (73), Sarah Oh and Taylor Leon (both 74), and Garrett Phillips (75), all of whom are tied for 39th at E. There are only a few golfers left in the field with a chance to join them. Alison Walshe (76, +1) and Miki Saiki (74, +2) are not among them, but don't be too sad for them. Saiki has the JLPGA to return to, and Walshe can get a battlefield promotion with her 3rd win on the Futures Tour in '09. If Sunny Oh can birdie the 18th for a 74 that takes her to -3, she can avoid a playoff for the 30th spot with Nontaya Srisawang (71), Haeji Kang (72), Brandi Jackson (72), Tania Elosegui (73), and Christi Cano (74).]

[Update 17 (1:49 pm): Mackenzie did it. But her top 40 doesn't help her improve on the Category 15 status she already earned for 2009 by finishing 120th on the 2008 LPGA money list.]

[Update 18 (1:57 pm): Ouch. Oh bogeyed the 18th, moving her down to Category 20 status. Jessica Carafiello and hannah Jun need to birdie out t get in the playoff for the 40th spot. Jeanne Cho-Hunicke is hanging onto the top 20 by her fingernails--she's now +2 through 15 and at -7 overall is only 2 shots above the cut line. She's looking to make the biggest jump in the field--from 187th on the money list to Category 11 status. But if she collapses down the stretch, she gives new life to Wigger, Kim, Choi, and Hanna-Williams, who would all of a sudden get to be in a playoff for the 20th spot.]

[Update 19 (2:00 pm): They just corrected Walshe's final score to 77 (+2). Poor Carri Wood shot a final-round 81 to fall all the way from Category 11 to limbo. Most of the damage came on her last 9 holes. Speaking of weak finishes, Louise Stahle and Mika Miyazato are now only 2 shots above the top 20 cut line with 1 to play.]

[Update 20 (2:05 pm): Wow! Grzebien's 65 lifts her to -14 and into a tie for 2nd right now with Yang and Giquel, 2 shots behind Lewis. Nice jump from 142nd on the money list to the top of Category 11! Carolina Llano (70, -9, 11th), Anna Rawson (71, -8 T12), and Jaehee Lee (70, -8, T12) also secured Category 11 status. Wonder how ties will be broken within the top 20?]

[Update 21 (2:16 pm): When you look at the names who couldn't make the top 40 or even the top 70 in this year's Q-School, keep in mind that a good number of them had Category 15 status already, thanks to a finish between #101 and #125 on the money list. And also, those between #101 and #125 who got Category 16 or Category 20 status today basically took a spot away from someone who played the Futures Tour this season or finished lower than #125 on the LPGA money list but who couldn't make the top 40 at Q-School, who I suppose will be headed to the Futures Tour or abroad.]

[Update 22 (2:18 pm): More corrections coming in: the JLPGA's Saiki actually shot a 76, which dropped her to +4 overall, 2 shots behind Eberl and Reid of the LET.]

[Update 23 (2:32 pm): OK, no closing collapses for Miyazato, Stahle, or Cho-Hunicke--they all finish at -7 (T14). Now it's just a question of whether Oyama can join Yang and Grzebien at -14, if Lewis can hold on for a 2-stroke victory, if Wie can join Giquel and Bader at -13, and if Mayorkas can get back to double digits under par.]

[Update 24 (12/8/08, 5:00 am): There were a few corrections to scorecards after I stopped updating yesterday, the biggest among them being that there was a 4-way playoff for the last 2 spots in the top 20. Chella Choi and Leah Wigger got them, according to and Average Golfer (although just from looking at the leaderboard, I'm not entirely sure why they had to have the playoff, as there were exactly 20 players at -5 or better). Hound Dog's with me that no playoff was necessary. And he clarifies that no playoffs were necessary to determine Category 16 or Category 20.]

[Update 25 (5:22 am): Golf Channel keeps a laser-like focus on Michelle Wie (and Stacy Lewis). Bivens gets the "joining the young guns" story right and talks up the "other" big names in the Class of '09--nice work, even if it didn't really affect GC's coverage. But GC did clarify that because 2 in the top 20 already had cards, the LPGA could award 2 more, and did. That's a surprise to me!]

[Update 26 (5:36 am): Let the celebration--and the concern trolling--of Wie begin! Steve Elling wants to see Wie start acting like a professional now; Eric Adelson uses an Obama comparison to suggest that Wie's truest test will come in '09; Ron Sirak calls this Act III of Wie's career; and Eric Soderstrom picks up on one of Wie's verbal tics.]

[Update 27 (5:54 am): So here's how my picks worked out:

1. Shiho Oyama 64-70-71-71-71 -13 T4 (CLLCC) got the job done
2. Sun-Ju Ahn 78-68-WD (LCL) oh, man!
3. Miki Saiki 74-72-70-72-76 +4 T60 (LCCLC) biggest disappointment of the week for me
4. Anna Nordqvist 74-71-73-69-71 -3 T25 (LCLCC) not what she needed--LET-bound?
5. Amy Yang 67-71-70-67-70 -15 2nd (CLLCC) watch out, Ya Ni and Na Yeon!
6. Michelle Wie 69-65-72-68-74 -12 T7 (LCLCC) good for her
7. Stacy Lewis 69-66-71-67-69 -18 1st (CLLCC) good for her
8. Melissa Reid 79-74-65-71-73 +2 T49 (LCCLC) back to the LET for her
9. Alison Walshe 79-72-64-70-77 +2 T49 (LCCLC) at least she has the Futures Tour
10. Mika Miyazato 66-74-72-68-72 -8 T12 (CLLCC) got the job done
11. Martina Eberl 80-68-73-69-72 +2 T49 (LCCLC) back to the LET for her
12. Dewi Claire Schreefel 74-70-74-74 +4 (LCLC) oh, man!
13. Charlotte Mayorkas 75-67-66-69-74 -9 T10 (LCLCC) nice job by the Super Soph
14. Anna Rawson 71-71-68-71-71 -8 T12 (CLLCC) got the job done
15. Tania Elosegui 79-66-71-69-73 -2 T29 (LCLCC) back to the LET for her, except for a few weeks
16. Onnarin Sattayabanphot 70-74-75-73 +4 T79 (CLLC) oh, man!
17. Song Yi Choi 77-71-68-72-76 +6 T65 (LCCLC) at least she has the Futures Tour
18. Hannah Jun 74-70-78-68-73 +3 T54 (CLLCC) at least she has the Futures Tour
19. Carolina Llano 70-70-71-70-70 -9 T10 (LCLCC) got the job done
20. Pornanong Phatlum 75-69-72-71-72 -1 T34 (LCLCC) hopefully gets high status on the Futures Tour, b/c she has about the lowest status you can get on the LPGA

5 of my 1st 10 picks made it, while 3 of my 2nd 10 did. Oh, well, not that horrible.]

[Update 28 (6:15 am): Lisa Mickey covers the playoff.]

[Update 29 (9:27 am): Here's Brent Kelley's overview.]

[Update 30 (8:46 pm): Hound Dog questions many aspects of the playoff for the 21st and 22nd spots from Q-School....]

[Update 31 (12/9/08, 6:00 am): When even Armchair Golfer makes a couple of mistakes--listing only the top 20 and assuming they're all "new" members of the LPGA--you know the tour needs to do some better 'splaining of its system!]

[Update 32 (5:13 pm): Jay Busbee rightly focuses on Lewis's victory.]

[Update 33 (5:55 pm): As does Ron Sirak.]


PW said...

The LPGA really needs to get their act together on things like these qualification rules, the world is watching.

Just imagine the fooferall if one of the two who qualified in the play-off had been Wie. It would make the Rolex rating controversy seem like a minor hiccup.

The Constructivist said...

So true.