Saturday, February 7, 2009

ANZ Ladies Masters Saturday: Hull Takes Charge

Katherine Hull broke 70 for the 3rd straight round on moving day in the ANZ Ladies Masters, shooting a 68 on the strength of her 3rd straight 33 on the back 9 and opening up a 3-shot lead on the JLPGA's Tamie Durdin (66) and a 4-shot lead on the LPGA's Mollie Fankhauser (68). Many of yesterday's leaders moved in the wrong direction today--Kristie Smith's 75 dropped her 6 shots back, T4 at -6, Nikki Campbell's 78 dropped her to T15 at -4 (as did Ursula Wikstrom's 75 and Alison Walshe's 73), Lee-Anne Pace's 76 dropped her to T22 at -3. And some of Hull's biggest threats didn't make much of a move, if any: Ji-Yai Shin's 72 left her 6 back, tied with So Yeon Ryu (71), Becky Brewerton (70), and Sarah Kemp (69); Gwladys Nocera's 69 did move her into the big group at T15, but it was only Linda Wessberg (67) among them who made up ground on Hull, not Ai Miyazato or Anna Rawson, both of whom went under par for the 3rd time in a row without breaking 70; similarly, Ya Ni Tseng's and Karrie Webb's 69s helped them make up ground on the field but not on the leader.

Here's the bigger picture:

1st/-12 Katherine Hull (69-67-68)
2nd/-9 Tamie Durdin (70-71-66)
3rd/-8 Mollie Fankhauser (70-70-68)
T4/-6 Sarah Kemp (73-68-69), Becky Brewerton (67-73-70), So Yeon Ryu (71-68-71), Ji-Yai Shin (69-69-72), Kristie Smith (73-62-75)
T9/-5 Linda Wessberg (72-72-67), Gwladys Nocera (69-73-69), Ai Miyazato (71-70-70), Anna Rawson (71-70-70), Cherie Byrnes (69-71-71), Marianne Skarpnord (67-72-72)

T15/-4 Ya Ni Tseng (71-72-69), Karrie Webb (70-73-69), Titiya Plucksataporn (74-68-70), Lindsey Wright (71-70-71), Alison Walshe (69-70-73), Ursula Wikstrom (68-69-75), Nikki Campbell (69-65-78)
T22/-3 Nikki Garrett (72-70-71), Hee Kyung Seo (72-69-72), Haeji Kang (69-72-72), Beth Allen (69-72-72), Beatriz Recari (73-67-73), Samantha Head (70-70-73), Aram Cho (72-68-73), Frances Bondad (70-70-73), Rebecca Flood (69-69-75), Lee-Ann Pace (67-70-76)
T33/-2 Trish Johnson (75-70-69), Anne-Lise Caudal (72-72-70), Rachel Hetherington (70-73-71), Bo Bae Park (71-72-71)
T37/-1 Wendy Doolan (73-73-69), Diana D'Alessio (72-73-70), He Yong Choi (70-74-71), Nina Reis (75-68-72), Melissa Reid (74-69-72), Il-Hee Lee (67-74-74), Stephanie Na (72-69-74), Carmen Alonso (68-71-76)
T47/E Tania Elosegui (74-70-72)
T50/+1 Laura Davies (79-67-71), Rebecca Hudson (72-74-71), Smriti Mehra (73-69-75)
T58/+2 Sarah-Jane Smith (73-72-73), Lorie Kane (71-72-75), Sarah Oh (70-72-76)
T65/+3 Beth Bader (73-73-73)
T69/+4 Bettina Hauert (76-70-74), Christel Boeljon (72-74-74), Lotta Wahlin (71-75-75)

So this is definitely Hull's tournament to lose. Those chasing her will need both fantastic rounds of their own and a lot of help from the woman making her bid to become Australia's best women golfer.

I'm interested in seeing how hard those 6 back and more push tomorrow. Looks like Miyazato decided to be aggressive today, but all she had to show for it after 7 holes was a double bogey; good for her she birdied the 9th and got on a 4-hole birdie train on the back, but too bad for that final-hole bogey. Will she come out conservative and try to avoid today's 38 on the front, or will she try to pick up where she left off on her sizzling 32 on the back? I suspect the latter: she knows that to win on the LPGA she's going to have to go low more regularly and make a lot of birdies, so why not go for broke in an early test of her game? Rawson, on the other hand, seems to be continuing with the more conservative game that served her so well in Q-School. She's clearly in confidence-building mode, so I don't expect her to try to make a run tomorrow and potentially jeopardize her progress only a few days before her full-time LPGA debut. Given how badly those unfamilar with the top of the leaderboard in international events played today, I don't hold out much hope for those with similar experience making a big run at Hull tomorrow, either.

Perhaps the most interesting question mark is Shin: having made almost as many bogeys this week (7) as birdies in the pro-am alone (8), will she focus on tightening up the looser aspects of her game or keep taking risks in an effort to make a final-round charge? Again, I suspect the latter. Even if she can't catch Hull, finishing ahead of Tseng, Webb, Nocera, and Miyazato would be a big deal for her heading into Hawaii.

[Update 1 (8:00 am): Here are various perspectives on the potential Hull-Durdin showdown tomorrow. Weird that Shin got sick (numbness in hands) after Friday's round just like Tseng did before Thursday's (food poisoning), isn't it?]

[Update 2 (8:22 am): By the way, I think The Florida Masochist is 95% on target in his critique of the media controversy over Anna Rawson's recent statements on how women's golf is perceived and represented. It's pretty opportunistic of the media to turn her critique of them into an interrogation of her. Yes, she could have done more than say "you know" to make her implied quotation marks more explicit. Or she could have chosen more neutral language. But even in the snippets posted at, say, Shackelford's place, her original intent is fairly clear:

"The tour has got so much better with so many young stars and great players," Rawson told [an Australian] radio station in an interview arranged by her father Jim.

"But the mentality unfortunately amongst the media and the industry hasn't changed.

"They still think we're at 25 years ago when the tour was full of, you know, a lot of dykes and unattractive females nobody wanted to watch."

True, as an attractive straight female pro golfer, Rawson set herself up for the media backlash, but it's too bad her criticism of the "mentality...amongst the media and the industry" is getting lost in the rush to condemn her of homophobia and lack of respect for her elders. The quality of competition in the world of women's golf has gotten "so much better" in the past quarter-century; there are many "young stars" ready to challenge the "great players"; those stereotypes about the sexuality and beauty of the golfers on the LPGA did exist (despite the Jan Stephensons and Sally Littles on tour).

The not-so-subtle subtext in this media tempest is a defense of Karrie Webb. I'm glad to see the Australian media rallying around their living legend now. It sure would have been nice for her to have gotten that kind of support and acceptance her entire career, instead of having to spend a good part of it closeted and then deal with the aftermath of being outed.]

[Update 3 (8:35 am): Check the debate on Rawson's words at Waggle Room.]

[Update 4 (10:43 am): There's more on reference and use--and the Rawson controversy--over at my academic blog.]

[Update 5 (10:46 am): Here's Ed's defense of Rawson, which takes this exactly where I predicted it would go.]


sag said...

Concerning the use/mention distinction, I have to disagree and instead come down on the side of use.

Rawson said: "The tour has got much better with so many young stars and great players. But the mentality, unfortunately, among the media and the industry hasn't changed. They still think we're like 25 years ago, you know, when the tour was full of dykes and unattractive females nobody wanted to watch. It's totally changed, but they still won't give us TV time."

What does she mean when she says "It's totally changed"? Just two sentences earlier she said that the mentality of the media and industry hasn't changed, so she can't mean mentality, opinion, perspective, or anything like that.

It's clear to me that she can only mean that the facts on the ground have changed (i.e. the set of players has changed) and that the media and industry mentality ought to change to reflect the new reality. She isn't treating her statement about the conditions of 25 years ago as her own opinion or anyone else's opinion--she's treating it as if it were simply common knowledge.

So now her use of the word "dykes" isn't a quote of anyone else but rather a description of what she sees as being the prior reality. To Rawson, lesbians (or at least butch lesbians) are "dykes." That's problem number one. Number two is her implication that today's "young stars and great players" (i.e. pretty heterosexuals) ought to get more TV time than the "dykes and unattractive females nobody wanted to watch" of yesteryear. I can see how she's trying to praise today's players, but I can't see her pulling it off without disrespecting her elders.

I'm left wondering whether Miss Rawson considers herself one of the "young stars." If so, I've got news for her--I'd rather watch a champion like Patty Sheehan in her prime 25 years ago than watch some beanpole ranked #189.

The Constructivist said...

Like you said, the key question is, what is her "it" referring to in her "it's totally changed"? I see how you could conclude that she means "the tour" becoming mre hetero and more attractive than in the past, but don't see why that has to be the only reading. Why couldn't she simply have meant to say something like, "The LPGA's reality today is totally different than the media and industry's mistaken perception of the '80s"?

Second, you put words in her mouth when you equate her "young stars and great players" with your "pretty homosexuals." Why can't great players refer to Karrie Webb, Se Ri Pak, and the other veterans and mid-career elites who came of age in the Sorenstam Era, while young stars would then refer to the top players from Paula Creamer's class to the present? The disrespect to the pre-Sorenstam Era players--and to her more experienced peers and betters--would then be at least mitigated and possibly dispelled entirely.

Like it or not, the media and the LPGA have helped make Rawson a star, just like Wie, Gulbis, Lincicome, Castrale, and other young players who haven't shown the ability to remain at elite levels for extended lengths of time just yet. So as self-serving as her comment sounds, I don't think she's wrong to consider herself in that category (if, indeed, she is).

That said, even with her improved play since Q-School, she's got a long way to go before she's even close to any of the top '80s stars, much less the top 80 on the current LPGA.