Friday, February 27, 2009

Honda LPGA Thailand Friday: Hee Young Park Fires Bogey-Free 64

It's been a day for redemption for many golfers looking to scrape the last of the early-season rust off their games thus far in the 2nd round of the Honda LPGA Thailand tournament. Hee Young Park lead the way with a bogey-free 64--a 15-shot improvement over yesterday's round--but plenty of players joined in the fun.

Second-ranked Junior Mint Eun-Hee Ji's bogey-free 67 represented a more modest 6-shot improvement, but brought her squarely into the top 10 at -4--and rookie Mika Miyazato followed suit a few minutes later. Ji-Yai Shin's bogey-free 69 was also 6 shots better than her opening round and hopefully signals the return of her health and her game. Shanshan Feng again was +1 over her final 5 holes, but her 70 today was also 6 better than yesterday's results.

Even with her 2nd straight bogey on her final hole, Laura Diaz can take satisfaction in a 5-shot improvement from Thursday to Friday, while fellow favorite to make the Solheim Cup Stacy Prammanasudh looks to be back on track after a 5-shot improvement of her own, complete with an early eagle and a walk-off birdie. Not too long after they posted their scores, Minea Blomqvist used 3 birdies in her last 5 holes to carve 5 strokes off her first-round score, as well.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg--there were plenty of 3-to-4 shot swings for the better (plus Jimin Kang improved from 79 to 71). Not everyone took advantage of the seemingly easier scoring conditions today, of course. Just scroll down to the bottom of the leaderboard and check out what's been happening to Juli Inkster and Christina Kim, for instance. But let's accentuate the positive right now.

I'm also not going to comment on anyone still out on the course, given how virulent the Mostly Harmless jinx can be, but let's just say that there are some interesting, if smaller, moves going on at or near the top of the leaderboard right now. And that fans of American golfers may be pretty happy at the end of the day (or, rather, the start of ours). More later!

[Update 1 (3:28 am): How the heck did Katherine Hull make a 9 on the 18th?]

[Update 2 (3:35 am): Nice little walk-off birdie--her 4th of the back--vaults Ai Miyazato into the logjam at -3--and keeps her streak of just missing breaking 70 alive in 2009.]

[Update 3 (3:40 am): In the you-can't-jinx-'em-if-they've-already-screwed-up file, consider, if you will, the strange case of Nicole Castrale, who bogeyed the 1st hole of the tournament, made 6 birdies and no bogeys over her next 30 holes, climbing near the lead in the process, and kept her bogey-free streak alive by triple bogeying the par-4 14th hole. Makes Na Yeon Choi's walk-off double seem not quite as painful now, eh?]

[Update 4 (3:43 am): Here's a little secret...Lorena Ochoa is a pretty good golfer. Her walk-off birdie lifts her to -4 and keeps her right in the mix, even if the 3 Americans ahead of her turn out to be able to widen the gap over the last few holes.]

[Update 5 (8:42 am): Nice moves by Morgan Pressel and Brittany Lang, eh? Still, a 3-shot lead on Ochoa heading into the weekend--not to mention 2 on Paula Creamer and 2 and Angela Stanford--can't feel all that safe to Lang, particularly since the clock is ticking on her 36-hole bogey-free streak.]

[Update 6 (4:36 pm): Here's Hound Dog's round 2 overview. And here's's!]

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