Park was the only golfer in the field to break 70 all day--even Ai Miyazato, who opened with an eagle on her way to a bogey-free 31 on the front (her 1st 9), and Michelle Wie, who got on a 3-hole birdie train early on the front (her 2nd 9), couldn't walk away with a round in the 60s. Nor could Angela Stanford, although she did extend her bogey-free streak to 36 holes and tie Wie for the halfway lead at -8. In fact, it'll be a feat if more than 12 players go under par in their rounds today. Much more typical were struggles by the likes of Cristie Kerr, Hee-Won Han, and Moira Dunn (5 shots worse than yesterday), Juli Inkster, Laura Diaz, and Stacy Prammanasudh (6 shots worse), Silvia Cavalleri (7 shots), Lorie Kane, Shiho Oyama, and Alena Sharp (8), Ya Ni Tseng, Teresa Lu, and Jimin Kang (9), and In-Kyung Kim, Lindsey Wright, and Audra Burks (10). (Plus, Taylor Leon, Kyeong Bae, and Mika Miyazato are still suffering through their rounds as I write.) And that's just the players who made the cut! Take a look at Jeanne Cho-Hunicke's Jekyll and Hyde performance--I dare you! I'll be taking arguments over who had a more disappointing season opener, Ji-Yai Shin or Amy Yang, in comments, along with your most agonizing missed cut candidates (right now it's looking like +6 will be the magic number, but it's been rising all day).
In light of this widespread carnage, Park's 68 looks like a miracle. But then she has a good history at this tournament in her brief career--although she'll have some serious demons to confront tomorrow, a year after her slow-play penalty not only helped cost her a chance at her 1st career LPGA win but, even worse, got her 1st half of the season off on the wrong foot. Being in the final group with Stanford and Wie will be another great learning experience for her. After all, until the former went on one of the hottest of hot streaks of 2008, she had a reputation for struggling on Sundays when she was in contention. And the latter is notorious for going winless since she was in diapers, or something like that.
I'm assuming Momoko Ueda will be paired with Stacy Lewis and Vicky Hurst tomorrow, and Ai Miyazato with Ya Ni Tseng and Brittany Lang. That's a lot of players looking for their 1st official win as an LPGA member, as Ueda won as a non-member and Lewis's amateur win was an unofficial rain-shortened one--and the only one who has one already, Tseng, had 5 silvers and 2 bronzes in her own rookie campaign to go with her playoff win over Maria Hjorth.
I'm thinking anything at all can happen
[Update 1 (2/14/09, 9:22 am): Here's Hound Dog!]
[Update 2 (9:50 am): The LPGA.com notes are much better written than last season's. Now if only the interviewers would come up with better questions!]
[Update 3 (9:55 am): Good AP story, too.]
[Update 4 (10:55 am): Golf Channel highlights rightly focus on Wie's putting tightening up over her last 3 holes. If she's no longer on fire with the short stick today, what kind of number will she be able to put up? But as usual they have their major brain farts, like nothing on Angela Park or Vicky Hurst.... Come on, people!]