Michelle Wie had taken a 3-shot lead over Angela Stanford after 10 holes in the final round of the SBS Open, but a rookie double bogey on the par-4 11th opened the door and the veteran came storming through it with 3 consecutive birdies on the 13th, 14th, and 15th holes. By the time Wie had missed a short birdie putt on the 16th and bogeyed the par-4 17th hole, she and Stanford had reversed positions completely. Big win for the hottest player on the planet and a good result for Wie, despite getting left in the dust in that 7-hole stretch.
This really was a 2-golfer race to the finish, but a similar 6-shot swing--this time over their final 16 holes--put Na Yeon Choi (69) and Angela Park (75) in a tie for 3rd, 3 shots behind Wie (Choi even birdied the same 3 holes in a row as Stanford). And Ya Ni Tseng needed birdies over 3 of her last 5 holes to catch Ai Miyazato in a tie for 5th, 1 shot further back.
Meanwhile, a bogey-free 69 by Cristie Kerr and a roller-coaster 69 by Sarah Lee vaulted them into the top 10 (and impressed Golf Girl's friends, no doubt), tied with Brittany Lang at -2. And Natalie Gulbis and Eun-Hee Ji caught Jee Young Lee and Taylor Leon as the only other golfers to remain under par for the entire tournament and round out the top 10. Unfortunately for my hopes in the season's first Pakpicker competition at Seoul Sisters.com, Paula Creamer and Johanna Mundy finished 1 shot out of that tie, while Stacy Lewis's 76 dropped her to T20 with Momoko Ueda (78), Hee-Won Han (72), and Stephanie Louden (69) and In-Kyung Kim and Lindsey Wright continued their bad play from yesterday.
Even though they didn't get top 10s, I was happy to see Hee Kyung Seo, Candie Kung, and Vicky Hurst join Creamer and Mundy at T15. With her dual membership on the KLPGA and LET this season, Seo looks to be gearing up for LPGA Q-School in December. And despite Ha Neul Kim's disastrous rounds in Hawaii, I expect her to be duelling with So Yeon Ryu, Hye Yong Choi, Hye Yoon Kim, and Seo all season on the KLPGA. Speaking of Choi and Kim, both are in contention in the final round of the Australian Women's Open, on which more in a sec.
With the scoring so high this week, it's hard to get excited about top 30s by Laura Diaz, Morgan Pressel (thanks to a bogey-free 70 today), Kyeong Bae, and Meaghan Francella or top 40s by Grace Park, Suzann Pettersen, Juli Inkster, Meena Lee, Nicole Castrale, and Moira Dunn--and the barely-top-50 finishes by Allison Fouch, Christina Kim, Shiho Oyama, and Shanshan Feng were not at all inspiring (not to speak of worse results by Mika Miyazato, Anna Nordqvist, Katie Futcher, Louise Stahle, Stacy Prammanasudh, Linda Wessberg, and Aree Song)--but one tournament does not a season make. Making the cut in Hawaii's windy conditions is nothing to sneeze at, as Mollie Fankhauser and Haeji Kang, who decided to fly to Hawaii rather than keep up their good play in Australia this week--and missed the cut by a stroke for their troubles--can testify.
Back soon with linkage for ya!
[Update 1 (11:21 am): Looks like Hound Dog beat LPGA.com, too! I've said it before but I'll say it again: his final-round play-by-play can't be beat.]
[Update 2 (11:27 pm): Ah, here's LPGA.com's notes and interviews!]
[Update 3 (2/15/09, 12:03 am): Jaymes Song does it again! Give this guy a regular job, AP!]
[Updaye 4 (12:09 am): Nice job by Brian Hewitt and the Shag Bag Blog crew at GC. Here's hoping their highlights are halfway decent.]
[Update 5 (12:15 am): Hey, Charlie Hanger at Press Tent Blog live-blogged Wie's final round. He manages to get in a few notes on Ueda, Park, and, oh yeah, Stanford, too, along the way.]
[Update 6 (12:43 am): OK, granted, he focuses on Wie and cracks a joke about Bivens's corporate-speak, but I haven't heard Geoff Shackelford sound this impressed about the LPGA since the ADT Championship last year.]
[Update 7 (2:05 am): Golf Channel comes through with highlights, analysis, and more (and better) analysis.]
[Update 8 (11:11 am): Here's Hound Dog's epilogue!]
[Update 9 (2/16/09, 2:34 pm): Nice Colbert reference by Ron Sirak in his Wie piece. But it would have behooved him to have reminded his readers that Stanford had her own Sunday demons to overcome last season--she let one get away early in the year--and only broke through with her winning tear after years of "almosts" of her own. And that many other top-notch rookies had trouble this week, either on Saturday or earlier. And that Wie beat Kerr, Creamer, and Pettersen by a lot....]
[Update 10 (2/20/09, 12:17 am): Stanford's win has Bill Jempty wondering about 2 of his preseason predictions. I think it's safe to say he and I both underranked Stanford.]