Friday, February 13, 2009

SBS Open Thursday: Game On!

How good were the opening rounds at the SBS Open by Angela Stanford (bogey-free 65), Ya Ni Tseng (7-birdie 66), Michelle Wie (8-birdie 66), Kyeong Bae (bogey-free 67), and Momoko Ueda (5-birdie, 1-eagle 68)? Well, you could check the Golf Channel highlights, but then you'd see nothing of Stanford's 17-green-in-regulation round, 1 chip from Tseng's, a mention of Bae, and nothing on Ueda. (Don't even get me started on their decision to leave Ji-Yai Shin out of their "different paths to the LPGA" rookies feature or to show a bomb from Morgan Pressel on an otherwise indifferent day when Paula Creamer finished birdie-eagle for her 70!) So if like me you don't have Golf Channel, you're reduced to scoreboard watching to put their rounds in context.

The best measure for me of how good this quintet played yesterday was the number of players who looked like they were going to put together special rounds but couldn't. Wie's putter was clearly on fire (24 putts with only 12 greens in regulation) and all the other leaders putted almost as well as she did, but after Ueda bogeyed 2 straight holes after getting to -5, I thought she was going to be my case study of how Turtle Bay can get ya. Thanks to her final-hole birdie on the 9th, though, I'll pass over Juli Inkster's 6-birdie 69 and Silvia Cavalleri's 6-birdie 71 and instead pick on Laura Diaz, who opened with a bogey-free 32 but needed a final-hole birdie to salvage a 70. But Diaz was by no means alone: Lindsey Wright had late bogeys on each side to drop her back to -2, Jee Young Lee matched Ueda's eagle on the par-5 3rd but fell from -4 to -1 over the next 5 holes before ending her day with a par on the 9th, Shin twice got to -2, but both times fell back with pairs of bunched bogeys, Meaghan Francella was -2 through her 1st 5 holes but stumbled to E by the end of her round, and Eun-Hee Ji was -3 with 6 to play but ended up with a 73.

In a similar vein, but less dramatically, Ai Miyazato fought back to -1 through 8 with back-to-back birdies, but lost her momentum with back-to-back bogeys on the front before salvaging a 72 with a final-hole birdie on the 9th. (Rookie Mika Miyazato, meanwhile, bounced back from an opening-hole bogey with 3 birdies between the 9th and 13th to post a 70, tied with Vicky Hurst, who made a similar recovery, and 1 shot better than Stacy Lewis and Shiho Oyama. These rookies are good!)

Another measure of how tough the conditions were yesterday is how very many huge numbers were made out there: Stephanie Louden was -1 and bogey-free until the 18th, when she made a snowman, Christina Kim's and Se Ri Pak's came on the par-5 12th, Sun Young Yoo made a triple on her 2nd hole of the day, the par-4 11th, as did Janell Howland, Pat Hurst followed up her eagle on the 3rd with a triple on the 4th, Russy Gulyanamitta, Julieta Granada, and Amy Hung tripled the par-4 7th, Ha Neul Kim tripled the par-4 2nd, and Young Jo made the rare double triple (and narrowly avoided an additional triple double).

They've kept the same threesomes together for the 2nd of 3 rounds, so we could have someone struggling to make their 1st cut of the season playing right alongside someone fighting for their 1st win of '09! Should be fun. Time for me to go out and buy a lottery ticket so we can afford cable this year!

Before I go, though, I want to welcome Jamie Saengsawang to the round-by-round commentary club. With him and Hound Dog doing overviews, it frees me up to follow through on my own quirky interests. Thanks, guys. Fun to be talking about golf again, isn't it?

[Update 1 (6:36 am): Yes! Jaymes Song is on the AP beat!]

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