Sunday, May 24, 2009

Corning Classic Friday and Saturday: Shootout at the OK Corning!

My apologies for the corny title to this post--jet lag'll do that to ya. If I had done my research, I would have been able to see the fireworks at the Corning Classic on Japanese TV at 4:30 this morning in Chiba. It's not like we were sleeping or anything at that time--and the girls would have been a whole lot quieter had they had something to watch instead of resorting to the "let's wake up mom and dad so they'll play with us" game. Oh, well, tomorrow then! And what a treat we'll be getting, with Japan's own Mika Miyazato a co-leader heading into the final round after her 62 pulled her even with Soo-Yun Kang at -17. Kang's putter is the only thing keeping her ahead of the rest of the field--with only 17 fairways hit and only 77 putts taken, she must be making everything she's been looking at.

But with 22 golfers within 5 shots of the co-leaders and 34 already double digits under par, I don't see someone with as shaky a driver as Kang walking away with the final title to be taken at the Corning. Same goes for Ya Ni Tseng, who saw Miyazato's pair of 30s on the front the last 2 days and raised them with a 28 to stay within 1 of her, as well as Minea Blomqvist and Vicky Hurst. No, I think someone who's been hitting the ball well but not necessarily putting all that great over the 1st 54 holes will make a charge from back in the pack when those putts finally start to drop on Sunday. Will it be Katherine Hull (-14, 88 putts)? Or Seon Hwa Lee (-14, 89 putts)? Or Ai Miyazato (-13, 90 putts)? Or Paula Creamer (-13, 92 putts)? Or In-Kyung Kim (-13, 93 putts)? Or Suzann Pettersen (-13, 94 putts)? Or Cristie Kerr (-12, 91 putts)? I don't know about you, but as much as I love Ai-chan, I'd be overjoyed to see Mi Hyun Kim (-12, 95 putts) shoot her 4th straight round in the 60s and put herself in contention!

Hound Dog wonders if the tournament organizers wanted the Corning to go out with a bang. I'd say the pin placements will be tougher for the final round, so we won't see as many low scores as we have the 1st 3 days, but there's only so much they can do when the weather is perfect and there are a lot of people playing well. Look for the winning score to be right around -20, if not a couple of shots lower. I hope Golf Channel has their cameras out early to follow the Se Ri Pak-Michelle Wie pairing! But they'll have a lot of ground to cover keeping track of the last 10 groups:

Start Time: 11:40 AM
Meredith Duncan
Mi Hyun Kim

Start Time: 11:48 AM
Cristie Kerr
Natalie Gulbis

Start Time: 11:56 AM
Suzann Pettersen
Hee-Won Han

Start Time: 12:04 PM
Paula Creamer
Lindsey Wright

Start Time: 12:20 PM
Ai Miyazato
In-Kyung Kim

Start Time: 12:28 PM
Na Yeon Choi
Sandra Gal

Start Time: 12:36 PM
Mikaela Parmlid
Seon Hwa Lee

Start Time: 12:44 PM
Vicky Hurst
Katherine Hull

Start Time: 12:52 PM
Ya Ni Tseng
Minea Blomqvist

Start Time: 1:00 PM
Mika Miyazato
Soo-Yun Kang


[Update 1 (6:07 am): Never mind Jeff Skinner's transposing Kang's and Miyazato's names early in his last update; he has great details on many of Saturday's low rounds!]

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