Nothing against Brittany Lincicome, but she's not the kind of player I imagined would be leading the Sybase Classic at any point in the tournament, much less after 36 holes of bogey-free golf. Sure, she outduelled Cristie Kerr and Kristy McPherson in the LPGA's 1st major of 2009 and she went super-low on Thursday, but if anyone among the leaders was going to come back to the field in a big way, I expected it to be her, not Helen Alfredsson, who took 14 more strokes yesterday to get around Upper Montclair Country Club than the day before. But, no, both the scoreboard and the interviews page confirm it: Lincicome is one of only 2 golfers in the entire field to break 70 both times out and at -11 she's 2 shots up on the other player, Ji Young Oh, and Suzann Pettersen, who just missed joining them. With scoring conditions getting more difficult, the only other player within 5 shots of Lincicome's lead is Wendy Doolan, who caught Alfredsson on the strength of the 2nd-best round of the day, a bogey-free 68.
That's not to say the rest of the field was stuck in neutral. Song-Hee Kim fired the best round of the day, a 6-birdie 67 that could have gone either way--after an opening bogey-free 32, she double bogeyed the par-4 10th but bounced right back with an eagle on the par-5 11th--to lead a quartet of fine golfers who shot 69s yesterday to join her at -5 (Paula Creamer, Karrie Webb, Michelle Wie, and Sandra Gal, all of whom made charges on their back 9s to get there). They're no relation, but Okinawan sensations Ai Miyazato and Mika Miyazato acted like twins, bogeying their last hole, the tough par-4 9th, to botch their bids to match Kim's score. So they had to settle for T17 at -3, 1 shot behind Candie Kung, Moira Dunn, and Becky Morgan, whose 69s pulled them even with Ji-Yai Shin, Jee Young Lee, and Katherine Hull, 7 shots behind Lincicome. Bottom line: it's not like this is going to be a 3-golfer race over the last 36 holes.
Particularly with the weather forecast for the weekend rather shaky, those players with earlier starting times Saturday and later ones Sunday may have an advantage. So moving day takes on added importance for Lorena Ochoa (9:40 am), Angela Stanford (9:20 am), Brittany Lang (9:30 am), Ya Ni Tseng (9:50 am), and In-Kyung Kim (10:00 am), who, along with their playing partners, have a great chance to finish their rounds before any afternoon precipitation may roll in. If even Ochoa could come back to the field so quickly last weekend, who's to say who the 54-hole leader, much less the winner, will be?
Well, we do know who can't win: Seon Hwa Lee missed only the 6th cut of her career, while Shiho Oyama has to feel even worse, having finished bogey-bogey to also miss the cut by a single stroke. Joining them on the wrong side of the cut line were a host of players you'd expect to be in the top 30: Sun Young Yoo, Kristy McPherson, Nicole Castrale and Meena Lee also missed it by 1 shot; Lindsey Wright, Mi Hyun Kim, Sophie Gustafson, Maria Hjorth, Stacy Prammanasudh, and Shi Hyun Ahn missed it by 2; and Pat Hurst, Inbee Park, Morgan Pressel, Shanshan Feng, Amy Yang, Karen Stupples, and Laura Diaz missed it by more. Yikes!
[Update 1 (1:55 am): Hound Dog believes those going off early Saturday will need to go low both rounds on the weekend to reel the leaders in. I think it could just take 1 low and 1 good round. We'll see who's right!]
[Update 2 (2:10 am): Golf Girl was there Friday and opens with a few fashion shots.]
[Update 3 (2:18 am): For a different flavor of on-site commentary, check out wedgeplayer on the 1st 2 rounds and PHILK_NJ on the pro-am, both at Seoul Sisters.com.]