Friday, June 5, 2009

State Farm Classic Friday: Hello...and Goodbye

With 13 players who went under par over their 1st 36 holes at the State Farm Classic not making the cut--including a charging Lisa Strom, who shot a 67 today, but won't be playing on the weekend because of a bogey on the 7th hole, her 16th, and Hall of Famer Karrie Webb, who squandered a mid-round eagle and found out that her walkoff birdie on the tough 9th hole, her last, was still not good enough to make the top 70 and ties--you know you had to be sharp in Springfield. Na Yeon Choi hadn't missed a cut in her LPGA career...and thanks to an eagle on the par-5 16th, she extended her made-cut streak to 38 events.

But many players moved in the wrong direction today, most notably Angela Park (69-80)--whom I had welcomed back yesterday--but also Sandra Gal (69-78), Stacy Lewis (70-77), Laura Davies (69-77), and Lindsey Wright (70-75). Fortunately, everyone else I welcomed back will be playing on the weekend, even Julieta Granada (-2, T60), whose walkoff bogey dropped her right back onto the cut line itself. Unfortunately, the only survivor among the Japanese contingent was Ai Miyazato, and she needed to go -4 over her final 12 holes to do it, including consecutive birdies to end her round on the tough 8th and 9th. Anna Nordqvist joined her at -3 (T47), but topped her finish: she birdied 4 of her last 5 holes on the front. They caught Ya Ni Tseng and Brittany Lang, who dropped 40 spots thanks to indifferent 72s that left them 7 shots behind co-leaders Se Ri Pak (66-68) and Suzann Pettersen (68-66), who haven't yet made a bogey in this tournament.

So who moved up? Say hello to Helen Alfredsson, who dropped a bogey-free 63 on the field to pull within 1 of the lead, leaping into a tie with Kristy McPherson (who shot a bogey-free 66 herself), Moira Dunn (whose bogey-free 66 came courtesy of 4 birdies and an eagle), Kris Tamulis (whose 31 on the front briefly brought her to double digits under par), and 1st-round co-leader Jee Young Lee (who needed an eagle on 16 and a birdie on 17 to avoid losing any more ground). Say hello to Ji-Yai Shin, whose identical finish to Lee's put her alone at -8 (69-67). Say hello to Hall of Famer Juli Inkster, whose bogey-free 65 pulled her into the top 10, 3 shots behind Pak and Pettersen. Say hello to Amy Hung, whose 7-birdie 66 also brought her to -7 for the tournament. And say hello to Angela Stanford (70-67), whose eagle on the 16th did the same.

The fact that Seon Hwa Lee, In-Kyung Kim, Karen Stupples, and Meaghan Francella all went 69-68 kind of gets overshadowed among those fireworks, eh? So what about the rest of the players who shot 68 today? I'll betcha only Michelle Wie's gets play, but Haeji Kang did it to make the cut on the dot, and Jackie Gallagher-Smith and Joo Mi Kim were the only other non-big names among the rest: Katherine Hull, Vicky Hurst, Christina Kim, Ashleigh Simon. Oh, and the 69-69 club includes Cristie Kerr, Hee-Won Han, Morgan Pressel (who's only missed 2 greens all tournament), Amy Yang, Janice Moodie, and Taylor Leon, which means that 17 players who have broken 70 both rounds. With 32 players within 5 shots of the lead--including Eunjung Yi, who fired a 67 today--the weekend should be amazing! Too bad defending champion Ji Young Oh won't be among the 72 players gunning for the win.

[Update 1 (10:30 pm): Here are's notes and interviews.]

[Update 2 (6/6/09, 5:18 pm): Here's Hound Dog!]

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