For a 24-hole stretch, Ai Miyazato was the best golfer in the field at the State Farm Classic. Yesterday I noted that she went -4 over her last 12 holes to make the cut. Today, she made 8 birdies in her 1st 12 holes and kept her bogey-free streak going for 29 holes until she bogeyed the 18th. Her 65 gets her to -10 for the tournament, but will she be within striking distance of the win I predicted for her this week? That depends on how low Cristie Kerr can go over her last few holes. Like Ai-chan, she went -8 over her 1st 15 holes until a late bogey--a bad one, on the par-5 16th that gave up so many eagles yesterday--brought her back to -13. Of course, even if Kerr stalls there, there are still 12 other players with a great chance to finish ahead of both big movers. But some people who have been playing great over the 1st 36 holes are moving in the wrong direction, among them Suzann Pettersen (+2 through 11), Se Ri Pak (+1 through 11), and Moira Dunn (+1 through 12). Pettersen's bogey-free run ended after 40 holes, while Pak made it to 39 and Dunn to 30.
I can't guarantee I'll be able to update this in a timely manner today. We're taking the bus to the airport to Okinawa and I have my doubts my girls will let me see if I can connect via wi fi while we wait for our flight to board. Maybe I'll be able to get on the web again before we have to hit the road....
[Update 1 (5:32 am): Now it's Kristy McPherson with the lead at -13 after Kerr bogeyed her 2nd in a row, this time on the par-3 17th. Kerr's in danger now of "only" shooting what Karine Icher (-8) did, and if she ends with a hat trick of bogeys, she'll fall back to the 67s that Hee Young Park (-9), Sarah Lee (-8), Na Yeon Choi (-7), and Sarah Kemp (-7) shot today. Whoops, in the time it took me to write that, McPherson got to -14. But Ai-chan moved up to T4 when In-Kyung Kim bogeyed the 15th to fall back to -10. Don't look now--Se Ri Pak birdied 2 of her last 3 holes to get back to -10, too! Too bad I really gotta go now!]
[Update 2 (6:36 pm): OK, only thing left for me to do is shower and get dressed. We're all packed and all the morning chores are done. So I have a few seconds to note that Paula Creamer's 31 on the front got her to -9 before a 38 on the back dropped her back into a tie with the likes of Seon Hwa Lee (who shot a 38 of her own on the back), Natalie Gulbis, Amy Yang, and Joo Mi Kim, along with Choi and Kemp. A pair of doubles on the back will make Moira Dunn feel fortunate to join them--she needs to par 17 and 18 to do so. On the bright side, Jee Young Lee, Se Ri Pak, and Suzann Pettersen have battled back to E on the day, Lee by making birdies on 4 of 5 holes on the back, Pak by making those 2 birdies I mentioned before, and Pettersen by making birdies on the 12th and 13th. But they'll all need to finish strong to stay tied at -10 with Miyazato, In-Kyung Kim, and Angela Stanford, as will Alfredsson, who's also -10 with 2 to play. Meanwhile, Shin hangs tough at -11, although she failed to birdie the par-5 16th, and McPherson is 2 ahead of Kerr with 2 to play.]
[Update 3 (6:45 pm): Amy Hung birdied the last hole to get to -10, as well. But she came 1 shot shy of breaking 70 for the 3rd straight day. Of the 17 players with a chance to accomplish this feat, it's looking like only McPherson, Kerr, IK Kim, and Shin will do it. By the way, is Shin the only player to hit more fairways than greens this week? Oh, and McPherson just bogeyed 17 to fall back to -13! So did Moira, darn it. She's now tied with fellow NYer Meaghan Francella at -6. Shutting down now....]
[Update 4 (6/7/09, 4:48 pm): Saw on Japanese news that McPherson had fallen back to -12 with Kerr, so didn't check LPGA.com again. Good thing I missed the 3rd double Moira made on the back.... But wouldn't it be cool for Ai-chan to win while we're in Okinawa?]