Thursday, July 2, 2009

Jamie Farr Classic/Se Ri Pak Shootout Thursday: The Fireworks Are Starting Early, But Paula Creamer's Sitting Them Out

I guess Paula Creamer decided that resting her injured thumb for another week would be the best way to prepare for the U.S. Women's Open, because she's listed as a DNS (Did Not Start) on the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic leaderboard. Too bad for her, as the birdies are coming fast and furious so far in the morning pairings. And Suzann Pettersen just topped everyone by acing the 2nd hole to jump to -4 on her day and pull within 2 shots of the leader, Inbee Park, who seems to always heat up around Open time. The 68 that Shi Hyun Ahn just posted--putting her at -3 at the end of her 1st day on the par-71 Highland Meadows course--will be lucky to nab her a top 30, if early scoring is any indication. More updates coming soon!

[Update 1 (12:41 pm): Nice 67s by rookie Chella Choi, Super Soph Ashleigh Simon, and veterans Beth Bader and Allison Hanna-Williams displace Ahn from her leader-in-the-clubhouse position. She's now T15 with Jin Joo Hong, Senior Standout Hye Jung Choi, and Sung Ah Yim. Pettersen has moved to -5 through 14. Park is -6 through 15.]

[Update 2 (12:50 pm): Lorena Ochoa just doubled the par-4 4th to drop out of a star-studded group at -4 on the course right now, which includes Ji-Yai Shin, Cristie Kerr, Angela Stanford, Morgan Pressel, Helen Alfredsson, Michelle Wie, Laura Diaz, and Na Ri Kim. With the 17th and 18th both being par 5s, those on the back have a great chance to catch Pettersen an Park, who are both -6 with only a few holes on the front left to go. Ah, Kerr has already made her move: she's -5 with the 2 par 5s left to play!]

[Update 3 (12:54 pm): Finishing on the front is definitely tougher: Kim just dropped to -3 after bogeying the par-5 7th, while Reilley Rankin peaked at -5 before bogeying the 4th and 7th. Meanwhile, Diaz, finishing on the back, joined Kerr at -5.]

[Update 4 (12:58 pm): Even Shin just got a bogey on the front, her 1st of the day on the par-4 5th. Now she's tied with such young guns as Ya Ni Tseng and In-Kyung Kim, as well as Anna Nordqvist and Katherine Hull.]

[Update 5 (1:01 pm): Nice to see Jeehae Lee and Jeanne Cho-Hunicke post 69s today. It can't hurt the LPGA to have such brilliant, multilingual knockouts making more cuts.]

[Update 6 (1:05 pm): Also nice to see Pressel bucking the weak-front-9-finish trend and posting a pair of birdies in a row to get to -5. A mid-60s round would be a great way of getting the taste of that soggy closing 44 in Pittsford out of her mouth!]

[Update 7 (1:07 pm): But what the heck is Se Ri Pak doing at E with only the 3 holes on the front left to play?]

[Update 8 (1:54 pm): An eagle on the 17th lifted Diaz to -7, joining Pressel, who's now made it 4 in a row on the front. Pettersen ended up with a 65, Kerr with a rather disappointing 666, as she failed to birdie the 17th or 18th, Park with a 66, thanks to a bogey on the par-3 8th, and Stanford, Alfredsson, Nordqvist, and Na Ri Kim with 67s. Inky has a chance to join or surpass them now that a birdie on 8 got her to -4, as do Lindsey Wright and Meaghan Francella, who have a great chance to make birdies on the 18th. Unfortunately, Ai Miyazato wasn't able to do this; she had to settle for a 69. Shin and Wie are -5 with only the 9th left to play.]

[Update 9 (2:04 pm): Blogger's not letting me publish, so I'll do it when I can and have the updates show up as I would have done them had I been able to all along. In-Kyung Kim ended up with a 67. Wonder what's wrong with Momoko Ueda? She had a pair of consecutive birdies late on the front, but offset them and more with a trio of consecutive bogeys late on the back, then failed to birdie the 17th and salvaged her 71 with a walkoff birdie. The way she was practicing on the weekend after missing the cut at the Wegmans, I thought for sure she would have figured out her swing issues. But she only hit 6 fairways and 10 greens today.]

[Update 10 (2:09 pm): Ah, well, that was a short outage. Feel bad for Becky Lucidi, who followed up her DQ at the Wegmans for missing her Saturday starting time with a 76 today. But how about that 64 by Diaz, 65 by Wie, 66 by Shin and Wright, and 67 by Ochoa? With Francella fading to a 68 and Tseng holdig steady with one of her own, we now have 20 players in the clubhouse who matched Ahn or improved on her. It might take a 67 to make the top 30, if this keeps up!]

[Update 11 (2:11 pm): Missed Kris Tschetter in the list of 67s. She birdied both 17 and 18 to do it and could have finished with 6 in a row if she could have birdied the par-4 16th.

[Update 12 (2:13 pm): Whoops, In-Kyung Kim is now listed at -3. Looks like she failed to birdie 17 or 18, just like Katherine Hull. That makes it 18 at 67 or better and 30 at 68 or better in the clubhouse.]

[Update 13 (2:15 pm): Taking a break from not-quite-live-blogging now. Great 64 by Pressel to join Diaz at the top. Let's see if anyone from the morning groups can surpass them!]

[Update 14 (4:13 pm): Shocked to see that Na Yeon Choi has put herself in danger of missing the 1st cut in her LPGA career; she's +3 through 15 and had better take advantage of those closing par 5s. Also surprised to see Mika Miyazato struggling--she's +4 with 5 to play on the front. Brittany Lang at +1 with only the 8th and 9th ahead of her is another unpleasant surprise. Stacy Lewis is going to need to take advantage of 17 and 18 if she wants to get under par today. Was amazed to see that Kristy McPherson dropped back all the way to E with a weak finish on the front. And Se Ri Pak needed a birdie on the 8th to finish at -1. So not everyone is lighting up Highland Meadows today. But even with the bogey she just made on 16, Song-Hee Kim has a great chance to join Pressel and Diaz at -7. She just needs to play the par 5s well. On the front, Sophie Gustafson, Sarah Lee, and Moira Dunn are -4 with a half-dozen or so holes left to go. We'll see if any finish as strongly as Pressel did.]

[Update 15 (4:40 pm): Kim did it! She shot the 3rd 64 of the day! First she made 4 birdies in a row on the front, then 3 in a row on the back, and she closed with 2!]

[Update 16 (4:46 pm): Lewis did get to -1 in the end. Christina Kim turned her round around with an eagle on 18, followed by a birdie on 1. Let's see if she can keep it going! And finally Jee Young Lee is giving us something to get excited about again. She's at -4 with 17 and 18 left to play, thanks to an eagle on the par-4 3rd and consecutive birdies on the 14th and 15th.]

[Update 17 (5:04 pm): Scoring in the afternoon is definitely more of a challenge. A 68 almost certainly will get you a top 30 (right now it sits at T25), although there are 40 golfers at -3 or better as I write this. But Jelly birdied 17 to get to -5!]

[Update 18 (5:10 pm): 18's my lucky #, so may as well use this update to announce that I'm on Twitter. Got 10 followers already. Watch out, Stewart Cink!]

[Update 19 (5:27 pm): Jelly couldn't birdie the 18th, so had to settle for T6 at 66. That's 10 players in the mid-60s today!]

[Update 20 (6:30 pm): Strong finish by Minea Blomqvist--4 birdies over her last 6 holes, including back-to-back walkoff birdies--to join Jelly and the gang at 66. Unfortunately, Moira followed up her 17th-hole eagle with 4 bogeys on the front to only shoot a 70. She's one of probably 86 players who will have shot under par today (there are a few groups still playing, but I gotta go back to cooking dinner.]

[Update 21 (8:18 pm): OK, before I put the girls to bed, it's worth mentioning that 115 players shot par or better, 65 broke 70, and 68 earned you T26, and 11 made it into the mid-60s. The 10-day forecast for Sylvania, OH, looks amazing. Se Ri Pak's record -23 from 1998 is in serious jeopardy.]

[Update 22 (8:36 pm): Onegai My Melody still isn't over. While you're waiting for Hound Dog's overview, Rusty Miller's day 1 game story for the AP will do ya.]

[Update 23 (8:46 pm): How desperate is the LPGA brass for Michelle Wie to win soon? David Higdon is mentioning her by name as a life preserver for the tour. No pressure, Michelle. OK, bath time!]

[Update 24 (11:11 pm): Great notes and interviews over at Morgan Pressel said a lot of interesting things, but the most interesting was this:

Q. There was some drop off last year in your driving distance, now back up about 10 yards or so. Has that been noticeable for you?

MORGAN PRESSEL: It's actually been great, and it's been bad. It's been both. In one sense, yes I am hitting it further, and getting more shots into the greens, but it's taking me probably about the first half of this year to figure out how far I do hit. It doesn't just affect my driver, but all of my clubs, so distance control is something I have worked hard on, and find out exactly how far my clubs do go.

She also noted her putting was the difference the last few rounds she's played.]

[Update 25 (11:22 pm): Nice piece on Wie and Pressel by Randall Mell, the best of the golfy media when it comes to women's professional golf.]

[Update 26 (11:27 pm): The Toledo Blade got the money quote on Paula Creamer's thumb, from the injured star herself:

"I've felt it for about a month and a half now," Creamer said Wednesday about her thumb. "These last couple events, it's been excruciating."


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