Friday, July 10, 2009

U.S. Women's Open Friday: Hanging On

Scoring remains high at the U.S. Women's Open today, with only Teresa Lu (69) and Lindsey Wright (70) breaking par among those going out in the morning pairings--and only Yuri Fudoh, Suzann Pettersen, Sandra Gal, and Jimin Kang shooting par. The low players from the morning remain Na Yeon Choi, who shot a 74 to fall back to E (T6 right now), and Alexis Thompson, whose 73 allowed Fudoh and Wright to catch her at +2 (T15 right now). Back with more later.

[Update 1 (2:13 pm): Add Inbee Park to the list of 71s today. And add Naree Song, Pat Hurst, Jee Young Lee, and Minea Blomqvist to the list of WDs. Either there are an unusual number of injuries this week, or an unusual number of humiliating holes.]

[Update 2 (2:20 pm): As commenter Pyoung noted, Ji-Yai Shin dropped to +5 after a 75 that seems due mostly to her putter cooling off from yesterday. But she had an uninspired start to the HSBC Women's Champions and poured it on for the win on the weekend. Plus, she'll probably have fewer strokes to make up here than there. So let's not count her out just yet.]

[Update 3 (5:55 pm): I'm amazed that Brittany Lincicome is hanging tough at +2 (T9 right now) after her 2nd straight 72. Kristy McPherson (74) and Meaghan Francella (72) join Pettersen and Lu at +3 (T16). Jennifer Song (74) and Maria Hernandez (72) join Gal, Inbee Park, and Young Kim (75) at +4 (T24). Laura Davies (75) joins Shin and Kang at +5 (T34).]

[Update 4 (6:03 pm): Cristie Kerr is singlehandedly trying to thin the field. For a while, it looked like the 10-shot rule was going to let over 100 golfers into the weekend, but after 3 birdies in a row on the back and 2 straight on the front to more than offset her bogeys, she's -2 on her day and -4 for the tournament with 8 and 9 left to play. Close behind her is the top Futures Tour player of 2009, Jean Reynolds, who's -2 for the tournament with 4 holes on the front left to play. Right behind her is a trio at -1, Paula Creamer (-2 today with 17 and 18 left to play), Eun-Hee Ji (-1 today with 3 to go on the back), and Hee Young Park (E today with 3 left to play on the front). Guilia Sergas has fought back to E for the tournament and is -4 on her day with 4 left to play. So there are definitely some great rounds out there.]

[Update 5 (6:11 pm): Whoops, Kerr bogeyed 8 to fall back to -3. But that won't save the big group at +9 that includes Juli Inkster, He Yong Choi, Amanda Blumenherst, Jennie Lee, Maria Jose Uribe, Candace Schepperle, and Stacy Lewis (who's playing 9 now), unless she and Reynolds fall back to -1 at the end of the day.]

[Update 6 (6:20 pm): They probably have better odds of making the cut if they can move within the top 60. For that to happen, Cindy LaCrosse (+3 through 12, +8 overall), Mika Miyazato (+4 through 16 today, +8 overall), Ai Miyazato (+4 through 17, +7 overall), Haeji Kang (+5 through 14, +7 overall), Lorena Ochoa (+8 through 17, +6 overall), Allison Fouch (+2 through 15, +6 overall), and Ji-Hee Lee (E through 14, +6 overall) have to play badly enough down the stretch to also fall back to +9 or worse.]

[Update 7 (6:27 pm): Beyond help, though, are Se Ri Pak (77, +11), Jane Park (74, +12), Sophie Gustafson (73, +12), Jeong Jang (78, +13), Shiho Oyama (79, +15), Hee-Won Han (79, +15), Angela Park (82, +17), and Alison Walshe (84, +21). And it's pretty much guaranteed that Angela Stanford (+11 with 1 left to play), Gwladys Nocera (+11 with 2 to go), Katherine Hull (+13 with 1 left), and Ya Ni Tseng (+14 with 1 left) will join them.]

[Update 8 (6:32 pm): Back to the top: Creamer birdied the tough 18th to shoot a 68 and finish at -2 for the 1st 36 holes. Hee Young Park has bogeyed her 2nd in a row to go to +1 for the round and E for the tournament. Eun-Hee Ji doubled 17 to fall back to +1 today and for the tournament. In-Kyung Kim shot her 2nd straight 72 to finish at +2 at the halfway point.]

[Update 9 (6:34 pm): It's looking more and more like the cut will be at +9. Mika Miyazato and Cindy LaCrosse have already joined the club. Just one more person has to stumble down the stretch to bring +9 to T60....]

[Update 10 (6:36 pm): Kerr is the only person to break par both rounds, and if it weren't for that bogey on 8, she would have broken 70 twice, as well. As it is, her 70 puts her at -3, 1 shot ahead of Creamer at the halfway point. So much for the decline and fall of American golf thesis, eh?]

[Update 11 (6:39 pm): Hee Young Park has now made it 3 bogeys in a row. She's tied with Ji (who finished with a 72 today) at +1. Song-Hee Kim could join them if she birdies the 9th for a 69....]

[Update 12 (6:40 pm): Guilia Sergas is now -5 on her day and -1 for the tournament. What a fantastic round she has going!]

[Update 13 (10:06 pm): So, the 8th got Reynolds, too--she ended up with a 72 that brought her down to -1. It was the 18th that got Sergas (again)--but she still had the best round of the tournament, a 67 that brought her back to E. Song-Hee Kim, by contrast, birdied the long par-3 9th for her 69 to join Ji at +1 (T6). But Hee Young Park bogeyed her last 4 in a row to fall all the way to +2 (T8), while Lindsey Wright joined her with a fine 70. So there are 13 golfers within 5 shots of the lead.]

[Update 14 (10:15 pm): Amy Yang, who bogeyed her last 4 in a row on the front yesterday, shot a solid 71 today, to remain at +4 (T19); the KLPGA's Sun Ju Ahn matched her for the day and the tournament. They epitomize the 22 golfers between +3 and +5--all playing pretty well but making too many mistakes and not bouncing back from them as well as the top 13. The other 37 golfers between +6 and +9 (where the cut line did end up) are going to need 2 great rounds to get in the mix. That last group includes Lorena Ochoa, Ai Miyazato, Akiko Fukushima, and Hee Kyung Seo at +6, Morgan Pressel, Brittany Lang, Momoko Ueda, Ji-Hee Lee, and Mina Harigae at +7, and the players I already mentioned at +9, so you know there's plenty of talent in the bottom half of those who survived into the weekend.]

[Update 15 (10:24 pm): It's easy to lose the forest for the trees when you do the not-quite-live-blogging thing, so here's Hound Dog's 2nd-round overview and Brent Kelley's crisp summary of where things stand at the halfway point.]

[Update 16 (10:30 pm): But if you're like me and you love details, then feast your eyes on Hound Dog's live-blogging of round 2.]

[Update 17 (11:36 pm): Some stats of interest.... Why do I think it's a good sign for Paula Creamer that she's only hitting 61% of her fairways this week thus far, while a bad sign for Jean Reynolds that she's only hitting 57%? Because Creamer is among the LPGA's leaders in driving accuracy, I believe she's bound to start hitting more fairways. Whereas Reynolds, too, is likely hitting far fewer fairways than she usually does, she doesn't rank among the top 15 on the Futures Tour in driving accuracy. To be fair, she'd have to be hitting over 80% of her fairways to do so, so it's quite possible she's almost accurate off the tee as Creamer. But what I take from this is that Reynolds is scoring way over her head right now and can't possibly keep this up for 36 more holes, whereas Creamer could run away with this thing if she starts hitting her driver the way she's capable of. Both Creamer and Reynolds are at 64% in greens in regulation, but whereas Creamer is close to 80% for the LPGA season, Reynolds is close to 70% for the FT season. So there's much less room for reasonable improvement for Reynolds than Creamer.

If Karrie Webb starts putting well on the weekend, watch out for her. She's near the top in GIR and near the bottom in putts per round. Ditto for NCAA star and FT newbie Maria Hernandez. To a slightly less degree, the same goes for Eun-Hee Ji, In-Kyung Kim, and Alexis Thompson.

Morgan Pressel's hitting it shorter and much more crooked than usual, so no wonder she's struggling to hit greens. With a cold putter compared to her last few outings, she's in big trouble heading into the weekend.]

[Update 18 (11:46 pm): Some pairings of interest.... Stacy Lewis and Mika Miyazato at 7:50 am, Amanda Blumenherst and Maria Jose Uribe at 8:00, Brittany Lang and Mina Harigae at 9:20, Morgan Pressel and Momoko Ueda at 9:30, Ai Miyazato and Jessica Korda at 9:40, Akiko Fukushima and Shanshan Feng at 10:30, Ji-Yai Shin and Laura Davies at 11:10, Amy Yang and Anna Nordqvist at 11:30, Sandra Gal and Maria Hernandez at 12 noon, and of course the last hour or so are all intriguing. It's enough to make me want to drive down to Bethlehem for the weekend, but onechan has a violin lesson tomorrow morning, so....]

[Update 19 (7/11/09, 10:18 am): Here's Stephanie Wei's overview of ther 1st half of the Open.]


Pyoung said...

As you have observed, beside Teresa Lu and Lindsey Wright, no one else has finished above par so far. This should give the players at +1 a good chance to get higher if they don't blow up too. Yuri Fodoh maintained the the hopes for the JLPGA contingent by posting a very respectable E to stay at +2, inching ever close to the leaderboard. Unfortunately, Momoko Ueda slipped down to +7 after having a nice Thursday. She might be able to survive the cut if thing stay pretty much where it is now. Morgan Pressel is another in danger of being cut at +7. Neither one probably will be cut, though. Another victim of the day was Jiyai Shin as she posted a +4 to end up at +5 ... her hopes for the title is pretty much gone. Even worse for Meena Lee as she dropped to +9 ... probably won't be seeing her after today. I think finishing even today would be a major accomplishment as it was yesterday. The rest of the top ten started playing just a while back. I think this is a golden opportunity for Lorena or Kerr to put some distance from the rest of the pack. Lorena is probably more likely, though. I hadn't realized that Alexis Thompson is only 14 years old!! She finished pretty well at +2 to stay in contention. Maybe she will be the new prodigy ... hope they don't hype her like Wie. Anyway, should be an interesting afternoon. Wish I was home watching, though.

The Constructivist said...

With the 10-shots-from-the-lead rule in place, the cut could be very high and a lot more players could survive into the weekend than usual. It all depends on how low the leaders can go. I wouldn't count anyone at +5 out right now....

Pyoung said...

Okay, +5 is not really that out of contention if the rest of the field play poorly. Especially since she's supposed to be the "Final Round Queen." Even Lorena just doubled hole 3. At this rate Candy Kung might win it all since all she knows is how to par!! A final score of par might win it all. Nice to see Creamer stay in contention. However she tends to blow up on 3rd or 4th day. Also, Se Ri Pak is definitely out as she finished at +11. But Pattersen is staying in contention at +3.

Pyoung said...

Ouch... looks like the Rocket took a nose dive in the last four holes... +3 for day and final score of +2 for HYP. I was hoping so much for her. What is interesting is that she actually has the lowest number of putts, 53. The problem must have been driving ... yep only 17 fairway hits and 21 GIR. Hope she can emotionally recover tomorrow from the disastrous last four holes. Who is this Giulia Sergas?? She had an epic day ... only the bogey at the last hole finished her at -4 for day and E total. Christie Kerr is playing very solid and Creamer did very very well today. Fudoh finishes on the leaderboard. Castrale keeping hopes alive at E, +3 for the day. It looks like the cutoff is going to be at +8 (top 60 and ties). 10 strokes behind top score is +7 so that doesn't help. So sorry Julie Inkster and Meena Lee. We'll see if Jean Reynolds can hang in there tomorrow or not. Hope NBC will show more variety of players tomorrow. Nah, they'll mostly show Kerr, Creamer and Reynolds (just like ESPN.)

The Constructivist said...

One of the things I loved about the U.S. Open coverage in Japan is how many players they covered (once they finished following the Japanese player[s] doing best that day/week). It's sad that with such a packed leaderboard and wide-open weekend ahead of us that the television people think we can focus on only a few players at a time.