By now you know the big news at the U.S. Women's Open: like Lorena Ochoa Friday, Paula Creamer blew up Saturday to plummet out of contention, while Cristie Kerr continued to position herself for a wire-to-wire win of her 2nd Open and 2nd career major. That's not to say it's going to be easy for her, but with Jean Reynolds (74), Song-Hee Kim (75), Na Yeon Choi (76), Guilia Sergas (76), Nicole Castrale (74), Meaghan Francella (74), Kristy McPherson (77), Lindsey Wright (77), Alexis Thompson (78), and Yuri Fudoh (80) losing serious ground to her 72 yesterday, not to mention none of the LPGA's elite making a charge from back in the pack--not Suzann Pettersen (72), Lorena Ochoa (73), Karrie Webb (74), or Ji-Yai Shin (76)--Kerr has to like her chances. She's 2-up on her playing partner tomorrow, the resurgent Eun-Hee Ji (70), 4-up on Reynolds and Teresa Lu (70), and 5-up on Candie Kung (68), In-Kyung Kim (72), and Hee Young Park (72). Sure, 69s by Kyeong Bae and Morgan Pressel pulled them within 6 and 7 of the lead, respectively, but of everyone chasing Kerr, only Ji and Kim have been hitting the ball as solidly as she has been, while neither have putted as proficiently. So let's see if Kerr struggles tomorrow or if someone makes a move on her (or both, or neither).
As for the players I've been rooting for the most, Ai Miyazato drove the ball a little more aggressively yesterday, but the key difference for her was her putting, as she broke the 30-putt barrier for the 1st time this week on her way to a 71 that brought her to T17 at +6. Momoko Ueda only hit 5 fairways but thanks to her added distance (272 yards off the tee!) was able to bounce back and hit 12 greens on her way to a 72 that tied her at 27th with the likes of Ochoa, Webb, Wright, Anna Nordqvist, Amy Yang, and the KLPGA's Hee Kyung Seo. But Mika Miyazato (76) and Mina Harigae (80) continued to struggle at Saucon Valley. Here's hoping they all play great on Sunday.
In addition to the race for low amateur later today--this year's WAPL champion Jennifer Song is 3-up on Azahara Munoz and Alexis Thompson--I'll also be following the Young Guns shootout at the top of the leaderboard between Junior Mints Eun-Hee Ji, In-Kyung Kim, and Song-Hee Kim and Senior Standouts Teresa Lu, Kyeong Bae, Morgan Pressel, Sun Young Yoo, Ai Miyazato, and Meaghan Francella. Should be a lot of fun!
[Update 1 (1:55 am): Be sure to check out the on-site blogging from Saucon Valley by Stephanie Wei and Golf Girl. And of course Golfweek's coverage and Golf Channel's Shag Bag blog are must-stops, as is LPGA.com's notes and interviews page.]