Sunday, July 12, 2009

U.S. Women's Open Sunday: Down to the Wire

Don't look now, but Candie Kung, a Taiwan-born American citizen (for those who don't remember her from when she was one of the best players in the world earlier this decade), is making a move on Cristie Kerr at the U.S. Women's Open. Kung closed with a 33 yesterday and birdied her 1st 2 holes today to get back to +1 for the tournament and within 2 shots of the lead after Kerr bogeyed the 5th. But wait...a Kung bogey on the tough 7th allowed Eun-Hee Ji to leapfrog her with a birdie on the par-5 6th and return to +1 for her round and the tournament. That turned into a 2-shot swing on Kerr when she bogeyed the 6th! And now Kung has birdied the 8th to also pull within 1 of the lead!

With Kerr now at E, she's opened the door to several other golfers to pull into serious contention on Open Sunday. Teresa Lu has made 4 bogeys and 2 birdies in her 1st 7 holes to fall back to +4 with Jean Reynolds and Suzann Pettersen, but In-Kyung Kim has fought back to E on the day and +3 for the tournament with her 2nd birdie of the day, offsetting her double on 7. More soon!

[Update 1 (3:24 pm): Kim birdied 10 and Ji bogeyed 7 to meet at +2. Kung, who's gone 35-33-34 her last 3 9s, remains 1 back. With a birdie on 10, Brittany Lincicome has fought back to E on her day and +4 for the tournament. Na Yeon Choi just joined her there with a birdie on the par-5 12th.]

[Update 2 (3:27 pm): Ah, Hound Dog's been doing this since the leaders teed off. Definitely follow his live-blogging--he's able to watch the telecast, unlike me!]

[Update 3 (3:45 pm): OK, HD's going to do the play-by-play; I got dibs on color commentary! A 32 on the back makes Ji-Yai Shin the leader in the clubhouse at +7. When her irons weren't letting her down this week, her putter was. But there are only 15 golfers ahead of her right now. Let's see where she ends up. Ai Miyazato (-1 through 15, +5 overall) and Paula Creamer (-1 with 2 to play, also +5 overall) have the 1st chances to displace her.]

[Update 4 (4:00 pm): What a charge by Lincicome! And what a tactical error--compounded by execution problems--by Ji on the 10th. If she and Creamer lose by a couple of shots, the decision to use driver there yesterday by the latter and today by the former will weigh heavy on their minds for a long time to come. Creamer's now +4 after a birdie on 17; she'll need to birdie 18, too, to put any pressure on the leaders coming down the stretch. BTW, looks like Reynolds and Lu have lost too much ground to get back in the mix. They're both +6 overall, +4 through 11 today.]

[Update 5 (4:02 pm): Wow! Ai-chan just joined Creamer (and Choi and Hee Young Park) at +4 with a birdie on 16! Let's see if she can keep it going!]

[Update 6 (4:09 pm): Here's Hound Dog's new live-blog page. Ai-chan needs to birdie 18 to finish at +3 and displace Creamer as leader in the clubhouse.]

[Update 7 (5:01 pm): Too bad Ai-chan couldn't birdie 17 or 18. But T6 is a great finish for her--and it could end up better if Lincicome stumbles on 18. Nice job by Sun Ju Ahn to tie her old KLPGA sparring partner, Ji-Yai Shin, at +7. She bounced back from a front-side 40 with a closing 33 to do so. If Suzann Pettersen, Hee Young Park, or Kyeong Bae fall back from +5 in their closing holes, that'll be good enough for T12 or better! And, oh yeah, Eun-Hee Ji and In-Kyung Kim are still tied with Cristie Kerr at +1, 1 behind Candie Kung with 1 left for Kim, 2 for Kung, and 4 for Ji and Kerr.]

[Update 8 (5:05 pm): Fantastic job by this year's WAPL champion, Jennifer Song (72), to take low amateur with a +7 finish. She parred her last 7 holes to beat Jessica Korda (69) and Allison Lee (70) by 2.]

[Update 9 (5:08 pm): And great 68 by KLPGA Super Soph He Yong Choi to join the amateurs at +9. There are a lot of great players they beat this week.]

[Update 10 (5:09 pm): Speaking of young Asian golfers with great promise, Mika Miyazato tied Yuri Fudoh at +15 in her first USWO. Not a bad start.]

[Update 11 (5:22 pm): Even though Lincicome couldn't sustain her momentum down the stretch and faded to +3 (5th place right now), she impressed the heck out of me this week. I'm starting to believe her comeback is for real. Pettersen's walkoff birdie brought her even with Creamer and Miyazato at T6. Great comebacks for all of them. Too bad In-Kyung Kim bogeyed the 18th yet again this week--4 for 4 there is prbably what's going to keep her from winning the Open. But with Kung falling back into a tie with Ji and Kerr at +1, she could still find herself in a playoff. Kung will need to par 18 to displace her as leader in the clubhouse.]

[Update 12 (5:28 pm): Kung parred 1 to finish at +1. It's up to Ji to tie or beat her outright now. Kerr just 3-putted 16 to fall to +2.]

[Update 13 (5:39 pm): Wow, if we had tv, I'd be pissed off today at imoto. For the 4th time in a row over the last 2 days, she's decided to poop in her panties. Who knew toilet training would be such a battle with the younger child! Speaking of battles, Eun-Hee Ji needs to birdie 18 to win and par it to tie Kung. Kerr has better birdie 18 and hope Ji doesn't of she wants a chance to keep another major in '09 from slipping away from her.]

[Update 14 (5:58 pm): Looking over Candie Kung's scorecard, she finished 35-33-34-35 over her last 4 9s. That's some great golf. But you know what? That bogey on 17 (her 2nd on that hole this weekend) ended up costing her a chance to get her 1st major and 5th career win. My mom just called me to tell me that Eun-Hee Ji made a sliding downhiller of at least 15 feet to win the U.S. Women's Open!]

[Update 15 (6:01 pm): Ji was my 8th-ranked Young Gun back in early June, but she may well be my #1 Junior Mint when I redo my rankings after the Women's British Open.]

[Update 16 (11:50 pm): Lots of bloggy commentary on Ji's win. Brent Kelley hits all the right notes in his tournament summary. Average Golfer sums up Ji's win in his inimitable fashion. Armchair Golfer kindly appends the ESPN highlights to his capsule summary. And Stephanie Wei has video of Ji's post-putt interview with Roger Maltbie.]

[Update 17 (7/13/09, 12:18 am): I've been checking out Golf Observer's links to the media coverage of the Open, and few come close to the USGA's news page. When is the national media going to realize that sports are different than a reality tv show and that their job isn't to script an event but to report on it?]

[Update 18 (12:36 am): Saving the best for the last update--Hound Dog's final-round overview.]

[Update 19 (12:09 pm): OK, one more link, for Hound Dog's epilogue.]

[Update 20 (12:28 pm): Just came across this great Bill Jempty piece.]

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