Thursday, July 9, 2009

U.S. Women's Open Thursday: A Game Called Survival

The U.S. Women's Open is in full swing and Saucon Valley has introduced itself to some of the top players in women's golf in a decidedly inhospitable manner. Angela Stanford broke a 5-hole bogey train on the front with a double bogey on the par-4 8th to open with a 43; she remains +7 through 11. Stacy Lewis birdied her 1st hole, but thanks in part to a triple on the par-4 3rd could only manage a 40; she's currently on a 5-hole bogey tain of her own to balloon to +8 through 13. Seon Hwa Lee opened with a birdieless 40 on the back and has gone from bad to worse on the front; she's now +8 through 14. Katherine Hull took a quad on the hole Lewis tripled and opened with a 42 on the front, but she's fought back to +5 after a birdie on the 11th. The JLPGA's top player in the field, Ji-Hee Lee joins Futures Tour hotshot Mina Harigae and world #2 Ya Ni Tseng at +4 (through 10, 13, and 13, respectively). There are a lot of players in the morning groups taking a lot of early damage. More on those minimizing it in updates.

[Update 1 (11:48 am): Lorena Ochoa hasn't birdied a par 5, but she's birdied 3 par 4s and a par 3 to get to -2 with 5 holes left to play on the front. She's joined for the moment by Hee Young Park, a recent KLPGA transplant who can shoot a 63 as easily as a 79, so don't expect her to hang around the top of the leaderboard all week. Right behind them are Cristie Kerr (2 birdies and a bogey in her 1st 13 holes), Anna Nordqvist (who just birdied the par-5 12th to get back under par), Eun-Hee Ji (who opened with a 33 on the back and recently bogeyed the 435-yard par-4 2nd to fall back to -1), and top-ranked Futures Tour regular Jean Reynolds (who bounced back from a bogey on the 453-yard par-4 7th with a birdie on the par-4 8th on her way to a 35 on the front). They're the only players under par among the morning pairings right now. And there are only 6 players at E, including Candie Kung, Nicole Castrale, and Amy Yang.]

[Update 2 (11:51 am): Among those hanging around near par, special invite Laura Davies may be the most exciting story. She needs to win 2 more LPGA events or 1 major to qualify for the Hall of Fame, and she needs a par on the 444-yard par-4 18th to shoot a 72. She's been up and down all season, but she already has a dramatic come-from-behind win in Australia, so never count her out. Right now she's doing it with her putter. We'll see if she can keep it up.]

[Update 3 (11:55 am): I'm glad to see Ai Miyazato fighting back from a par-bogey-double-bogey start with 2 birdies and no bogeys in her last 9 holes. She definitely has the game and the mindset to keep it right around par all week and keep herself in the mix. We'll see how resilient fellow Okinawan and LPGA rookie Mika Miyazato is--she shot a 34 on the back to get off to a great start, but is now on a 3-hole bogey train on precisely the holes her namesake went +4 over. They're tied with Paula Creamer, by the way, who has ridden the roller coaster all day. More updates after my lunch meeting is over.]

[Update 4 (2:02 pm): Most of the morning scores are in and they don't look pretty. Here's the damage, from worst to least:

Can't Win
81 Helen Alfredsson, Sophie Gustafson, Birdie Kim, Brandie Burton
80 Seon Hwa Lee, Gwadlys Nocera

Outside Chance
78 Angela Stanford, Katherine Hull, Stacy Lewis, Meg Mallon
77 Ya Ni Tseng, Ji-Hee Lee, Jeong Jang, Pat Hurst, Mina Harigae
76 Ji Young Oh, Miki Saiki

Still In It
75 Karrie Webb, Brittany Lang, Amy Yang, Mika Miyazato, Sun Ju Ahn
74 Song-Hee Kim, Ai Miyazato, Nicole Castrale, Johanna Mundy
73 Stacy Prammanasudh, Joo Mi Kim, Candace Schepperle

In the Thick of Things
72 Paula Creamer, In-Kyung Kim, Christina Kim, Laura Davies, Sun Young Yoo
71 Candie Kung, Anna Nordqvist, Eun-Hee Ji
70 Hee Young Park

Kicking Butt
69 Lorena Ochoa, Cristie Kerr, Jean Reynolds

Your leader right now is Na Yeon Choi, who's got a 3-hole birdie train going to start her round on the back.]

[Update 5 (5:05 pm): Got an update from my mom on my cell phone while I was getting my car inspected--NYC is rocking SV! She birdied 4 of her 1st 5 on the back and missed an itty bitty one on the par-3 4th to stop her streak on the front at 2. With 5 holes to play, she's -5. I'll tell you what, I also didn't expect to see Brittany Lincicome anywhere near par this week, but there she is, at -2 through 10.

Other notable scores from the morning that I missed:

78 Esther Choe
76 Hannah Jun, Cindy LaCrosse
73 Haeji Kang
72 Hye Jung Choi

For why names like these are notable in my book, check out my tournament preview. More after I pick the girls up from day care! But before I go, NYC bogeyed the long par-4 5th to fall to -4 with 4 to play. Here's hoping she doesn't finish the front as weakly as, say, Amy Yang did.]

[Update 6 (6:02 pm): Wow, I just realized that Seon Hwa Lee and Brandie Burton WDed after their rounds today, joining the LET's Martina Eberl, who did it either before or during her round.]

[Update 7 (6:11 pm): Awesome 68 from NYC today, even with those 2 bogeys in a row midway through the front (her back). Impressive 71 from Alexis Thompson, too. Will update my chart in Update 4 with afternoon scores after I make the girls dinner.]

[Update 8 (10:22 pm): Here are notable afternoon scores. Some real blow-ups late in many rounds, it seems.

Can't Win
81 Tiffany Lua
80 Jane Park
79 Meredith Duncan, Alison Walshe

Outside Chance
78 Hee-Won Han, Juli Inkster, Shiho Oyama, Minea Blomqvist, M.J. Hur
77 Jee Young Lee, Angela Park, He Yong Choi, Leta Lindley, Michele Redman, Beth Bader
76 Se Ri Pak, Akiko Fukushima, Teresa Lu, Misun Cho, Victoria Tanco, Rosie Jones

Still In It
75 Inbee Park, Hee Kyung Seo, Sandra Gal, Kyeong Bae, Amanda Blumenherst, Maria Jose Uribe, Jennie Lee
74 Suzann Pettersen, Morgan Pressel, Lindsey Wright, Shanshan Feng, Maria Hernandez
73 Yuri Fudoh, Karen Stupples, Maria Hjorth, Meaghan Francella

In the Thick of Things
72 Ji-Yai Shin, Momoko Ueda, Brittany Lincicome, Meena Lee, Jennifer Song, Azahara Munoz, Jessica Korda
71 Kristy McPherson, Young Kim, Alexis Thompson

Kicking Butt
68 Na Yeon Choi

With 83 players at +5 or better, the cut could be incredibly high this year. Looks like Saucon Valley is winning.]

[Update 9 (10:44 pm): Here's Hound Dog's 1st-round overview.]

[Update 10 (10:50 pm): Here are's notes and interviews.]

[Update 11 (7/10/09, 7:42 am): Dan Mirocha does a nice profile of Jean Reynolds.]

[Update 12 (7:45 am): Golfweek is also reporting that Seon Hwa Lee withdrew with a back injury.]


Pyoung said...

Hello... I really enjoy reading your blog... very informative!! Now, don't be too hard on HYP... I think this might be her breakthrough event. This time I think the Rocket is going to really take off. But wow, what a vicious course... Yani is +6 ??? Stacy Lewis is bombing out with a +7. Poor Alfredsson at +10!! Lorena definitely seem to gotten her swing back. I think this is really going to hurt the short range players. But then again isn't Yani #1 in driving?? More players to start yet... let's see how Jiyai Shin does with this course. Angela Stanford is also doing rather poorly as is Seon Hwa Lee. I would almost say they would be out of it in a normal course but with this one, who know what future rounds will bring.

The Constructivist said...

You get in the rough, you pay the price, it looks like. See my latest update. I'd really love to see HYP put 4 good rounds together this week!

Pyoung said...

Some interesting stats:

Rank. Player (Fairway % ranking) fairway/GIR/holes

1. NYC (35) 9/10/15
T2. Kerr (48) 10/15/18
T2. Ochoa (92) 11/12/18
T2. J. Reynolds (NA)7/13/18
5. HYP (45) 10/12/18
T6 Lincicome (146) 5/9/12

Kerr had 15 GIR?? Ahhh her putter let her down. 31 putts. Still pretty good at -2, though. It looks like Lincicome missed the fair way as much as usual but somehow powered to ball out of the rough to get 8/11 GIR so far ... that's what's saving her. Oops, NYC had another bogey. -3 now. Looks like Ochoa and HYP have the best putters for now. Jiyai Shin is struggling (double at the dreaded 3 hole) ... Paula must be okay as she at got +1 for the day. As much as you said she had a roller coaster day, I don't think it was as up and down as Inky... two doubles!! And 5 birdies and two bogeys all spread between the doubles. Momoko is hanging in there with a +3 at 14# so far. The cut may be around +5/6!! A rough day for the ladies so far.

The Constructivist said...

Thanks for the tips and details! I haven't been able to pay as close attention as I wanted b/c of work and errands today. And I don't have tv so can't watch any of it.... Aaargh! I'd love to see why 3 is such a dangerous hole. Jee Young Lee took a quad on it....

Pyoung said...

Hmmm... Naree Song suddenly withdrew after going from +3 to +11 in 4 holes (7 strokes at 3rd hole). She must have hurt herself or gotten ill. Speaking of 3rd hole, Ashleigh Albrecht (amature) took 10 strokes there!! What's that? Sextuplet bogey? Momoko finished really nicely at +1. Way to go!

Hmmmm.. Kim Kim finished at +11... ouch... much worse than her arch-rival Jennifer Song at E at 16. Best day for JLPGA was Yuri Foduh at +2. Not bad. Best from KLPGA is Hee-Kyung Seo at +3. She was at E at one point. Pressel is at +3 so not out of contention... yet. Tomorrow should sort out more people. Some will go north and some will go south but I expect the like of Ochoa to stay in contention for the rest of the Open. Shin is having a mediocre day for her ... clawing back at +1 at 17# to stay in range. Oops, Lincicome dropped to +2. Back to +1 now... sticking around.