Saturday, August 29, 2009

Safeway Classic Friday: Welcome Back! (And Other Themes)

With this semester looking to be the most intense in my career and onechan going back today to her full Saturday schedule of Japanese school in the morning and violin lessons in the early afternoon--plus being less than 2 weeks away from starting kindergarten--it's looking like I won't be able to give women's golf the kind of close attention I was able to do pretty consistently over the summer. So for the Safeway Classic, I'm trying a little experiment in micro-not-quite-live-blogging--but via blogger rather than twitter. This way, you can get a sense of my reactions to things that stand out to me during the round and I can focus in my recap posts on what I missed and the larger patterns of each day. I know it involves a little more clicking for those who just want to start with my recap posts, so please do let me know what you think of the scrolling vs. clicking issue.

In any case, the day 1 leaderboard is something worth waking up early for. How awesome is it to see Seon Hwa Lee (34-31) and Moira Dunn (35-32) joining Ai-sama (33-34) in the thick of things? Pretty awesome for someone like me, I'll tell you what! (Even the 70 by Momoko Ueda was exciting--she finished her round on the front with a birdie-birdie-eagle run to do it. Plus, In-Kyung Kim's 74 could have been much worse--she couldn't completely erase the double she made on each side, but 2 birdies in her 1st 3 holes on the back and 2 in her last 4 on the front to close out her day give me some hope for her.) And how about that 66 from Stacy Prammanasudh and 68 from Jeong Jang? This leaderboard was like a flashback to the middle of the decade--in a good way. I'd love to see JJ and Stacy P rejoin the game's elite, Moira be a top 40 player again, Lee finally to mount a serious challenge this season to Ya Ni Tseng's career lead among the Young Guns (Tseng, by the way, had a nice comeback of her own--3 birdies in her last 4 holes on the front--for her 68), and Ai-sama to rack up more wins this season and finish as Player of the Year.

Oh, and how cool would it be for the LPGA if Jennifer Rosales, Natalie Gulbis, and Christina Kim kept shooting 68s? It's nice to welcome them back to the land o' goin' low. And that kid Michelle Wie? Watch for her! You heard it here 1st.

Speaking of Solheim Cuppers, I was pleasantly surprised to see so many of them adjusting back to the rigors of individual competition so quickly. Sure, Suzann Pettersen needed to come back from a slow start to shoot her own 68, Cristie Kerr had to settle for a 69 after a walkoff bogey on 18, Helen Alfredsson had to take a 70 after a walkoff bogey of her own on the 9th, Maria Hjorth had to accept a 70 of her own after her typical mix of birdies and bogeys, and Laura Davies (walkoff eagle), Sophie Gustafson (late birdie), and Kristy McPherson (ditto) needed comebacks for their 71s, but I expected more of a letdown from them and their peers I've already micro-not-quite-live-blogged about who shot exceptional numbers on a new course to them.

Speaking of Ghost Creek, it certainly haunted a lot of talented players. Kyeong Bae played great in Korea and Shiho Oyama played well in Japan, but they both ballooned to 78s on day 1. Brittany Lincicome, Catriona Matthew, Katherine Hull, and Hee-Won Han only did 1 better. Inbee Park had shot a 64 in Korea last week, but she opened with a 76 yesterday. Karrie Webb, Ji-Yai Shin, Morgan Pressel, and Vicky Hurst joined Inky at 74. Brittany Lang, Na Yeon Choi, Song-Hee Kim, and Amy Yang will have to fight to stay on the right side of the cut line after their opening 73s. So who knows what scoring will be like later today?

Looking forward to seeing what moving day looks like when we get back from Buffalo this afternoon. I wonder if Ai-sama's experience winning so many 54-hole events in Japan will serve her well this weekend!

[Update 1 (5:36 am): It's fun to see Jamie RS and Hack stepping up to the plate. Gotta disagree with T-Joh's Emo Friday proclamation. Heck, her melody is even upbeat.]

[Update 2 (5:46 am): For those who don't mind the real micro-blogging experience that is Twitter, be sure to follow GolferWriterGuy and NiceBallz--Ghost Creek is their home turf.]

[Update 3 (6:01 am): New technology is great and all, but gotta love how the Seoul crew rocks the bulletin board format. Check out Go-Kimmie-Go's detailed notes on various groups, including Jee Young Lee-Inbee Park-Mika Miyazato and In-Kyung Kim-Christina Kim-Catriona Matthew. Verdant Garden followed several groups, too, and has interesting notes on Haeji Kang, Eun-Hee Ji, Soo-Yun Kang, Vicky Hurst, and others. Thanks, y'all!]

[Update 4 (6:10 am): Oh, and Alan Shipnuck's Solheim Cup piece was well worth the wait. Whereas Ron Sirak clearly mailed his in, Shipnuck found the best details to convey the drama and energy of the competition--and his writing was pitch-perfect.]


Witty Camelle said...

What do you think will be the final score in the Safeway? Would a score like -18 for a 3 day be a good or bad thing for the LPGA? Are Jennifer Rosales and Vicky Hurst the best dressed?

The Constructivist said...

I don't know enough about weather patterns in Portland to make a guess. I have no problem with super-low scoring on any tour. I defer to Jamie RS on all fashion questions. But thanks for asking!