Saturday, August 1, 2009

Women's British Open Saturday: Hanging Tough

It's moving day at the Women's British Open, and as we saw yesterday, any good round will move you up the leaderboard and a great one could put you in contention. Case in point: Yuri Fudoh just shot a bogey-free 70, getting back to +7 for the tournament, starting tomorrow with a 28-hole bogey-free streak going--and moving from T61 yesterday to the top 30 already today. It was the best score among those who made the cut on the dot by 3 shots, and already the vast majority of the players out on the course right now have begun moving backwards. The only one bucking the trend thus far is Hee-Won Han, who's birdied 2 of her last 3 holes for a 34 on the front that moves her to +5 overall. Won't be able to keep track of the early going as closely or as long as usual. We're visiting my folks in central NY and heading over to the Futures Tour event in Syracuse for as long as onechan and imoto can hold out.

[Update 1 (7:18 am): For the 2nd day in a row, Ai Miyazato birdied the 1st hole. At +1 for the tournament, she's tied with Marianne Skarpnord for low player on the course. But a birdie on 10 moves Hee-Won Han to +4 overall. If she can get closer to par by the end of the day, she'll have a great chance to get her 1st major and catch Jeong Jang to top her generation in career winnings. Also making a move, thanks to 2 birdies on the back so far, is Na Yeon Choi. She kept her made-cut average at 1.000 yesterday with a solid 71; today, she's -1 through 15 and +6 overall.]

[Update 2 (7:29 am): Speaking of Jang, she went 38-34 today to remain at +8, tied with Lorena Ochoa, who made 3 birdies and 3 bogeys today. We'll see if Katie Futcher, who eagled 11, can stay ahead of them. She needs to par 18 for a 71 that would tie her with Fudoh at +7.]

[Update 3 (7:32 am): Rookie M.J. Hur is making a move early on. She's birdied 2 in a row and heads into the par-5 7th with a chance to move to +3 overall. Saw Golf Channel highlights and boy is Catriona Matthew's toddler a cutie! They oughtta give Tom Abbott more air time; he really knows women's golf.]

[Update 4 (7:40 am): Wow! In-Kyung Kim birdied 3 of her last 4 holes for her 2nd-straight 70. Just think where she'd be if she had birdied that 6th hole instead of taking an 11 on it (that's right--2 under!). At +5, she still has an outside chance if she can go low tomorrow! Oh, and Futcher didn't just par 18--she birdied it for a 70 that brings her to +6 overall. A bogey-free 33 on the back did the same for Sarah Lee. Right now, Kim is T23, Futcher and Lee are T27, and Fudoh is T35.]

[Update 5 (7:48 am): Everyone's up except imoto. Onechan watched GC highlights with my mom, dad, and me. She recognized Paula Creamer's name on the screen (show-off!). Paula needs to do some showing off of her own; she bogeyed 3 and 4 to fall back to +6 for the tournament. Yuko Mitsuka just made her 2nd double of the tournament to fall back to E. But making moves up the leaderboard are Ji-Yai Shin (-2 through 7, +2 overall), Marianne Skarpnord (-1 through 3, E overall, 15-hole bogey-free streak thus far), and Kyeong Bae (-1 through 2, -1 overall). A little lower down the leaderboard, Han is now -3 on her day and +3 overall, while Mika Miyazato has a 22-hole bogey-free streak going and has caught Han. Despite making a late double bogey each of her 1st 2 rounds, Maria Hjorth refuses to go away. She's made 3 birdies and 2 bogeys in her 1st 7 holes to fight back to +3, as well.]

[Update 6 (7:52 am): Choi made 3 birdies on the back and used a 12-hole bogey-free streak to shoot a 70 that ties Kim at +5 overall. Don't count either of them out just yet!]

[Update 7 (7:55 am): Brittany Lang (another one of my picks this week) is also hanging tough. A birdie on 18 would give her a 70 that brings her into a tie for 23rd with Kim and Choi.]

[Update 8 (8:01 am): Not all of my picks are doing great, though. U.S. Women's Open champion Eun-Hee Ji took 2 triples on the front and a double late on the back and will be fighting to avoid last place tomorrow.]

[Update 9 (8:08 am): Creamer birdied both par 5s on the front to fight back to +4. Onechan wants to see more circles from her!]

[Update 10 (8:09 am): Skarpnord birdied the 4th to get to -1 for the tournament. Mitsuka birdied 2 and 3 to offset her opening double and is back to -2 overall. LET and JLPGA representing!]

[Update 11 (8:12 am): Lang parred 18 to tie Futcher and Lee at +6. Samantha Head used a 16-hole bogey-free streak today to shoot a 72 that also puts her in this group, which sits at T28 right now.]

[Update 12 (8:15 am): Ai-sama bounced back from a 2nd-hole bogey with a birdie on the 6th to get back to +1 overall. Hee Young Park birdied the 5th and 6th to join her. Is The Rocket learning to control her amazing talent?]

[Update 13 (8:24 am): Remember Shinobu Moromizato from when the Okinawan was missing cuts galore while her countrywoman Ai-sama was winning over half a million dollars in their rookie year? Well, she's fighting for supremacy on the JLPGA this season and has put herself in the hunt again this week at the WBO. With 2 birdies in her last 3 holes, she's shot a 34 on the front that gets her back to +2 in the tournament, only 4 behind Mitsuka, Catriona Matthew, and Guilia Sergas.]

[Update 14 (8:26 am): Shin now has a 12-hole bogey-free streak going and is -4 on her day today, E overall. Mika Miyazato birdied 9 and 10 to get to +1 overall. The plot is thickening!]

[Update 15 (8:30 am): Bae birdied the 6th for the 3rd time in a row this week to join Mitsuka and Sergas at -2. She's now got a 10-hole bogey-free streak going. Matthew is +2 through 4, 1 shot behind them overall.]

[Update 16 (8:33 am): Imoto's eating breakfast and onechan's playing hide-and-seek with grandpa. Almost time to get ready to head out. Matthew birdied the 5th to get back into a tie for the lead. A bogey on the 9th forced Karrie Webb to settle for a 34 on the front; at +3, she's poised to put herself in contention. And onechan rejoices!]

[Update 17 (8:36 am): Skarpnord's bogey-free streak ends at 18 holes on the par-5 7th, dropping her to E overall with Ji-Yai Shin and Song-Hee Kim. There are now only 4 players under par in the entire field.]

[Update 18 (8:38 am): Yay! Jane Park has a 12-hole bogey-free streak going and just joined Ai-sama at +1. As Bill Jempty pointed out in comments yesterday, if she were to finish solo 2nd, she'd end up with exactly as many Solheim Cup points as Natalie Gulbis!]

[Update 19 (8:40 am): Han shot the 5th sub-70 round of the tournament. Her 69 brings her to +3 overall. If the leaders stay where they are or falter, she'll definitely be in contention tomorrow.]

[Update 20 (8:42 am): Paula Creamer and Karrie Webb just made birdies to join Han at +3. With 7 holes to play, they have plenty of time to make moves of their own.]

[Update 21 (8:50 am): Creamer just birdied 12. Will have to let onechan know in the car ride to Syracuse. Time to get ready to head out!]

[Update 22 (4:13 pm): Hanging out at my aunt and uncle's place in Syracuse. Futures Tour Saturday deserves a post of its own, so nothing on that here. Lots of surprisingly bad finishes from people who had been playing very solidly at the WBO, though. Song-Hee Kim went +3 over her last 7 holes to drop to +1 (T5 with Mika Miyazato [69]), Kyeong Bae went +4 over her last 6 to drop to +2 (T7 with Creamer [70], Moromizato [71], and Jane Park [72]), and Guilia Sergas went +5 over her last 7 to drop to +3 (T11 with Han [69] and Hee Young Park [73]). But as bad as they finished, they still didn't shoot themselves completely out of the tournament as Marianne Skarpnord (76) and Yuko Mitsuka (77); both moved all the way back to T18 at +5. Now, I know earlier I had crowed when In-Kyung Kim and Na Yeon Choi, along others, fought back to that score, but that was before Catriona Matthew went -3 over her last 14 holes of bogey-free golf to finish the day at -4, 3 shots up on Christina Kim (71) and 4-up on Ji-Yai Shin (68) and Ai Miyazato (70). Ai-sama had problems of her own down the stretch, going +2 over her last 7 holes, while Shin bogeyed 17 just like she did on Friday (but was still better off than Thursday's double there).]

[Update 23 (4:37 pm): says no one's ever won the WBO after winning the week before. Well, Ai-sama has given herself a chance to do just that, if she can avoid the back-9 stumbles that have held her back this week. Gambare, Ai!]

[Update 24 (8/2/09, 3:48 am): As always, Hound Dog sorts through the stories and gives you the most significant and interesting ones. While I would love to see a new mom win the WBO, I'm of course rooting for Ai-sama and hoping for a great finish from Jane Park.

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