Sunday, May 31, 2009

Kosaido Ladies Cup Sunday: Yokomine Wins for the 2nd Time in '09!

With her 2-shot victory over Chie Arimura in the Kosaido Ladies Cup today, Sakura Yokomine became the 1st 2-time winner on the JLPGA in 2009. She did it by playing very steady golf, but she was helped by the fact that neither of her playing partners could put any pressure on her all day. Arimura and Maiko Wakabayashi shot bogey-free 70s, but the former finished with 12 straight pars and the latter with 5. On the holes I saw, they made great par saves to stay within sight of Yokomine, but couldn't stick their approach shots or get the speed or line right on their birdie chances to cut into her lead. The only player in the field to make a late charge was Shinobu Moromizato, but even going -6 over her final 10 holes could only lift her into a 3rd-place tie with Wakabayashi at -10.

Here are the final results:

1st/-13 Sakura Yokomine (68-64-71)
2nd/-11 Chie Arimura (67-68-70)
T3/-10 Shinobu Moromizato (73-67-66), Maiko Wakabayashi (70-66-70)
5th/-9 Rui Kitada (71-68-68)
6th/-8 Yuko Mitsuka (70-69-69)
T7/-7 Hyun-Ju Shin (71-69-69), Miki Saiki (70-70-69), Ji-Woo Lee (69-70-70)
T10/-6 Keiko Sasaki (74-70-66), Akane Iijima (71-70-69), So-Hee Kim (68-73-69), Maria Iida (72-67-71), Hiromi Takesue (69-67-74)

T15/-5 Saiki Fujita (75-66-70), Ah-Reum Hwang (71-69-71), Yuki Ichinose (71-69-71)
T19/-4 Ji-Hee Lee (73-70-69), Bo-Bae Song (72-71-69)
T25/-3 Da-Ye Na (76-69-68), Mayu Hattori (74-70-69)
T29/-2 Ayako Uehara (74-69-71), Eun-A Lim (72-70-72)
T33/-1 Na Zhang (74-71-70), Midori Yoneyama (72-70-73)
T37/E Namika Omata (70-75-71), Mie Nakata (72-72-72), Yukari Baba (72-71-73), Rikako Morita (70-73-73), Yuko Saitoh (75-67-74)
T49/+2 Li-Ying Ye (73-72-73)

Here's how the money list looks now:

1. Sakura Yokomine ¥52.15M
2. Yuko Mitsuka ¥41.46M
3. Shinobu Moromizato ¥37.38M
4. Chie Arimura ¥28.97M
5. Yuko Saitoh ¥28.89M
6. Mi-Jeong Jeon ¥27.23M
7. Ji-Hee Lee ¥26.98M
8. Ah-Reum Hwang ¥26.30M
9. Ayako Uehara ¥25.75M
10. Eun-A Lim ¥23.86M
11. Erina Hara ¥19.95M
12. Tamie Durdin ¥19.55M
13. Ji-Woo Lee ¥14.44M
14. Miho Koga ¥17.28M
15. Yuri Fudoh ¥15.64M
16. Yukari Baba ¥15.20M
17. Akiko Fukushima ¥14.47M
18. Bo-Bae Song ¥11.00M
19. Maiko Wakabayashi ¥10.98M
20. Hyun-Ju Shin ¥10.69M
21. Julie Lu ¥10.61M
22. Rui Kitada ¥10.38M
23. Akane Iijima ¥10.37M
24. Mie Nakata ¥10.17M
25. Midori Yoneyama ¥9.43M
26. Kaori Aoyama ¥9.17M
27. Ji-Yai Shin ¥8.48M
28. Miki Saiki ¥7.92M
29. Hiromi Mogi ¥7.84M
30. Nikki Campbell ¥7.40M

The JLPGA's finest are gearing up for the next really big tournament, the Suntory Ladies Open, in 2 weeks. It's looking from the field list that Ai Miyazato will be skipping the LPGA Championship, which is strange, as she's playing both the State Farm and the Wegmans. Even if it's true, we'll be in Okinawa when the tournament is being played, so we'll have to catch it on tv....

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Kosaido Ladies Cup Friday and Saturday: Can Yokomine Become the First to Win Twice on the JLPGA in '09?

The first and second rounds of the Kosaido Ladies Cup are history, and the JLPGA's brightest star, Sakura Yokomine, is poised to become the 1st repeat winner on tour in 2009. She holds a 3-shot lead on Chie Arimura and a 4-shot lead on Maiko Wakabayashi and Hiromi Takesue heading into the final round, thanks to a sizzling 64 on a cool, damp day in Chiba Prefecture. The weather kept onechan and me from taking the JR train 5 stops away from Chiba Station down to the course, but we did get to see the leaders play the last 5 holes on television. After the scoring rundown, I'll share a few observations.

1st/-12 Sakura Yokomine (68-64)
2nd/-9 Chie Arimura (67-68)
T3/-8 Maiko Wakabayashi (70-66), Hiromi Takesue (69-67)
T5/-5 Maria Iida (72-67), Rui Kitada (71-68), Yuko Mitsuka (70-69), Ji-Woo Lee (69-70), Megumi Shimokawa (69-70)
T10/-4 Shinobu Moromizato (73-67), Kaori Nakamura (73-67), Hyun-Ju Shin (71-69), Ah-Reum Hwang (71-69), Yuki Ichinose (71-69), Miki Saiki (70-70)

T16/-3 Saiki Fujita (75-66), Akane Iijima (71-70)
T21/-2 Yuko Saitoh (75-67), Eun-A Lim (72-70), Midori Yoneyama (72-70)
T29/-1 Ayako Uehara (74-69), Ji-Hee Lee (73-70), Bo-Bae Song (72-71), Yukari Baba (72-71), Rikako Morita (70-73)
T38/E Mayu Hattori (74-70), Mie Nakata (72-72)
T45/+1 Da-Ye Na (76-69), Na Zhang (74-71), Li-Ying Ye (73-72), Namika Omata (70-75)

Missing the cut were the following players:

T51/+2 Hiromi Mogi (78-68), Mai Arai (73-73)
T64/+3 Erina Hara (73-74)
T73/+5 Kumiko Kaneda (72-77)
T80/+6 Yun-Jye Wei (77-73), Woo-Soon Ko (76-74)
T89/+10 Sakurako Mori (79-75)
99th/+13 Ai-Yu Tu (82-75)

Last week, Yokomine's top 10 streak ended at 8 straight events when she finished T11 at the Chukyo TV Bridgestone Ladies Open, in which Eun-A Lim defeated Yuko Mitsuka in a playoff to prevent her from becoming the 1st 2-time winner on the JLPGA this season (and in which both Akiko Fukushima and Na Zhang finished in the top 3 for the 1st time since the middle of last season and Miki Saiki got a top 10 for the 1st time in this one). To tell you the truth, when I got a good look at her swing today, I was amazed that she's had the success she's had in her career. She goes further past parallel than Mi Hyun Kim used to before she shortened her backswing, and, combined with the fact that her body language always looks disappointed after every swing, I was expecting the ball to be going all over the course each swing she took. But she's the JLPGA's statistical leader in scoring average (70.77), birdie rate (3.62), putts per green in regulation (1.758), and a couple of other categories I can't translate.

And she sure was locked in today. Even when Arimura was on a run where she could easily have made 7 birdies in a row on the back (she only made 4, but her attempt for her 3rd in a row stopped on the edge, then after making her 3rd birdie in 4 holes, she burned the cup on a 50-footer and spun a putt out before making her last birdie of the day on the par-5 18th), Yokomine held firm and finished strong with 3 birdies in her last 6 holes to go with her 5 in her 1st 7 holes. And it wasn't just the birdie putts she made that mattered. After missing a makeable birdie putt on the par-5 15th that would have given her a 3-shot lead on Arimura (who had just missed her own chance to make her 3rd birdie in a row), she canned a clutch par save to avoid a 2-shot swing in Arimura's favor on the very next hole, then engineered a 2-shot swing in her favor on the following hole when she made a side-door birdie and Arimura missed a 4-foot comebacker for par. Arimura's swing is a lot more classic than Yokomine's, but she wasn't making as clean contact as the leader was down the stretch, plus she was being outdriven by anywhere from 5 to 20 yards on the holes I saw.

Wakabayashi was another player who got a lot of face time during the coverage today, and she responded with adventurous par saves on the 16th and 17th, followed by a great birdie on the 18th. Her swing was all over the place on the shots I saw, but her pitching, chipping, and putting were amazing. Kitada was not so fortunate or as skillful with the flat stick on the holes I watched her play, bogeying the long par-3 17th and then wasting a great approach from deep in the woods to 5 feet on 18. I was surprised at how athletic Mitsuka was, but it seemed like she was bent over a lot at the waist and hunched over a bit with her shoulders, at least on the drive on 18 that put her in the woods to the right.

Even if the weather surprises on the upside tomorrow (the forecast is for more rain), onechan and I won't be able to go to the course, as the Full Metal Archivist takes the TOEIC test in the middle of the day, and there's no way I'm taking the 3-year-old ball of energy and trouble who goes by imoto with me to a golf tournament, much less subjecting her grandparents to her all by their lonesome. So it'll be more tv-watching tomorrow afternoon. Ain't summer vacation grand?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Recommended Reading: Hound Dog and Ryan Ballengee's Ranking-o-Rama

Getting internet connectivity issues ironed out here in Chiba. Meanwhile, here are links to Hound Dog's LPGA Top 70 and Ryan Ballengee's PGA Top 20. In both, the real question is how close the #2 is to the #1 and how close everyone else is to the #2.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Of Countries and Bodhisattvas

“Hey Kong!”

“Yeah Jump!”

“Didja hear about Onechan and Imoto?”

“No, what happened to them? I haven’t seen them in awhile.”

“They’ve gone to Japan!”

“Japan? What’s Japan, Jump?”


“I don’t know, Kong. I thought you’d know.”

“Sorry, I don’t know, Jump. But maybe Japan is a country, like Norway and Tibet and Nigeria and Argentina and America.”

“America? That’s where we live, Kong. America is a country? I didn’t know that. You learn something everyday.”


“Yeah, America is a country, and so is Japan. And all those other places. Countries have houses and roads and trees and schools and bridges and cities and mountains and lawns and fields and rivers and airports and flowers and candy and trucks and busses and cars and lakes and dogs and fish and lots of stuff.” And after saying all of that Kong was all out of breath. “Wheeuuw.”

“That makes sense, Kong. I heard they were going to visit their grandparents,” said Jump.

“I hope they have a good visit.”

“Me too.”


And so the two friends just sat there together, thinking and being happy together. And then Jump thought of something. “And you know what else?”

“No, tell me Jump. What else?”

“I just heard from Sparkychan. She’s studying to be a bo bo boadi . . . I’m having trouble saying it, Kong, it’s a big word. Something about boadi and sat, boadisat . . . “

“I know”, said Kong. “Bodhisattva!”

“Yeah, that’s it. Bodhisattva! That’s what Sparkychan said. But what’s a Bodhisattva?”

bodhisattva in waiting2.jpg

“I’m not sure, Jump. I think it’s someone who is strong and good and patient and kind and loves everything.”

“Everything? Are you sure about that, Kong? ‘Cause everything is an awful lot.” Jump was very puzzled by this. Wouldn’t you be?

“Yes, everything. Including rats and dirt and thunder’n lightening and germs.”

“Wow, sounds real strange Kong. Anyhow, Sparkychan told me she was having a good time, but it’s hard, and sometimes she misses Onechan and Imoto and Haatochan. And even doggie, even doggie.”


“We’ll have to tell them the next time we see them, Jump.”

“Yes we will, Kong, yes we will.”

And so the two friends talked and laughed and looked at the pictures and thought about Onechan and Imoto and their trip to Japan.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Corning Classic Sunday: What a Finish!

Got up at 4:45 am today (thank you, jet lag!), snuck into the kitchen, turned on the tv, turned down the volume, and started hunting for the Japanese coverage of the Corning Classic, ready to cheer on Ai Miyazato, Seon Hwa Lee, and In-Kyung Kim. But wait, why was the channel it was supposed to be on all staticky? My unsuccessfully stifled cry of dismay brought the Full Metal Archivist from the futons in the family room, but the most she could do for me was tell me she'd never seen that channel go down in her life. Great!

As long as I was up, I decided to keep channel surfing and checking back on the right one, in hopes that coverage would start at 5...or 5:15...or 5:30.... At some point, the static turned into a test signal, which turned into a station identification message, which turned back into a test signal, which turned infomercial?! Yup, the Mostly Harmless Jinx had well and truly struck me. It wasn't until after 7 am that a news program announced that Mika Miyazato had finished 4th (-19) and Ai Miyazato 5th (-17), but with my mother-in-law fast asleep in the computer room and my girls wide awake downstairs, there was no hope of finding out what happened to anyone else.

So you can imagine my surprise when I finally got on-line a few minutes ago and discovered that Ya Ni Tseng birdied 2 of her last 3 holes to tie and then pass the leader in the clubhouse, Paula Creamer, who had dropped her 2nd straight 65 on the field to post a -20 total for the tournament--and that Soo-Yun Kang, whose birdie at 16 had briefly given her the outright lead until Tseng had tied her at -21 with her birdie on 17, bogeyed the final hole to hand Tseng her long-awaited 2nd career LPGA victory. Thankfully, Hound Dog decided to live-blog the final round, so even those like me who missed the TV coverage can get a sense of how the action unfolded. Can't wait to see what he adds to his scoreboard watching after he's processed what he watched on Golf Channel!

[Update 1 (5/25/09, 8:36 pm): Here are Hound Dog's key observations, as well as comments by Jeff Skinner.]

[Update 2 (9:00 pm): Happy Fan has the details on the great competition between the top 2 youngsters on the KLPGA in a final-round match-play showdown that went 27 holes!]

Corning Classic Friday and Saturday: Shootout at the OK Corning!

My apologies for the corny title to this post--jet lag'll do that to ya. If I had done my research, I would have been able to see the fireworks at the Corning Classic on Japanese TV at 4:30 this morning in Chiba. It's not like we were sleeping or anything at that time--and the girls would have been a whole lot quieter had they had something to watch instead of resorting to the "let's wake up mom and dad so they'll play with us" game. Oh, well, tomorrow then! And what a treat we'll be getting, with Japan's own Mika Miyazato a co-leader heading into the final round after her 62 pulled her even with Soo-Yun Kang at -17. Kang's putter is the only thing keeping her ahead of the rest of the field--with only 17 fairways hit and only 77 putts taken, she must be making everything she's been looking at.

But with 22 golfers within 5 shots of the co-leaders and 34 already double digits under par, I don't see someone with as shaky a driver as Kang walking away with the final title to be taken at the Corning. Same goes for Ya Ni Tseng, who saw Miyazato's pair of 30s on the front the last 2 days and raised them with a 28 to stay within 1 of her, as well as Minea Blomqvist and Vicky Hurst. No, I think someone who's been hitting the ball well but not necessarily putting all that great over the 1st 54 holes will make a charge from back in the pack when those putts finally start to drop on Sunday. Will it be Katherine Hull (-14, 88 putts)? Or Seon Hwa Lee (-14, 89 putts)? Or Ai Miyazato (-13, 90 putts)? Or Paula Creamer (-13, 92 putts)? Or In-Kyung Kim (-13, 93 putts)? Or Suzann Pettersen (-13, 94 putts)? Or Cristie Kerr (-12, 91 putts)? I don't know about you, but as much as I love Ai-chan, I'd be overjoyed to see Mi Hyun Kim (-12, 95 putts) shoot her 4th straight round in the 60s and put herself in contention!

Hound Dog wonders if the tournament organizers wanted the Corning to go out with a bang. I'd say the pin placements will be tougher for the final round, so we won't see as many low scores as we have the 1st 3 days, but there's only so much they can do when the weather is perfect and there are a lot of people playing well. Look for the winning score to be right around -20, if not a couple of shots lower. I hope Golf Channel has their cameras out early to follow the Se Ri Pak-Michelle Wie pairing! But they'll have a lot of ground to cover keeping track of the last 10 groups:

Start Time: 11:40 AM
Meredith Duncan
Mi Hyun Kim

Start Time: 11:48 AM
Cristie Kerr
Natalie Gulbis

Start Time: 11:56 AM
Suzann Pettersen
Hee-Won Han

Start Time: 12:04 PM
Paula Creamer
Lindsey Wright

Start Time: 12:20 PM
Ai Miyazato
In-Kyung Kim

Start Time: 12:28 PM
Na Yeon Choi
Sandra Gal

Start Time: 12:36 PM
Mikaela Parmlid
Seon Hwa Lee

Start Time: 12:44 PM
Vicky Hurst
Katherine Hull

Start Time: 12:52 PM
Ya Ni Tseng
Minea Blomqvist

Start Time: 1:00 PM
Mika Miyazato
Soo-Yun Kang


[Update 1 (6:07 am): Never mind Jeff Skinner's transposing Kang's and Miyazato's names early in his last update; he has great details on many of Saturday's low rounds!]

Friday, May 22, 2009

Corning Classic Thursday: Hee Young Park and Karine Icher Go Lowest, But 51 Within 5 of Them

The Constructivist Family is heading out to Japan in a couple of hours, but thought I'd quickly note that the expected fireworks at the Corning Classic came early and often. For overviews, see and Hound Dog. Be sure to check out the interviews. Otherwise you wouldn't find out tidbits like Sunday is co-leader Hee Young Park's birthday. Even John Kekis, one of AP's best writers on women's golf, missed that one.

With all the interesting scorecards to feature, I'll choose 1 and update from the airport: In-Kyung Kim started on the back and birdied 5 of her 1st 8 holes before double bogeying the 18th; then she went bogey-eagle-bogey-double-birdie-par-birdie-bogey-birdie. That's 3 birdies, 3 bogeys, 1 eagle, 1 double, and 1 par, for those counting from home!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Doggie Goes to Japan

Another great story from Grandpa Bob!

Doggie Goes to Japan

One day, doggie went for a walk looking for fun. He heard from some kids who were playing that onechan and imoto were going to Japan. “I’ll go to Japan, too,” he said to himself, “and surprise them. Besides I heard the noodles are very good there!”

So Doggie went to the airport to buy a ticket to get on an airplane to Japan. He was surprised when the ticket man told him they only sell tickets to people. “No dogs allowed!” the man said sternly.

Doggie didn’t think this was fair. Why shouldn’t dogs be able to go to Japan on an airplane?

But then the ticket man felt bad that he had been mean to Doggie. He said, “If you go to the next counter, you will find “Hide a Bone” Airlines. They sell tickets to dogs. In fact, they sell ONLY to dogs. It’s an airline for dogs!”

Doggie went to the next counter and asked for a ticket to Japan but didn’t know what to do when the ticket man there asked him for money. Doggie didn’t have any money! What was he to do?

Then he had a great idea. “If you give me a ticket,” said Doggie, “I will go for walks with you when I get back and play ball with you, too.” The man thought that was a great idea and gave Doggie a ticket to go to Japan and another one to go home with. Doggie got on the plane and slept most of the way to Japan.

When he got to Tokyo, he ate noodles along with a bone. He loved the food and everyone was nice to him. Then he saw onechan and imoto coming out of the airport with their mom and dad. He went to play with them and thought he would have a really good holiday in Japan!

Corning Classic Preview/Predictions/Pairings

With the weather forecast surprisingly awesome for NY's Southern Tier in late May, look for lots of fireworks during the final playing of the Corning Classic. The last 5 holes of the front side, which I ever-so-cleverly dubbed "birdie alley" last year, may well be the key to victory, although it was clutch performances on the back 9 on Sunday that lifted Leta Lindley and Jeong Jang ahead of the field and into a playoff that Lindley won. We'll see if any of the past champions can join Rosie Jones and Betsy King as the only 2-time winners in the 31-year history of the event. I can understand why Annika won't be there to give it a try, and why Lindley can't, but why not Young Kim and Juli Inkster? For that matter, where are Lorena Ochoa and Karrie Webb? Come on, people--there's even a week off before the LPGA returns to action at the State Farm!

Despite these glaring absences, the field is packed. As I emphasized in last year's preview, and as Hound Dog concurs, the course favors the precision players on tour--at least those who can handle its undulating greens. So with my last 2 weeks of PakPicking getting me nowhere, I'm going with my gut this week:

1. Miyazato Ai
2. Kim In-Kyung
3. Shin Ji-Yai
4. Creamer
5. Kim Song-Hee
6. Kerr
7. Ueda
8. Pettersen
9. Miyazato Mika
10. Lee Seon Hwa
11. Yoo
12. Oyama

Alts: Oh, Gulbis, Park Angela

As for the pairings, I find them to be remarkably well-balanced. You can go off any of the prime-time quadrants and follow multiple players with a great chance to win this week. Probably the strongest of them is going off the back in the morning:

Start Time: 8:40 AM
Ya Ni Tseng
Seon Hwa Lee
Wendy Ward

Start Time: 8:50 AM
Helen Alfredsson
Brittany Lang
In-Kyung Kim

Start Time: 9:00 AM
Meaghan Francella
Brittany Lincicome
Song-Hee Kim

Start Time: 9:10 AM
Suzann Pettersen
Lindsey Wright
Morgan Pressel

Start Time: 9:20 AM
Paula Creamer
Ji-Yai Shin
Na Yeon Choi

Unless of course you think those going off the front in the afternoon are more impressive:

Start Time: 12:10 PM
Laura Davies
Eun-Hee Ji
Shanshan Feng

Start Time: 12:20 PM
Rachel Hetherington
Teresa Lu
Alena Sharp

Start Time: 12:30 PM
Christina Kim
Vicky Hurst
Natalie Gulbis

Start Time: 12:40 PM
Cristie Kerr
Angela Stanford
Ji Young Oh

Start Time: 12:50 PM
Kristy McPherson
Michelle Wie
Laura Diaz

Sure, there are a few more players who have been struggling in this quadrant, but how could you not be bowled over by the 12:30 group? I'm sure Golf Channel will be, if they can spare any cameras away from the 12:50 one!

That leaves the Japanese, Korean, and European media to get psyched for the morning front-side pairings:

Start Time: 8:40 AM
Lorie Kane
Liselotte Neumann
Maria Hjorth

Start Time: 8:50 AM
Louise Friberg
Hee Young Park
Silvia Cavalleri

Start Time: 9:00 AM
Carin Koch
Momoko Ueda
Pat Hurst

Start Time: 9:10 AM
Inbee Park
Meena Lee
Ai Miyazato

Start Time: 9:20 AM
Jee Young Lee
Hee-Won Han
Se Ri Pak

If only Jeong Jang's wrist were fully healed from surgery, I'm sure she would have been in that 9:20 pairing. The Japanese media, in particular, had better be in good shape, as their other 2 countrywomen on tour are going off the back in the afternoon. And Shiho Oyama even gets in the prime-time pairings:

Start Time: 12:10 PM
Nicole Castrale
Brandie Burton
Mi Hyun Kim

Start Time: 12:20 PM
Stacy Prammanasudh
Katherine Hull
Angela Park

Start Time: 12:30 PM
Sophie Gustafson
Il Mi Chung
Jimin Kang

Start Time: 12:40 PM
Candie Kung
Meg Mallon
Louise Stahle

Start Time: 12:50 PM
Sun Young Yoo
Michele Redman
Shiho Oyama

And Mika Miyazato's going off right after Oyama. Other notables include LET wunderkind/LPGA slow-starter Amy Yang (8:10 am off #1), comeback-trailer Aree Song (8:20 am off #10), New Yorker Moira Dunn (8:30 am off #1), sponsor exemption Anna Nordqvist (8:30 am off #10, cruel to someone who just jetted over from the Swiss Alps and a top 10 on the LET!), and rookie M.J. Hur (1:30 pm off #1, coming off her best-ever LPGA finish last week), among many others.

The Constructivist family heads off to Japan this Friday morning--we'll be back just in time for the Wegmans Featuring Cheyenne Woods, which I hope to see in person, if jet lag (and the Full Metal Archivist) permits. We'll see how our summer vacation (and my summer writing schedule) affects the golf blogging....

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Too Soon for Cheyenne Woods?

Cheyenne Woods will be playing the Wegmans this June on a sponsor exemption. After the pressure of playing in nationals in her 1st year of college golf--and, I assume, trying to qualify for the U.S. Women's Open--I suppose this won't be too hard on her, but I have to wonder if it's too soon for her to be testing her game at this level.... Sure, she's had a fine year for a typical freshman, but typical freshmen don't get invited to play with the big girls. Hope this goes well for her!

[Update 1 (5/20/09, 12:16 am: Thanks to Jay Busbee's link to this post, Mostly Harmless had its 2nd-most-ever visited/viewed day in its long and illustrious short and sweet history. Heck, I beat Randall Mell to the bloggy linkage by almost 12 hours and Jay had him by almost 2, which leads me to believe Golf Channel has some catching up to do this weekend!]

[Update 2 (1:01 am): Speaking of the U.S. Women's Open, local qualifying has already begun. I assume Woods will be playing at Pinehurst on June 2nd. Let's hope she does better there than at the NCAA Championship--her 1st-round 78 puts her in the middle of the pack on a day when scoring was very high. That's .08 over the field's scoring average, according to Dan Mirocha.]

[Update 3 (1:13 am): Just noticed that Brent Kelley is also helping circulate this story. And he's got more details on Woods's game.]

[Update 4 (10:27 am): John Strege notes that Amanda Blumenherst got the other exemption. I like that Wegmans is committed to growing the tour, but can't help but think a Futures Tour debut would have been more Woods's speed.]

[Update 5 (2:49 pm): Woods's 2nd-round 76 wouldn't come close to making any cuts on the LPGA--her 154 total may not even put her in the top 70 after 36 holes at nationals.]

[Update 6 (5/22/09, 5:47 am): Well, the surge of 5000+ people to check out this page from Jay's link has stopped, but may as well give a shout-out to Jeff Skinner for a good overview of the Cheyenne Woods Story to date. Sorry this link won't result in many visits for you, Jeff! Oh, and Woods's 3rd-round 79 put her at T64 (+17). Scoring is high: there are only 27 players single digits over par or better thus far and some very good players struggling like Cheyenne.]

[Update 7 (6/24/09, 6:12 pm): Just noticed that google is sending Woods watchers this way again. My Wegmans tournament preview is up, for any fans of women's golf in general, not just the most recognizable names in it. But for those looking for real reporting on Cheyenne, try Karen Crouse at the Times and Anna Kim at the Buffalo News.]

[Update 8 (6/27/09, 7:12 pm): Since google keeps sending people to this page, I'll offer a few quick words on Cheyenne's missing the cut at the Wegmans this week. I would have said that anyone who expected her to make the cut was crazy, but after she finished her play last night on the right side of the cut line after her birdie on the 10th, one of the biggest things I was wondering about was whether she could actually do it. A triple on the 12th pretty much ensured she wouldn't, but I like the way she followed up the late pair of bogeys and failure to birdie the short par-5 17th with a walkoff birdie on the tough final hole. So she came much much closer and played far far better than I anticipated. Sure, 113 pros beat her, but among those who didn't were the defending champion and an old friend of mine playing through the passing of her father.

So the real story here is how respectably Cheyenne Woods played and how close she came to making the cut. Sure, she hit less than 60% of her greens in regulation, but it's not like quality players didn't have trouble with Locust Hills' small greens. Look who missed the cut, just like she did. She tied U.S. Open winner Birdie Kim, Solheim Cupper Nicole Castrale, multiple winner Rachel Hetherington, and Louise Friberg (who also has an LPGA win to her name). She came within a stroke of Katherine Hull, Mi Hyun Kim, and former champion Jeong Jang (playing in her 1st tournament since wrist surgery early this season). She got within 2 of Christina Kim, Momoko Ueda, Candie Kung, Meg Mallon, and Leta Lindley, who have all won on tour, as well as Hee Young Park and Shanshan Feng, who will. And she came within 3 of multiple winner Mi Hyun Kim and such up-and-comers as Song-Hee Kim, Ashleigh Simon, and former LET rookie of the year Louise Stahle. That's what I call good company for a rising sophomore who barely cracked the top 100 on the NCAA in her freshman year.

That said, I hope she doesn't do this again for awhile. My dad, a former college golf coach (as well as philosophy professor) watched her play early Saturday morning for awhile and came away impressed with her development. But exceeding our expectations once is one thing. Repeatedly struggling to make LPGA cuts on sponsor exemptions during her summer vacation is another. Until she qualifies for a WAPL (which Jennifer Song just won, by the way) or U.S. Women's Amateur, she should get used to saying no to any and all LPGA invites. If she gets invited to a Futures Tour event (in which Misun Cho is looking to match or surpass Mina Harigae's 65 right now) here or there, that's fine, but I wouldn't recommend playing even there regularly until she's ready to contend. Fortunately, she has teammate Natalie Sheary to seek out for advice on the FT. But she'd be better off listening to those counseling caution on LPGA sponsor exemptions.]

[Update 9 (8:34 pm): Ben Dobbin has the details on the lost ball that lead to Woods's triple.]

[Update 10 (9:02 pm): I basically agree with Jeff Skinner's take (and advice), but come away from Cheyenne's 1st 2 rounds with the pros thinking she's come a long way already.]

Atsui, Samui, Daijo Bu: Global Edition

With events happening on the LPGA, JLPGA, LET, Futures Tour, and China LPGA this past week, it's going to be even tougher to get on my lists of hottest, coldest, and all-rightest women's golfers on the planet.


1. Hee Kyung Seo: Sometimes it's good to take a week off. With the hottest LPGAers struggling, this KLPGA superstar, who has a major and 7 other victories on tour from the 2nd half of 2008 on, is the officially the world's hottest female professional golfer.

2. Sakura Yokomine: Let's see: she's got a 23-event JLPGA top-20 streak going, with 2 wins, 10 top 5s, and 19 top 10s in that run. The last 6 weeks, she's finished 1-2-3-2-6-6. If she could only close the deal more often, she'd be in the #1 spot on the hot list.

3. Lorena Ochoa: Her T19 finish in her bid to get her 4th straight win at the Sybase makes it 6 straight rounds in the 70s for the player with the lowest scoring average and most wins on the LPGA in '09. Look for that trend to end after she skips the Corning yet again.

4. Cristie Kerr: With 2 wins, 2 runner-ups, 15 top 10s, and 23 top 20s in her last 26 events, she's been on quite a run for the past year, so I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt and attributing her T47 finish at the Sybase--the worst in that stretch--to a post-victory hangover.

5. Angela Stanford: Her T65 at the Sybase was her worst finish in her last 13 events (her previous worst had been 15th), so it's a good thing many of the other hot players struggled almost as much as she did in NJ and the ones who did well have blemishes of their own. Hanging onto her #5 spot by the "most wins in the fewest number of recent LPGA events" skin of her teeth.

Honorable Mention

Suzann Pettersen: Two weeks ago, all her great streaks ended at 5 top 20s, 4 top 10s, and 3 top 5s in a row. But I was right last week to ask whether we should "say hello to a new streak this week." She was a shaky putter away from her first win on the LPGA since 2007.

Paula Creamer: Followed up her T2 at the JLPGA's 1st major with a jetlagged T3 in NJ. Not bad!

Ji-Yai Shin: T13 at the Sybase, even with a bad final round, bodes well for a player whose game usually heats up with the weather.

Ji-Hee Lee: How good has she been playing since the start of the 2008 season? Well, not only does she have the longest run of great play in the world of women's golf going, she's also finished in the top 10 in 11 of her last 14 JLPGA events, including 2 wins, a runner-up, and 8 top 5s. The single blemish in that run, a T31, is her only finish outside the top 20 since her missed cut in the opening event of 2008. So never mind that she blew up in the rain on Sunday and finished just outside the top 10 in Fukuoka.

Mi-Jeong Jeon: The heartbreak queen of the JLPGA managed a top 10 last week despite a similarly weak final round in the Fukuoka rains, for her 6th in her 8 events of 2009.


1. Julieta Granada: Continued her new missed cut streak last week. Her best finish of the year is a T53, far better than her 6 MCs....

2. Louise Friberg: That makes 7 MCs in 9 starts in '09.

3. Shanshan Feng: Followed up her 1st top 20 of the year with a missed cut last week.

4. Shiho Oyama: Followed up her 1st career LPGA top 10 by missing the cut by a single stroke at the Sybase.

5. Stacy Prammanasudh: Now riding a 4-event missed-cut streak.

Dishonorable Mention

Inbee Park: Got her 3rd MC of the season last week and 2nd in a row.

Minea Blomqvist: Got her 3rd finish inside the top 50 in '09 last week.... Are things looking up for one of the LPGA's most entertaining players?

Daijo Bu

1. Yuri Fudoh: Last week, I warned, "watch out for her to win any time soon on the JLPGA"--well, she responded with a T2 finish!

2. Ai Miyazato: A 76 on Sunday dropped her to 18th place, but as that's my lucky number, I'm picking her for the win this week at Corning!

3. Song-Hee Kim: When she's good, she's very very good--3 top 6s in 8 events is nothing to sneeze at--so let's give her credit for snagging a top 20 without her A-game last weekend.

4. Ya Ni Tseng: Finally failed to get a top 20 last week at the Sybase, the 1st time in her last 11 events.

5. Karrie Webb: T23 thanks to a terrible final round at the Sybase, but still playing well.

Honorable Mention

Michelle Wie: Her T3 last week caps off a 3-event top 20 run, a huge surprise for me because I didn't expect her game to fit Upper Montclair CC's layout. Let's see how she does at the Corning!

In-Kyung Kim: Her 2nd-straight top-5 finish last week was her 3rd of the season; looks like she's regaining her form from the 2nd half of last season.

Yuko Mitsuka: Last season ended well for her on the JLPGA, with 3 straight top-5 finishes and 5 straight top 20s. She already has a win and just got her 4th top-5 finish of the season last week in Fukuoka.

Chie Arimura: Got off to a terrible start in '09, but she's followed up her win 3 weeks ago with a T11 and a T6 in her last 2 events, so things are looking bright for this young Japanese star.

Brittany Lang: Ouch, T23 at a course she's played great is was not what she needed last week.

Jee Young Lee: Her T23 at the Sybase makes it 3 missed top 20s in a row now, very worrisome for a player with 7 top 10s and 3 top 5s in her last 13 events.

Katherine Hull: Same old song as the last 2 weeks: "Too many bad holes taking away her momentum lately. But could put herself in contention any given week."

[Update 1 (9:56 am): Hound Dog has adjusted his Hot 20 formula a bit. But his criteria remain quite a bit different--and less subjective--than mine.]

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sybase Classic Sunday: Ji Young Oh Outlasts Suzann Pettersen

With Golf Girl and Stephanie Wei blogging the Sybase Classic on-site this past weekend-plus (along with WedgePlayer and PHILK_NJ on Seoul, and Hound Dog doing his usual bang-up final-round play-by-play and reflections on Ji Young Oh's 2nd career victory, I'm on mop-up duty today. (I was too down about the final-round collapses of Ai Miyazato and Moira Dunn to take a stab at blogging yesterday, not to mention taking a little time off from grading to celebrate the Full Metal Archivist's and my 6th anniversary. So let's just say I'm happy to see that a precision player ended up winning, that Candie Kung hung on for a top 10, and that Momoko Ueda came close--and leave it at that.)

When I redo my Best of the Young Guns (the LPGA rookie classes of 2006, 2007, and 2008) ranking at the end of this month, I'm really going to have to think hard about where Oh stands relative to her peers. She's now tied for 2nd-most wins in her generation with Morgan Pressel, behind only Seon Hwa Lee. She's beaten Ya Ni Tseng and Suzann Pettersen for that pair of wins. Not too shabby!

[Update 1 (5/19/09, 11:39 am): Add Jeff Skinner of LinksLifeGolf to the list of Sybase bloggers. I had to qualify his fine point about distance on the LPGA, but, still, a blog worth following!]

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Vernal Ladies Weekend: Saitoh Holds off JLPGA's Finest

Yuko Saitoh held off a Saturday charge by JLPGA legend Yuri Fudoh and then held on in terrible weather conditions on Sunday to preserve an impressive wire-to-wire win at the Vernal Ladies in Fukuoka this weekend for her 2nd career JLPGA victry and 1st since 2004. Almost everyone in the top 20 had a legitimate chance to steal the victory away from Saitoh in the final round, but with the lowest rounds in the field 71s by Miho Koga and Saiki Fujita, nobody could make a big move on her.

1st/-5 Yuko Saitoh (67-70-74)
T2/-2 Miho Koga (73-70-71), Eun-A Lim (68-72-74), Yuri Fudoh (71-67-76)
5th/-1 Yuko Mitsuka (68-71-76)
T6/E Chie Arimura (69-71-76), Sakura Yokomine (68-71-77)
8th/+1 Ayako Uehara (74-69-74)
T9/+2 Nikki Campbell (74-71-73), Nobuko Kizawa (71-71-76), Mi-Jeong Jeon (73-68-77)

T12/+3 Saiki Fujita (75-73-71), Ji-Woo Lee (78-66-75), Ji-Hee Lee (70-70-79)
T15/+4 Hyun-Ju Shin (71-73-76), Yukari Baba (71-71-78), Namika Omata (71-70-79)
T18/+5 Akiko Fukushima (78-71-72), Miki Saiki (74-71-76)
T22/+6 Yun-Jye Wei (72-75-75), Mie Nakata (73-72-77)
T27/+8 Midori Yoneyama (74-74-76), Hiroko Yamaguchi (73-73-78), Shinobu Moromizato (71-74-79)
T34/+10 Ah-Reum Hwang (75-74-77), Ritsuko Ryu (77-69-80), Rui Kitada (71-73-82)
T37/+11 Yuki Ichinose (76-70-81)
T44/+13 Hiromi Mogi (77-71-81)

The following players missed the cut or withdrew:

+6 Maiko Wakabayashi (78-72), Bo-Bae Song (76-74), Erina Hara (76-74)
+7 Tamie Durdin (76-75)
+8 Akane Iijima (78-74), Mayu Hattori (77-75), Kumiko Kaneda (73-79)
+9 Kaori Higo (77-76), Esther Lee (74-79)
+10 Sakurako Mori (81-73), Rikako Morita (78-76)
+15 Mai Arai (78-81)
+17 Riko Higashio (82-79)
WD Woo-Soon Ko (84-WD)

Here's how the money list looks now:

1. Sakura Yokomine ¥40.18M
2. Shinobu Moromizato ¥33.21M
3. Yuko Mitsuka ¥32.90M
4. Yuko Saitoh ¥28.25M
5. Ji-Hee Lee ¥25.76M
6. Mi-Jeong Jeon ¥25.13M
7. Ah-Reum Hwang ¥24.53M
8. Ayako Uehara ¥23.16M
9. Chie Arimura ¥22.40M
10. Erina Hara ¥19.36M
11. Tamie Durdin ¥18.95M
12. Miho Koga ¥17.28M
13. Yuri Fudoh ¥15.64M
14. Ji-Woo Lee ¥14.47M
15. Eun-A Lim ¥10.77M
16. Yukari Baba ¥10.64M
17. Bo-Bae Song ¥10.38M
18. Akiko Fukushima ¥10.27M
19. Julie Lu ¥10.01M
20. Mie Nakata ¥9.80M
21. Midori Yoneyama ¥9.00M
22. Hyun-Ju Shin ¥8.89M
23. Kaori Aoyama ¥8.67M
24. Ji-Yai Shin ¥8.48M
25. Hiromi Mogi ¥7.52M
26. Akane Iijima ¥7.18M
27. Rui Kitada ¥7.13M
28. Kuniko Maeda ¥7.07M
29. Nikki Campbell ¥6.91M
30. Michie Ohba ¥6.10M

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sybase Classic Saturday: And Then There Were 5?

Hound Dog is almost right: if I could turn cartwheels, I would be over Ai Miyazato's and Moira Dunn's position at the 54-hole mark of the Sybase Classic. When 2 of my favorite players are in the hunt, you bet I'm psyched. But they'll need a lot of help from the 5 leaders. After all, it took Miyazato 25 holes and Dunn 21 to catch 1st-round leader Helen Alfredsson, and there's only 18 left to play.

Plus, the odds of these 5 players going above par tomorrow don't appear to be that good. Co-leader Ji Young Oh hasn't shot worse than 69; co-leader Suzann Pettersen hasn't shot worse than 70 (nor has Paula Creamer or Michelle Wie, who sit equidistant between the co-leaders and my faves); and 2nd-round leader Brittany Lincicome's worst was today's 72.

On the other hand, the course will play quite different in cooler weather tomorrow, so anything still can happen!

Sybase Classic Friday: After 36, It's...Lincicome? And Bogey-Free?!

Nothing against Brittany Lincicome, but she's not the kind of player I imagined would be leading the Sybase Classic at any point in the tournament, much less after 36 holes of bogey-free golf. Sure, she outduelled Cristie Kerr and Kristy McPherson in the LPGA's 1st major of 2009 and she went super-low on Thursday, but if anyone among the leaders was going to come back to the field in a big way, I expected it to be her, not Helen Alfredsson, who took 14 more strokes yesterday to get around Upper Montclair Country Club than the day before. But, no, both the scoreboard and the interviews page confirm it: Lincicome is one of only 2 golfers in the entire field to break 70 both times out and at -11 she's 2 shots up on the other player, Ji Young Oh, and Suzann Pettersen, who just missed joining them. With scoring conditions getting more difficult, the only other player within 5 shots of Lincicome's lead is Wendy Doolan, who caught Alfredsson on the strength of the 2nd-best round of the day, a bogey-free 68.

That's not to say the rest of the field was stuck in neutral. Song-Hee Kim fired the best round of the day, a 6-birdie 67 that could have gone either way--after an opening bogey-free 32, she double bogeyed the par-4 10th but bounced right back with an eagle on the par-5 11th--to lead a quartet of fine golfers who shot 69s yesterday to join her at -5 (Paula Creamer, Karrie Webb, Michelle Wie, and Sandra Gal, all of whom made charges on their back 9s to get there). They're no relation, but Okinawan sensations Ai Miyazato and Mika Miyazato acted like twins, bogeying their last hole, the tough par-4 9th, to botch their bids to match Kim's score. So they had to settle for T17 at -3, 1 shot behind Candie Kung, Moira Dunn, and Becky Morgan, whose 69s pulled them even with Ji-Yai Shin, Jee Young Lee, and Katherine Hull, 7 shots behind Lincicome. Bottom line: it's not like this is going to be a 3-golfer race over the last 36 holes.

Particularly with the weather forecast for the weekend rather shaky, those players with earlier starting times Saturday and later ones Sunday may have an advantage. So moving day takes on added importance for Lorena Ochoa (9:40 am), Angela Stanford (9:20 am), Brittany Lang (9:30 am), Ya Ni Tseng (9:50 am), and In-Kyung Kim (10:00 am), who, along with their playing partners, have a great chance to finish their rounds before any afternoon precipitation may roll in. If even Ochoa could come back to the field so quickly last weekend, who's to say who the 54-hole leader, much less the winner, will be?

Well, we do know who can't win: Seon Hwa Lee missed only the 6th cut of her career, while Shiho Oyama has to feel even worse, having finished bogey-bogey to also miss the cut by a single stroke. Joining them on the wrong side of the cut line were a host of players you'd expect to be in the top 30: Sun Young Yoo, Kristy McPherson, Nicole Castrale and Meena Lee also missed it by 1 shot; Lindsey Wright, Mi Hyun Kim, Sophie Gustafson, Maria Hjorth, Stacy Prammanasudh, and Shi Hyun Ahn missed it by 2; and Pat Hurst, Inbee Park, Morgan Pressel, Shanshan Feng, Amy Yang, Karen Stupples, and Laura Diaz missed it by more. Yikes!

[Update 1 (1:55 am): Hound Dog believes those going off early Saturday will need to go low both rounds on the weekend to reel the leaders in. I think it could just take 1 low and 1 good round. We'll see who's right!]

[Update 2 (2:10 am): Golf Girl was there Friday and opens with a few fashion shots.]

[Update 3 (2:18 am): For a different flavor of on-site commentary, check out wedgeplayer on the 1st 2 rounds and PHILK_NJ on the pro-am, both at Seoul]

Friday, May 15, 2009

Vernal Ladies Friday: Yuko Saitoh and So-Hee Kim Lead by 1

Yuko Saitoh and So-Hee Kim's 67s lifted them ahead of some of the hottest golfers in the world at the Vernal Ladies today on the JLPGA, including Sakura Yokomine (68) and Ji-Hee Lee (70). Fuller report coming later, but check out the scorecards for yourself--just click on the player's name for her bio page!

[Update 1 (5/16/09, 1:40 am): Here's a quick 1st-round rundown....

T1/-5 Yuko Saitoh, So-Hee Kim (67)
T3/-4 Sakura Yokomine, Yuko Mitsuka, Eun-A Lim (68)
6th/-3 Chie Arimura (69)
T7/-2 Ji-Hee Lee, Mika Takushima (70)
T9/-1 Yuri Fudoh, Shinobu Moromizato, Hyun-Ju Shin, Yukari Baba, Rui Kitada, Namika Omata, Michie Ohba, Nobuko Kizawa (71)

T17/E Yun-Jye Wei (72)
T21/+1 Mi-Jeong Jeon, Miho Koga, Mie Nakata, Hiroko Yamaguchi, Kumiko Kaneda (73)
T31/+2 Ayako Uehara, Miki Saiki, Midori Yoneyama, Nikki Campbell, Esther Lee (74)
T42/+3 Ah-Reum Hwang, Saiki Fujita (75)
T51/+4 Erina Hara, Bo-Bae Song, Tamie Durdin, Yuki Ichinose (76)
T68/+5 Hiromi Mogi, Mayu Hattori, Kaori Higo, Ritsuko Ryu (77)
T80/+6 Akiko Fukushima, Akane Iijima, Ji-Woo Lee, Maiko Wakabayashi, Rikako Morita, Mai Arai (78)
T101/+9 Sakurako Mori (81)
105th/+10 Riko Higashio (82)
106th/+12 Woo-Soon Ko (84)

If I missed anyone, I'll fix it in my 2nd-round report!]

Sybase Classic Thursday: Alfredsson's Shocking 62 Sets the Pace

Hound Dog gives you the rundown on Helen Alfredsson's shocking 62 that set the pace in the opening round of the Sybase Classic, but puts it in the context of other such amazing rounds as Brittany Lincicome's walkoff-eagle-aided 64, Suzann Pettersen's 9-birdie 65, and Ji Young Oh's same-side-par-4-eagle/hole-in-one-fueled 66. What's worth adding is that Alfredsson not only broke the tournament record but also went 6 shots lower than her previous best round in 2009. In fact, as points out, she even outdid her previous career-low round, the 2nd-round 63 at the Evian Masters that propelled her to her 1st of 2 wins in 2008. And as Alfredsson herself notes in her post-round interview, she had her opportunities to go even lower.

Tom Canavan focuses so much on Ochoa's need for a comeback from 9 back and on getting quotes from the 3 leaders that he even misses the key details on Oh's round. So forget about him mentioning that the other hottest golfers on the LPGA also have loads of grounds to make up in the next 54 holes: #1 Cristie Kerr is 10 back and #3 Angela Stanford is 11 back, while Ji-Yai Shin is 7 back, Ya Ni Tseng is 9 back, and Karrie Webb is 8 back. He also misses some of the more interesting rounds out there, like Michelle Wie's 7-birdie, 5-bogey roller coaster, Brittany Lang's 4 consecutive birdies near the end of her day to secure her 68, and Ashleigh Simon's 39-32 comeback as she's coming back from her back troubles (speaking of which, Jane Park's kept her from starting this week).

More important, though, only 12 golfers broke 70 yesterday, so the 4 who broke into the mid-60s (or better) have a huge advantage heading into today's round. We'll see if the bombers can keep it straight enough for their distance to make a difference, or whether (as I predicted) the precision players will yet have their day!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Atsui, Samui, Daijo Bu: Capsule Edition

Seeing as how Hound Dog got his latest Hot 20 out in what has to be a very stressful week for him and his family, the least I could do was put out my own list of the hottest, coldest, and all-rightest in the world of women's golf.


1. Cristie Kerr: Two weeks ago, I asked, "But when's she going to get another win?" Well, she answered that question pretty quickly. Make that 2 wins, 2 runner-ups, 5 top 10s in a row, 15 overall, and 23 top 20s in her last 25 events. That's quite a year!

2. Lorena Ochoa: She could have salted away her #1 spot from the last time I included LPGA golfers on this list with her 4th win in 13 events and 2nd in a row, but she came back to the field fast last weekend.

3. Angela Stanford: A quiet, steady top 10 last week gives her 3 wins and no finish worse than 15th in her last 12 events, but to get back to the top of this list, she's going to have to do better.

4. Hee Kyung Seo: Move over, Ji-Yai! Even though last week Sun Ju Ahn stopped her bid for her 3rd straight win on the KLPGA this season, she's still got a KLPGA major and 7 other victories on tour from the 2nd half of 2008 on!

5. Sakura Yokomine: Let's see. She's got a 22-event JLPGA top-20 streak going, with 2 wins, 10 top 5s, and 18 top 10s in that run. The last 5 weeks, she's finished 1-2-3-2-6. Good enough for me to displace Shin.

Honorable Mention

Ji-Yai Shin: A great final round--the best of the field on a tough Sunday set-up--salvaged what was otherwise a disappointing week, but less so than those behind her on the list.

Ji-Hee Lee: She's only finished in the top 10 in 11 of her last 13 JLPGA events, including 2 wins, a runner-up, and 8 top 5s. The single blemish in that run, a T31, is her only finish outside the top 20 since her missed cut in the opening event of 2008. That's the longest run of great play in the world of women's golf. And with her top 5 last week in the JLPGA's 1st major of 2009, don't look for it to come to an end any time soon.

Mi-Jeong Jeon: Another runner-up last week for the heartbreak queen of the JLPGA.

Ya Ni Tseng: Somehow managed a top 20 at Kingsmill last week despite playing 3 indifferent rounds of golf on a vulnerable course.

Suzann Pettersen: Instead of a win, all her great streaks came crashing to a close last week: say good-bye to the 5 top 20s in a row, 4 top 10s, and 3 top 5s. But say hello to a new streak this week?

Karrie Webb: Well, her top-20 streak ended at 6 last week, just as her top-10 streak ended at 3 a couple of weeks before.


1. Julieta Granada: Started a new MC streak last week. Her best finish of the year is still a T53....

2. Louise Friberg: Sorry to do this to a newlywed, but notching her 6th missed cut in 8 official starts on the LPGA in '09 (this time by a stroke) last week is not the recipe to kill the "sophomore jinx."

3. Minea Blomqvist: Her T28 tied her best finish of the year (they're her only 2 inside the top 50 in '09), but she squandered an opening 66 to do it.

4. Shanshan Feng: Got her 1st top 20 of the year on the number last week--start of a virtuous cycle?

5. Shiho Oyama: A great top 10 for a rookie struggling with tendonitis in both elbows almost gets her off the cold list!

Dishonorable Mention

Stacy Prammanasudh: Now riding a 3-event missed-cut streak.

Inbee Park: Got her 2nd MC of the season last week.

Candie Kung: Missed her 2nd cut in her last 3 events last week.

Daijo Bu

1. Paula Creamer: Let's give her credit for a gutsy 65 last Sunday that almost freed her from the burden of the "Best Player Never to Have Won a JLPGA Major" label.

2. Na Yeon Choi: Followed up a great week at Tres Marias with a T15 at Kingsmill. Not bad.

3. Song-Hee Kim: When she's good, she's very very good--3 top 6s in 7 events is nothing to sneeze at--so look for her to keep on contending this season fairly regularly.

4. Ai Miyazato: Unexpected top 10 last week gives me hope for more good things to come in the coming weeks from Ai-chan!

5. Lindsey Wright: Except for a bad start to the season in Hawaii, she's played great since then, improving on her previous week's finish in every week but the 3rd of the season. Given that her last two have been a 4th and a T3 and she was in contention in both, that means....

Honorable Mention

Yuri Fudoh: Only got a T11 in the JLPGA's 1st major, but she's playing more consistently in '09 than she did in the early going last season, so watch ut for her to win any time soon on the JLPGA.

Chie Arimura: Got off to a terrible start in '09, but followed up her win two weeks ago with a T11 last week.

Brittany Lang: Unexpectedly weak showing at the Michelob Ultra makes me wonder if she can take advantage of a course she likes this week.

Katherine Hull: Nothing from last week makes me change my judgment from the last time I wrote about her: "Too many bad holes taking away her momentum lately. But could put herself in contention any given week."

Jee Young Lee: Last time, I wrote that "I'm not too worried" about her missing only her 2nd top 20 in her last 12 events, given her 7 top 10s and 3 top 5s in that stretch, but with her MC last week on a course she's owned in the past, I'm officially worried.

Bo-Bae Song: Missed the top 10 for the 3rd time in a row last week on the JLPGA, but hasn't finished worse than 16th all season.

Yuko Mitsuka: Last season ended well for her on the JLPGA, with 3 straight top-5 finishes and 5 straight top 20s. She already has a win and 2 other top-5 finishes this season, plus she's coming off a T7 2 weeks ago and a top 15 in the JLPGA's 1st major.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Around the World of Women's Golf in 5 Easy Links

The only major professional women's tour not on tap this week is the KLPGA. Here's a quick tour of the tours that are holding competitions:

Futures Tour: KC.
LET: Swiss Alps.
China LPGA: Beijing.
LPGA of Japan: Fukuoka.

Sybase Classic Preview/Predictions/Pairings

As notes, Lorena Ochoa has a chance this week at the Sybase Classic to join Annika Sorenstam and Laura Davies as the only players in the history of the tour to win the same event 4 consecutive times. If she were to accomplish that astounding feat, she'd also notch her 3rd win of the season before anyone else got her 2nd, which would go a long way toward putting last weekend's pain behind her.

Even with that much at stake this week, there's no chance for any not-quite-live-blogging on this end this time around--we leave for Japan in a week and there's too much to get done before then. In fact, I'll be totally lazy efficient and point you toward last year's preview post. Here's hoping my picks do better this year than last:

1. Ochoa
2. Kerr
3. Lang
4. Shin
5. Kim Song-Hee
6. Wright
7. Creamer
8. Kim In-Kyung
9. Miyazato Ai
10. Lee Seon Hwa
11. Pressel
12. Ji

Alts: Choi Na Yeon, Castrale, Ward

With such a packed field, this is much tougher than last year. The 2 best pairings are going off at opposite times:

1st tee, 9:16 AM
Lorena Ochoa
Paula Creamer
Cristie Kerr

10th tee, 12:54 PM
Lindsey Wright
Ji-Yai Shin
Song-Hee Kim

The rest of the pairings are pretty evenly matched, usually with someone playing well, someone coming off a bad week, and someone having a tough season. Exceptions include:

1st tee, 8:54 AM
Michelle Wie
Wendy Ward
In-Kyung Kim

Kim and Ward are coming off great performances last week, while Wie may have trouble with the tight fairways this week.

10th tee, 8:54 AM
Angela Park
Sun Young Yoo
Brittany Lang

All have had pretty excellent seasons so far, but Park and Yoo are real question marks this week.

10th tee, 9:05 AM
Na Yeon Choi
Eun-Hee Ji
Rachel Hetherington

Choi was in contention last year, Ji's been playing well in '09 but not lately, and Hetherington is one of those vets who could put it together any given week.

There's much more to be said, but not by me!

[Update 1 (1:41 pm): Fortunately, Golf Girl is there to pick up the slack. Literally, there. Check out her on-site blogging when you get a chance this week.]

[Update 2 (5/14/09, 12:03 am): Here's Hound Dog's preview and Golf Girl's profile of Cristie Kerr.]

Monday, May 11, 2009

Michelob Ultra Open Sunday: Kerr Does What It Takes

After 3 days of fireworks, players went into lockdown mode on Sunday at the Michelob Ultra Open. The best scores of the day were turned in by Ji-Yai Shin (who made 5 birdies in a row as she made the turn, on the way to a 66), Katherine Hull (a solid 67), and Kyeong Bae (ditto), but they were all too far back for their virtuosity to make a difference. Among the leaders, Ai Miyazato turned in the most explosive round: after making 3 birdies and 4 bogeys on the front, she shot a bogey-free 31 on the back, including an eagle on the par-5 15th, for a 68 that got her to -8 for the tournament and into the top 10 for the 3rd time in 7 starts this season. But for the leaders and hopefuls, Sunday was a different story entirely.

Lorena Ochoa's 2nd-straight 74 was also her 2nd-consecutive 2-birdie performance; she stayed in the top 10, but just barely. Natalie Gulbis got it to -11 with a birdie on the 8th hole, but a 37 on the back allowed Angela Stanford to catch her at -9. Shiho Oyama got it to double digits under par with a fine 69 for her best performance of 2009. But these players were never a factor. Wendy Ward, for a time, was. With 3 birdies in her 1st holes, she was -13 for the tournament and making up ground on the leaders fast, closing to within 3 of Cristie Kerr, 2 of Lindsey Wright and In-Kyung Kim, and 1 of Song-Hee Kim (who herself started hot with 3 birdies in her 1st 4 holes before bogeying the 5th and 7th) as they made the turn. But a pair of bogeys on the 13th and 14th ended the resurgent veteran's title hopes.

The back was an equal-opportunity heartbreaker, though. After a birdie on the 10th catapulted Wright into a tie for the lead, she proceeded to bogey 3 of her last 6 holes. In-Kyung Kim was briefly tied for the lead when both Kerr and Wright bogeyed the par-3 13th, but she bogeyed the 14th and 16th herself to offset her birdie on the 15th and never challenged for the lead again. Song-Hee Kim, on the other hand, pulled herself into a tie for the lead with a birdie on the 14th and actually had the solo lead for a short time until Kerr matched her birdie on the 15th. But a double bogey on the 16th and a bogey on the 18th sunk her chances.

In the end, then, it was Kerr who was the toughest down the stretch, as she parred out to take a 2-shot victory, the 12th of her career and her 2nd at Kingsmill, and in the process leap to the top of the LPGA money list. She's now only 6 points behind Ochoa in the Player of the Year race and only 40ish points behind Paula Creamer (who finished 2nd in Japan on Sunday) in the race to lead the U.S. qualifiers for the Solheim Cup. Not a bad way of answering my question from the end of last month and breaking the Mostly Harmless jinx!

[Update 1 (9:07 am): Here's Hound Dog's final-round recap, from notes taken while staying with his dad at the hospital Sunday.]

[Update 2 (9:13 am): Here's Golf Girl's take on Kerr's going for the green in 2 on 15, the key turning point of the back 9.]

[Update 3 (11:39 am): Here's Hound Dog's epilogue. Personally, I would have put Suzann Pettersen as my big disappointment; even though she made the cut and Sun Young Yoo didn't, she was riding an even hotter streak coming into the Michelob Ultra.]

[Update 4 (4:28 pm): Nice post by Ryan Ballengee on Kerr's win extending her lead in the "most wins by an American on the LPGA in the 2000s."]

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Salonpas Cup Sunday: Vindication for Shinobu Moromizato

22-year-old Shinobu Moromizato held on for a 1-shot victory in the JLPGA's 1st major of 2009, the Salonpas Cup. Not only did she have to withstand charges from her playing partners, Mi-Jeong Jeon and Akiko Fukushima, but she also had to deal with the pressure of the leader in the clubhouse being none other than Paula Creamer, whose almost-flawless 65 brought her to -12 for the tournament.

The American superstar, whose pairing with Sakura Yokomine and Li-Ying Ye was 2 groups ahead of Moromizato's, started the day 5 shots back, but she birdied the long par-4 2nd, eagled the short par-5 5th, and birdied the longish par-3 6th for a 32 on the front that brought her to -9 at the turn. But the other leaders were playing great golf, too. Yokomine's 33 brought her to -8, Fukushima's 34 to -10, and Jeon's 32 to -11. Even Ji-Hee Lee had joined the hunt after her own opening 32 brought her to -7. Moromizato, though, was threatening to make all their efforts moot, as she made 5 birdies on the front to offset her lone bogey on the par-5 3rd, to get to -14 for the tournament. And when she birdied the long par-3 13th, the tournament was hers to lose. Sure, Jeon had climbed to -12 and Fukushima to -11 with early birdies on the back, and Lee had closed her round with a 33 to climb to -10. But at -15 and playing great, Moromizato seemed in control.

Meanwhile, however, Creamer was making a run of her own. After a bogey on the 10th, she rattled off 4 birdies in the next 6 holes--on 2 par 4s, a par 5, and a par 3--to get to -12 through 16. Although Creamer couldn't convert either of her final 2 birdie attempts, Moromizato must have started to feel the pressure, because she bogeyed the 401-yard 14th and followed it up with another bogey on the 371-yard 16th. Although Jeon and Fukushima also bogeyed the 16th to remain 2 and 3 shots behind Moromizato, they bounced right back with a birdie and an eagle, respectively, on the par-5 17th. So Moromizato held a slim 1-shot lead on her playing partners heading into the 18th, and needed to avoid a bogey to fall back into a tie with Creamer at -12 for the tournament. As usual, Kyodo wire service leaves out the key details of the final hole, but when the dust settled, the leaderboard looked like this:

1st/-13 Shinobu Moromizato (69-70-67-69)
T2/-12 Paula Creamer (71-68-72-65), Mi-Jeong Jeon (68-69-72-67)
4th/-11 Akiko Fukushima (68-68-72-69)
5th/-10 Ji-Hee Lee (68-71-74-65)
6th/-9 Sakura Yokomine (73-67-71-68)
T7/-8 Hyun-Ju Shin (68-73-71-68), Yukari Baba (69-72-70-69), Tamie Durdin (69-71-70-70)
10th/-4 Li-Ying Ye (72-69-70-73)

T11/-2 Yuri Fudoh (72-71-72-71), Chie Arimura (70-71-69-76)
T14/-1 Yuko Mitsuka (72-74-70-71), Bo-Bae Song (73-68-75-71), Maiko Wakabayashi (70-68-74-75)
T17/E Miho Koga (73-70-73-72)
T19/+1 Hiroko Yamaguchi (71-73-76-69), Eun-A Lim (73-70-74-72), Ah-Reum Hwang (69-72-73-75)
T25/+2 Yuko Saitoh (75-72-76-67), Akane Iijima (71-73-75-71), Ayako Uehara (73-70-72-75)
T31/+3 Rui Kitada (74-74-72-71), Ji-Woo Lee (78-70-70-73), Hiromi Mogi (74-71-73-73)
T39/+5 Saiki Fujita (70-77-73-73)
44th/+7 Da-Ye Na (73-72-75-75)
T45/+8 Woo Soon Ko (73-75-76), Miki Saiki (75-72-77), Erina Hara (72-75-76-73), Midori Yoneyama (75-73-74-74), Yun-Jye Wei (70-78-73-75)
T53/+9 Yuki Ichinose (71-76-72-78)
T55/+10 Rikako Morita (74-73-77-74)

Moromizato's 2nd JLPGA major victory and 4th career win must be sweet vindication for a young player who hadn't met with much success on the LPGA in her earlier years. Now she's rocketed up from 16th on the JLPGA money list to 2nd:

1. Sakura Yokomine ¥36.43M
2. Shinobu Moromizato ¥32.42M
3. Yuko Mitsuka ¥27.90M
4. Ji-Hee Lee ¥24.08M
5. Ah-Reum Hwang ¥23.85M
6. Mi-Jeong Jeon ¥23.00M
7. Ayako Uehara ¥20.16M
8. Erina Hara ¥19.36M
9. Tamie Durdin ¥18.95M
10. Chie Arimura ¥18.65M
11. Ji-Woo Lee ¥12.79M
12. Bo-Bae Song ¥10.40M
13. Yuko Saitoh ¥10.25M
14. Miho Koga ¥10.02M
15. Yukari Baba ¥9.26M
16. Julie Lu ¥9.22M
17. Akiko Fukushima ¥9.22M
18. Mie Nakata ¥8.88M
19. Kaori Aoyama ¥8.67M
20. Ji-Yai Shin ¥8.48M
21. Yuri Fudoh ¥8.38M
22. Midori Yoneyama ¥8.21M
23. Hyun-Ju Shin ¥7.51M
24. Akane Iijima ¥7.18M
25. Kuniko Maeda ¥7.07M
26. Hiromi Mogi ¥7.03M
27. Rui Kitada ¥6.45M
28. Junko Omote ¥5.96M
29. Maiko Wakabayashi ¥5.91M
30. Michie Ohba ¥5.57M

Michelob Ultra Open Saturday: Whut Da...?

By now you know the news: the Mostly Harmless jinx is back, in a mutated and more potent form. It hit Jee Young Lee first, whom I singled out in my preview as someone who always plays the River Course well. She missed the cut this week. But its biggest victim was Lorena Ochoa. After Friday's round, and after an entire year of harping on how much the field had been gaining on the world #1, I finally gave in to the evidence and admitted that it looked like Ochoa had gotten her groove back. So what happens Saturday but she stumbles to a 39 on the back and opens the door for 4 players who passed her, 2 who tied her, and 18 more who pulled back within 5 shots of her? Heading into the final round, Ochoa is 5 shots behind Cristie Kerr and Lindsey Wright, 4 shots behind In-Kyung Kim, and 3 shots behind Song-Hee Kim. Holy Unexpected Plot Twists, Batman!

What surprises me even more is that none of these players are the big hitters I expected would dominate this week, given Kingsmill's wetness. Where is Ya Ni Tseng? T13 at -6. Where is Michelle Wie? T28 at -3. How about Suzann Pettersen? T39 at -1. Karrie Webb? Ditto. Vicky Hurst? T51 at +1. Only Angela Stanford among this group is doing at all well this week, and she's only T10 at -7. So it stands to reason that the precision players I picked--Ji-Yai Shin (T51 at +1 after a 76 yesterday) and Katherine Hull (also T51 at +1)--are having off-weeks.

So you heard it here 1st: neither Lorena Ochoa nor Cristie Kerr can win the Michelob Ultra. The winner has to come from someone I didn't pick this week. But don't expect me to name any names!

[Update 1 (7:18 am): Sweet! They're literally going off in pairings for the final round! Betcha Hull and Shin weren't anticipating playing together so early (8:18 am). Sophie Giquel and Anja Monke can commiserate together about how tough the LPGA competition is at 7:54 am. Mika Miyazato has a chance to upstage Vicky Hurst at 8:26 am. Karrie Webb and Brittany Lincicome can compare notes on inconsistency at 9:50 am. Minea Blomqvist and Tseng can drive the ball all over the River Course and make a ton of birdies at 11:22 am. Angela Stanford and Shanshan Feng can show them how to drive the ball at 11:50 am. And that's just some of the more interesting warm-up acts for the final pairings:

Start Time: 11:58 AM
Na Yeon Choi
Il Mi Chung

Start Time: 12:06 PM
Lorena Ochoa
Shiho Oyama

Start Time: 12:14 PM
Wendy Ward
Natalie Gulbis

Start Time: 12:22 PM
In-Kyung Kim
Song-Hee Kim

Start Time: 12:30 PM
Lindsey Wright
Cristie Kerr

It's enough to make me wish I had TV!]

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Salonpas Cup Saturday: Shinobu Moromizato Pulls Ahead

On a day when the 36-hole leaders missed opportunities to distance themselves from the field, ex-LPGAer Shinobu Moromizato leapfrogged into the lead at the Salonpas Cup with the best score of the day by 2 shots, a sizzling 67. 2nd-round leader Akiko Fukushima had gotten to -11 after making birdies on 3 of her 1st 6 holes, but then proceeded to bogey 3 holes in a row as she made the turn and offset her 2 back-side birdies with bogeys on the 15th and 16th, so she remained at -8, 2 shots behind Moromizato. Mi-Jeong Jeon's 72 was much less of a roller-coaster, with but a single birdie and bogey on her card, while Paula Creamer followed up a bogey-free 34 on the front with a birdieless 38 on the back; they remain 3 and 5 shots back, respectively.

So here's where everyone who made the cut stands as they head into the final round of the JLPGA's 1st major:

1st/-10 Shinobu Moromizato (69-70-67)
2nd/-8 Akiko Fukushima (68-68-72)
3rd/-7 Mi-Jeong Jeon (68-69-72)
T4/-6 Chie Arimura (70-71-69), Tamie Durdin (69-71-70)
T6/-5 Li-Ying Ye (72-69-70), Yukari Baba (69-72-70), Sakura Yokomine (73-67-71), Paula Creamer (71-68-72)
T10/-4 Hyun-Ju Shin (68-73-71), Maiko Wakabayashi (70-68-74)

T12/-3 Ji-Hee Lee (68-71-74)
14th/-2 Ah-Reum Hwang (69-72-73)
T15/-1 Ayako Uehara (73-70-72), Yuri Fudoh (72-71-72)
T18/E Yuko Mitsuka (72-74-70), Miho Koga (73-70-73), Bo-Bae Song (73-68-75)
T22/+1 Eun A Lim (73-70-74)
T25/+2 Ji-Woo Lee (78-70-70), Hiromi Mogi (74-71-73)
T28/+3 Yuki Ichinose (71-76-72), Akane Iijima (71-73-75)
T35/+4 Rui Kitada (74-74-72), Saiki Fujita (70-77-73), Da-Ye Na (73-72-75), Hiroko Yamaguchi (71-73-76)
T45/+5 Yun-Jye Wei (70-78-73)
T48/+6 Midori Yoneyama (75-73-74)
T51/+7 Erina Hara (72-75-76), Yuko Saitoh (75-72-76)
T55/+8 Woo Soon Ko (73-75-76), Miki Saiki (75-72-77), Rikako Morita (74-73-77)

It was mainly a day of could-have-beens for the field. Arimura matched Moromizato's scorecard precisely on the front side, shooting a bogey-free 32, but stumbled to a 37 on the back. Durdin offset her 4 birdies with opening and closing bogeys. Hwang double bogeyed her final hole. Uehara offset her eagle on the 391-yard 11th with a pair of bogeys down the stretch. Fudoh and Koga made bunches of bogeys on the back before stabilizing their rounds with walk-off birdies. Hara opened with a 40, recovered with 3 birdies on the back, but erased them with 3 bogeys there, too. Saiki made a 9 on the long par-4 15th.

As it stands, though, only 9 players are within 5 shots of the lead. We'll see who's left standing tomorrow!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Michelob Ultra Open Friday: And When She's On, She's Awesome

My title is the conclusion to a little ditty in honor of Lorena Ochoa's performance through the 1st 36 holes of the Michelob Ultra Open that's been running through my head since I saw that she had followed up her opening 64 with a 65 earlier today. It begins, "When she's good, she's very very good..." If she was the hottest player in the world of women's golf when she was just "good," what will she be now that she's "on"? Let me put it this way: she's made 8 birdies a round in each of her 1st 2 rounds and she still could have gone lower. Or let me try it this way: mid-60s to her is like high 60s to most of the field. Or how about this one? After almost tying the course record yesterday, there were still 29 golfers within 5 shots of her; now it's down to 4. And it took bogey-free 63s by Cristie Kerr and Song-Hee Kim and a five-under-over-her-1st-6-holes 64 by In-Kyung Kim to get them there. (Lindsey Wright got her mid-60s round yesterday.)

Of the rest of the field, only Ya Ni Tseng and Wendy Ward made up ground on Ochoa today, while only Natalie Gulbis and Ai Miyazato kept pace with her. But they started so far back they're still in the 6-shots-and-back club.

Not that others didn't have their chances. A bogey on her last hole, the 9th--which itself represented an improvement on yesterday's double--was the only thing keeping Shiho Oyama from joining both of the above paragraphs. A 37 on the front, her last 9 of the day, put Na Yeon Choi in this paragraph. For Hee-Won Han, it was 2 early bogeys on the back. They're 6 back, with Tseng and Gulbis. Angela Stanford shot her 2nd-straight ho-hum 68 to join Miyazato and Ward 7 behind Ochoa.

And then there are the big-name golfers playing well coming into this week simply left in the dust thus far. Michelle Wie? 8 back after a 67. Ji-Yai Shin? 9 back after a 68. Katherine Hull? 11 back after a 71. Suzann Pettersen? 12 back after a 73. Karrie Webb? 13 back after a 68. Brittany Lang? 14 back after a 74.

I could go on, but the point is clear. Just about all the players who made the cut are going to need to go out of their minds to have a chance to chase down Ochoa, provided she stays "on." And if she reverts to "good," they're still going to have to approach or surpass the course record at least once. We'll see who's up to the challenge this weekend!

[Update 1 (8:21 pm): You must check out geek out to Ryan Ballengee's breakdown of Ochoa's winning percentage for under-par opening round scores, along with accompanying images and charts!]

[Update 2 (5/9/09, 6:16 am): Shiho Oyama revealed in her interview yesterday that she's been playing through injuries in both elbows. Yikes!]

[Update 3 (6:30 am): Dave Teel confirms it's tendonitis, but emphasizes that neither injury nor bad results to date in '09 have gotten Oyama down. Wish all the local media was as good as the SE VA people--check out Golf Observer for a lot of great stories.]

Salonpas Cup Friday: Akiko Fukushima Takes the Lead

At the end of the 1st round of the JLPGA's 1st major, the Salonpas Cup, there were 19 golfers within 5 shots of a lead shared by 4 players. Well, after her 2nd-straight 68, Akiko Fukushima sits alone at the top of the leaderboard, 1 shot ahead of Mi-Jeong Jeon (69), 3 shots ahead of Paula Creamer (68), Shinobu Moromizato (70), and Ji-Hee Lee (71), and 4 shots ahead of Sakura Yokomine (67). From what I can tell, play has been suspended at 3:01 pm Japan time due to heavy rains, with most of the afternoon pairings still out on the course. Among those sure to miss the cut, however, are the LET's leading money winner of 2008, Gwladys Nocera, and JLPGA young guns Esther Lee, Riko Higashio, Sakurako Mori, and Kumiko Kaneda. More when the 2nd round is complete!

[Update 1 (5/9/09, 4:52 am): So the 2nd round is complete:

1st/-8 Akiko Fukushima (68-68)
2nd/-7 Mi-Jeong Jeon (68-69)
3rd/-6 Maiko Wakabayashi (70-68)
T4/-5 Paula Creamer (71-68), Shinobu Moromizato (69-70), Ji-Hee Lee (68-71)
T7/-4 Sakura Yokomine (73-67), Tamie Durdin (69-71)
T9/-3 Bo-Bae Song (73-68), Li-Ying Ye (72-69), Chie Arimura (70-71), Yuriko Ohtsuka (70-71), Ah-Reum Hwang (69-72), Yukari Baba (69-72), Yasuko Satoh (69-72), Hyun-Ju Shin (68-73)

Nice rounds by Wakabayashi and Durdin to lift themselves into contention!

T17/-1 Miho Koga (73-70), Ayako Uehara (73-70), Eun A Lim (73-70), Yuri Fudoh (72-71)
T22/E Akane Iijima (71-73), Hiroko Yamaguchi (71-73)
T27/+1 Hiromi Mogi (74-71), Da-Ye Na (73-72)
T31/+2 Yuko Mitsuka (72-74)
T34/+3 Miki Saiki (75-72), Yuko Saitoh (75-72), Rikako Morita (74-73), Erina Hara (72-75), Yuki Ichinose (71-76), Saiki Fujita (70-77)
T46/+4 Ji-Woo Lee (78-70), Midori Yoneyama (75-73), Rui Kitada (74-74), Woo Soon Ko (73-75), Yun-Jye Wei (70-78)

An eagle on the 365-yard 10th hole helped lift Ji-Woo Lee past the cut line. Saiki eagled the short par-5 5th hole, as well. Nice to see Ko make the cut. But despite 62 golfers squeezing into the weekend, there were other victims to the cut line than the ones I mentioned earlier:

T63/+5 Mie Nakata (74-75)
T70/+6 Nikki Campbell (74-76)
T82/+8 Gwladys Nocera (75-77), Sakurako Mori (75-77)
T87/+9 Esther Lee (79-74), Na Zhang (76-77)
T101/+11 Kumiko Kaneda (80-75), Riko Higashio (79-76)
WD Kaori Higo (76-WD)

The learning curve drags on for Mori and Kaneda....]