Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cactus Tour Update: Mackenzie Holds Off Friberg and Choe

Looking at the recent results from The Cactus Tour, 2 main questions come to mind.

1) Is Hound Dog right that Paige Mackenzie has made a quantum leap?

In both HD's and tatkins's player performance stats from last season, the 1 name who stood out for unexpectedly strong ball-striking was Paige Mackenzie. So HD went out and put her in his entry into the LPGA Prognostication Derby (whereas I put her within my top 70). HD has a history of identifying relatively early when a player has made a quantum leap and is not just riding a hot streak: he believed in the staying power of Suzann Pettersen, Angela Stanford, and Katherine Hull much sooner and more emphatically than I did, for instance. For Mackenzie to go out and win the 2nd Cactus Tour event is some evidence in HD's favor, not so much because of who she beat, but because she went 70-69-69.

2) Has Louise Friberg put her sophomore jinx behind her?

As good as Mackenzie played, Friberg stayed right with her, going 70-71-69 for a T2 finish with Esther Choe. The week before, Friberg had gone 72-68-71 to finish alone in 3rd, 4 shots behind Kendall Dye. Again, I'm not so much swayed by her high finishes as by the fact that she's shot 6-straight rounds of par or better. That kind of performance is reminiscent of how Ai Miyazato began her 2009 season. There's a lot to be said for playing steady golf generally (just ask Hannah Jun, who went 69-69-77 that week as she tunes up for the LET), but it's particularly important when you're trying to build your confidence back up after a long bad stretch. And Friberg's sophomore season was as jarringly bad as the second half of Miyazato's sophomore season and 1st half of her junior season were, if not worse, because there didn't seem to be any injury triggering it. Let's see if Friberg can keep on keeping on in 2010!

1 comment:

Jim C said...

I heard Paige was a good friend of Michelle Wie. Has that had a beneficial effect on her game?

After the mid season break, Paige came on strong averaging 71 per round her last 8 events. Even if these were not tough scoring events, that is easily top 30 performance.