Friday, February 19, 2010

Honda LPGA Thailand Friday: Ouch! Creamer Withdraws, Ueda Hot Hot Hot

Scrolling down the leaderboard of the Honda LPGA Thailand just now was an emotional rollercoaster. Momoko Ueda -7 through 14 and tied for the lead with Suzann Pettersen at -9? Fantastic! It's great to see all her hard work starting to pay off. Ai Miyazato stuck in neutral through 7 holes, only -1 on the day and -6 for the tournament? No problem! There's plenty of time for Ai-sama to get it going. Seon Hwa Lee -4 through 12 and tied with Ai-sama? Wonderful! It's great to see the Stone Buddha remembering how to go low again. 68s from Michelle Wie (-4 overall) and Morgan Pressel (-3)? Coolness! Se Ri Pak will need to finish strong to pull ahead of the former and Lorena Ochoa will need to get it going to surpass the latter. Over-par golf from M.J. Hur, Stacy Lewis, and Ji-Yai Shin? Oh no! What's up with the youngsters? 70 by Jee Young Lee? Phew! Nice bounceback from her opening 78. Vicky Hurst DFL? Huh? What's up with that?! WD from Paula Creamer? WTF???????????????????????? Hope she's ok!!

Recovering from that last kick in the gut, I started looking at scorecards. Momo-chan got on a 5-hole birdie train as she was making the turn--sweet! Pettersen picked up right where she left off yesterday, going birdie-birdie to start today's round and -6 over her previous 6 holes--wow, she's going to be tough to beat this week! Ai-sama just birdied the 8th to get to -7 and extend her bogey-free streak to 26 holes--awesome!! Seon Hwa bogeyed the par-4 13th for the 2nd day in a row to slip back to -3 on the day, -5 overall--that's ok, she's still got more birdies in her today. Michelle bounced back from a sloppy start with 6 birdies and no bogeys in her last 12 holes--great, but what the heck happened as she made the turn yesterday (bogey-double-bogey on 9, 10, and 11)?? Pressel -6 over that same closing stretch today--glad to see her scraping the rust off quickly!

Whoops--Ueda and Pettersen just moved to -10! I'll be back with updates in a little while!

[Update 1 (2:22 am): Jamie Belyea confirms what I suspected (via a Creamer tweet)--she reinjured her thumb and will most likely miss the HSBC....]

[Update 2 (2:36 am): Sophie Gustafson is one of many players I expect to have very good 2010s who's gotten off to a bad start this week--today's 78 following on yesterday's 74 puts her 1 shot ahead of Vicky Hurst at the bottom of the leaderboard. But with tweets like these, she's going to win a lot of new fans! 1252 followers for her and counting....]

[Update 3 (2:39 am): Nothing like being there. Beth Ann Baldry was able to add the detail that Creamer left in tears after WDing. All joking aside, I feel terrible for Paula.]

[Update 4 (2:44 am): But the twitter feed is clear--Jamie beat both Baldry and to the web. Nice work, Jamie! Hmm, at about that time, I was getting the girls to bed after we had finished cleaning the house for the Full Metal Archivist's birthday. Her other present? Free time hanging out with a friend from Japan who has a working television to watch Daisuke Takahashi in the short program Tuesday night and the free skate last night. Yup, not only do I exploit my girls' child labor, but I'm super-cheap, to boot!]

[Update 5 (2:54 am): Wait just a second--the twitter feed (and blog time stamp) reveals that Ryan Ballengee beat Jamie to the punch on the Creamer WD. Kudos to Ryan!]

[Update 6 (3:03 am): Driving is an adventure for Christina Kim in Thailand, and I don't just mean on the course--she just tweeted that the bus she was on got in an accident--nobody hurt, but, man, scary!]

[Update 7 (3:09 am): OK, back to the golf. Momo-chan bogeyed 17 for the 2nd straight day and failed to birdie the par-5 18th, so she had to settle for a 65. Maria Hjorth got on a 3-hole birdie train on the back and is -5 over her last 8 to join her at -9, now 2 shots behind Pettersen. Ai-sama (now bogey-free through 31 holes!), Ya Ni Tseng, and Song-Hee Kim have all caught Hee Young Park at -8. With the next-best golfers at -6 (Catriona Matthew and a resurgent Hur), it looks like the lead chase pack has achieved some separation from the next group. Let's see if they can keep it going. They'll need to if they want to remain within striking distance of Pettersen!]

[Update 8 (3:15 am): Nice to see a 68 today from Thai-American Stacy Prammanasudh--after going so low on the Plantation Course last year, I'll bet she was disappointed to find out about the last-minute switch to the Old Course. A couple more rounds like that and she could get her 1st top 10 since last year's event. I'd love to see her regain the form that put her among the best Americans on tour only a couple of years ago!]

[Update 9 (3:24 am): Curious about how my picks whom I haven't been writing about have been doing. In-Kyung Kim went 39-31 yesterday, so her 36-35 (3 birdies, 2 bogeys, all either very early or very late in her round) was less roller-coastery by contrast. At -3 through 36 and T17 at the moment, she's poised for a good weekend. Na Yeon Choi's made 8 birdies and 6 bogeys in her 1st 36 holes, but can't be happy about 2 straight 37s on the back. A double on the par-3 12th has dropped Cristie Kerr back to -4 so far, but she still has 3 holes in which to make a move.]

[Update 10 (3:27 am): Another birdie for Ai-sama!!!! With 4 holes to play, can she reel Pettersen in?]

[Update 11 (3:33 am): Back to my picks. Brittany Lang got it to -3 overall on the back today, but bogeyed 15, 16, and 17 to fall back to a 71 on the day (alone in 31st right now). A double on the 15th brought Ji-Yai Shin to +3 on that hole already and +1 overall (T32). Angela Stanford made an eagle late in her round yesterday as she posted 36-32, but going +3 as she made the turn today took the wind out of her sails for awhile. But at least she's birdied the 16th and is back to -3 overall with 2 to play. Lorena Ochoa has made 4 bogeys today but a birdie on the 15th got her back to -2 overall with the par-5 18th ahead of her.]

[Update 12 (3:47 am): Pettersen birdies 13 to get to -12, Ai-sama birdies 15 to get to -10. Both are bogey-free for 30+ holes. How much distance can they put between themselves and the lead chase pack before they run out of holes today?]

[Update 13 (3:49 am): May I be the 1st person in the world (apparently) to write that Tiger's media event in just over 7 hours is pretty badly timed for the LPGA, too? Elin, think of the ladies and next time make him wait till Monday, k?]

[Update 14 (3:54 am): Speaking of being overshadowed, did you see the scores on the SunCoast Series this week?? Na On Min won at +8! Were they playing in a snowstorm all week??? Her T7 was Hannah Yun's 1st finish outside the top 5 all season. Gotta be sure to get some stories from her about the weather....]

[Update 15 (4:04 am): Pettersen is a beast on the Old Course! She just birdied 15 for the 2nd day in a row and has taken a 3-shot lead on Ai-sama, who's playing the par-5 18th now.]

[Update 16 (4:11 am): Hjorth's 66 puts her even with Momo-chan, but Hee Young Park has a chance to pass them as she plays the 17th. Nice 33 on the back from Karrie Webb to climb to -6 (T8 with Catriona Matthew [68] and Nontaya Srisawang [69]). Great to see Stanford fight back from her double with birdies on 2 of her last 3 holes to return to -4 overall (T14 with Wie, Prammanasudh, and a likely-disappointed Seon Hwa Lee). A walkoff birdie allowed Kerr to close with a 71, tying her for 11th at -5 with a resurgent Kyeong Bae (70). Song-Hee Kim's bogey-free streak ended at 31 holes, but she still has 2 holes left to get within striking distance of the leaders on the weekend. And Ya Ni Tseng is looking for revenge on her walkoff bogey last round after making a birdie on the 17th to get back to -8.]

[Update 17 (4:13 am): Nice job by Ochoa (birdies on 2 of her last 4 holes) to fight back to -3 (T18).]

[Update 18 (4:18 am): Saving this update for Ai-sama, as 18's my lucky number. But Hee Young Park is stealing the show, having joined her at -10 with a birdie on the 17th--her 11th of the tournament, to go nicely with her eagle. Too bad the Rocket fires in all directions--she had 3 bogeys in her 1st 17 holes yesterday, but hasn't made one since. A birdie by playing partner Song-Hee Kim on the same hole pulled her even with Tseng, who parred 18, at -8. Let's see if they can take advantage of the 18th! Unfortunately, Ai-sama couldn't, either, for the 2nd-straight day. She'll have to settle for her 2nd 67 in a row after 36 holes of bogey-free golf.]

[Update 19 (4:46 am): Man, the Rocket rocketed past Ai-sama with a walkoff birdie! Both Kim and Pettersen birdied the 18th, too, so after 36 the top of the leaderboard looks like this:

1st/-14 Pettersen (66-64)
2nd/-11 HY Park (67-66)
3rd/-10 A Miyazato (67-67)
T4/-9 Ueda (70-65), Hjorth (69-66), SH Kim (67-68)
7th/-8 Tseng (68-68)

Now that's a leaderboard!]

[Update 20 (6:40 am): With Creamer's WD, Vicky Hurst gets to play alone tomorrow. As for the other pairings, Ariya Jutanugarn gets to play with Shinobu Moromizato (10:00 am), Natalie Gulbis with Ji-Yai Shin (10:16 am), Na Yeon Choi with Lorena Ochoa (11:04 am), and In-Kyung Kim with Se Ri Pak (11:12 am)--and those are just the tastiest appetizers. Here's the main course:

Start Time: 11:44 AM
Seon Hwa Lee
Angela Stanford

Start Time: 11:52 AM
Stacy Prammanasudh
Michelle Wie

Start Time: 12:00 PM
Kyeong Bae
Cristie Kerr

Start Time: 12:08 PM
Nontaya Srisawang
Karrie Webb

Start Time: 12:16 PM
Ya Ni Tseng
Catriona Matthew

Start Time: 12:24 PM
Maria Hjorth
Song-Hee Kim

Start Time: 12:32 PM
Ai Miyazato
Momoko Ueda

Start Time: 12:40 PM
Suzann Pettersen
Hee Young Park

One guess which pairing I'm most excited about.]

[Update 21 (9:54 am): Here's Hound Dog's take on Creamer's injury. See's notes and interviews page for more on everyone.]


LPGA Fan said...

"One guess which pairing I'm most excited about".

Can I have two guesses?

Oh well,If I have only one guess I'll go with the Start Time of 12:32 PM

The Constructivist said...