Saturday, February 27, 2010

HSBC Women's Saturday: Well, Well, Well, Well...Nice Moves by a Japanese Quartet

Ai Miyazato surged into a tie for the lead at the HSBC Women's Champions today, thanks to an eagle on the par-4 16th that brought her to -7 for the tournament, but she's going to have to outduel a 49-year-old Hall of Famer and outrun 23 other golfers looking to do to her what she did to Suzann Pettersen last week if she wants to win her 2nd LPGA event in a row.

Among them are her friends and rivals from the JLPGA, Momoko Ueda (who shot her 2nd straight 68 to pull within 2 of the lead) and Sakura Yokomine (who birdied 3 of her last 7 holes to stay 4 behind). Even fellow Okinawan Mika Miyazato got into the act, shooting a 5-birdie, 3-bogey 70 to keep within 6 of Miyazato and Inkster. But a quick glance at the top half of the field shows that this is still anyone's tournament. So I'll close with some questions.

Can Hee Young Park, Sun Young Yoo, or Vicky Hurst get her 1st win on one of women's golf's biggest stages?

Can Michelle Wie, Jee Young Lee, or Momo-chan join the LPGA's 2-win club--or Ya Ni Tseng, Na Yeon Choi, or In-Kyung Kim graduate from it--and block Ai-sama from career LPGA win #3?

Can Angela Stanford, Suzann Pettersen, or Cristie Kerr reaffirm their places at the top of the LPGA heap--or Hee-Won Han rejoin them, and, in the process, join Inkster in showing that motherhood and LPGA greatness can go hand-in-hand?

How will Ai-sama stand up against one of the toughest competitors in LPGA history?

Once again, the Showdown in Singapore is living up to its billing. Should be a Sunday for the ages!

[Update 1 (7:00 am): Sweet! Momo-chan is in the final group!]

[Update 2 (7:12 am): That link up there was to the notes and interviews page, by the way. Here are the pairings. And here's where the winner is most likely to come from:

Start Time: 8:58 AM
Karrie Webb
Song-Hee Kim
Mika Miyazato

Start Time: 9:09 AM
Lindsey Wright
Amy Yang
Ji-Yai Shin

Start Time: 9:20 AM
Inbee Park
Michelle Wie
Maria Hjorth

Start Time: 9:31 AM
In-Kyung Kim
Angela Stanford
Jee Young Lee

Start Time: 9:42 AM
Sakura Yokomine
Vicky Hurst
Na Yeon Choi

Start Time: 9:53 AM
Cristie Kerr
Ya Ni Tseng
Suzann Pettersen

Start Time: 10:04 AM
Hee Young Park
Hee-Won Han
Sun Young Yoo

Start Time: 10:15 AM
Juli Inkster
Ai Miyazato
Momoko Ueda

Rooting for Ai-sama, of course, but there are a lot of players I really like in the mix!]

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