Friday, April 2, 2010

Kraft Nabisco Championship Friday Morning: Stupples Makes a Move, Ochoa Keeps Pace

Imoto woke up in the middle of the night afraid of alligators coming down from the ceiling to eat us, so I took her temperature and lo and behold she had a high fever. After a couple of hours with me of scaring away the alligators with a magic light only they could see, her fever broke and she settled down to sleep for the rest of the night. As the Full Metal Archivist had a pretty crucial day at work, I fell on my sword and volunteered to stay home with imoto to make sure her fever didn't come back. So after an hour walk, a couple hours watching Iron Giant, and half an hour of yard work, I'm pretty sure she's ok and I know we're ready for nap time. But before I turn in, let me mention that Kraft Nabisco Championship leader in the clubhouse Karen Stupples no doubt knows whereof I speak. As one of the many moms on tour, I'm sure she's been in similar situations as me. But it's all business for her on the course, as a pair of consecutive birdies to start her day on the back and over 2 of her last 5 holes on the front helped her to her 2nd straight 69.

But Stupples may not have the lead for long. Lorena Ochoa, who's fighting to keep her #1 standing in the Rolex Rankings by staying ahead of Ji-Yai Shin, Ai Miyazato, and Suzann Pettersen (who all could pass her with a win), has responded to a so-so back side with 3 birdies in her 1st 5 holes on the front to join Stupples at -6 for the tournament. Meanwhile, Sophie Gustafson has birdied 2 of her last 4 holes to get to -4 overall and amateur Jennifer Song got to -3 overall twice in today's round, but had to settle for her 2nd straight 71. Not bad for someone who's only averaged 9 fairways and 8 greens in regulation per round--obviously, at 25 putts per round, the flat stick is saving her.

More after I get imoto to sleep!

[Update 1 (3:54 pm): Blogger was down so I actually tried to post the above at 3:00. Well, I fell asleep, but imoto didn't. So I'll try again at 4:00. Here are a few more observations of morning play. If Michelle Wie's putter was working, she'd be leading this thing. As it is, she matched Song's 71 to join her at -2. Nice 70s by Sandra Gal (-2), Becky Morgan (+1), Gwladys Nocera (+1), and Katie Futcher (+2), as well. Looks like it's going to be hard for the afternoon groups to break 70!]

[Update 2 (4:20 pm): Looks like there's no way imoto's going down. And it looks like Brittany Lang may finally be getting her season going. Even after hitting very few fairways over the 1st 36 holes by her standards, this 5th-year straight-shooting Duke grad has managed to go 72-71 to slip into the top 20 (at least for now). She had a chance for a 69, but suffered a walkoff bogey on the par-5 9th. Speaking of closing par 5s, Ya Ni Tseng has a chance to shoot a 71 that would take her to -4 overall if she can birdie the 18th. Gustafson, unfortunately, is back to E on her day and -2 overall with the par-5 18th left to play, as well. Meanwhile, I'm hoping the cut line drifts down to +6 at the end of the day, so that my faves In-Kyung Kim, Jane Park, Mi Hyun Kim, and Jeong Jang will be playing on the weekend.]

[Update 3 (4:21 pm): Ouch! Gustafson bogeyed her 3rd straight hole to close out her round and slip from -4 to -1 overall.]

[Update 4 (4:24 pm): Ji-Yai Shin remains stuck in neutral at E after her 2nd straight 2-birdie, 2-bogey 72. But if she can straighten out her driver, watch out for her on the weekend!]

[Update 5 (4:28 pm): Tseng did it! Walkoff birdie gives her a 71 and puts her only 2 behind Stupples and Ochoa!]

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