Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bell Micro LPGA Classic Thursday Afternoon: Blasts from the (Recent) Past

It wasn't so long ago that Katherine Hull was one of the hottest golfers in the world, that Meena Lee, Shi Hyun Ahn, and Jee Young Lee were playing like next-generation South Korean stars, or that Se Ri Pak and Lorie Kane were threats to win any given week. Well, these players and more took advantage of The Crossings at Magnolia Grove from the afternoon pairings in the Bell Micro LPGA Classic and put some pressure on 1st-round leader Azahara Munoz, who had posted a bogey-free 65 in the morning. Hull and J.Y. Lee each shot fantastic 66s, Hull with 7 birdies and Lee with 4 birdies and an eagle on the par-5 16th (seeing Ahn's eagle on the par-4 11th from the morning and beating her by 3). M. Lee fired a 7-birdie 67, while Pak recovered from a double bogey on the par-3 14th to finish with 3 straight birdies for a 69 and Kane matched her with a 4-birdie performance.

But perhaps the biggest name near the top of the leaderboard right now is Cristie Kerr, who used a bogey-free 67 to pull within 2 of the lead. The #5-ranked player in the world of women's golf may have the most to prove on a Lorena-less tour, having suffered a series of near-misses and late struggles last season when she had a chance to become the 1st American to top the LPGA money list since Betsy King in 1993. Among LPGA regulars, only Hall of Famers Juli Inkster, Karrie Webb, and Se Ri Pak, along with Hall-of-Famer-to-be Laura Davies, have more career LPGA victories than she does. Let's see if she can keep her good play going for longer than she did here in 2008.

All in all, 21 players broke 70, 54 went under par, and 67 shot par or better, so everyone over par will have their work cut out for tomorrow. That includes Ya Ni Tseng, Brittany Lang, Krisy McPherson, and Christina Kim at 73, Mi Hyun Kim, Momoko Ueda, Vicky Hurst, and Mina Harigae at 74, Grace Park and Pat Hurst at 75, In-Kyung Kim and Eun-Hee Ji at 76, Maria Hjorth and Jane Park at 77, and Angela Park at 80.

Lots more to say but a thunderstorm is rolling in and it's time to put the girls to bed!