Thursday, June 24, 2010

LPGA Championship Thursday Afternoon: A Tale of Two Favorites

Cristie Kerr and Ya Ni Tseng entered the LPGA Championship with high hopes and great expectations. And they both came out charging from the early-afternoon back-side prime-time quadrant, each getting to -4 through her 1st 8 holes. But from there their fortunes diverged. Kerr cooled off, but hung in there to match the 68s by co-leaders Seon Hwa Lee and Stacy Lewis from the morning pairings. Tseng, meanwhile, played her last 10 holes in 7 over par, thanks to 4 bogeys in a row midway through the front and a double on the par-5 8th to put an exclamation point and a question mark after her opening 75.

By contrast, the top JLPGAers in the field made strong comebacks in their opening rounds. Sakura Yokomine started on the front and was +3 by the time she reached the 11th tee, but from there made 4 birdies, including a walkoff birdie on the tough 18th, to fire an opening 71. Chie Arimura bogeyed 3 holes in a row early on the front, but made 3 birdies in her last 11 holes to fight back for a 73.

Neither could match Mika Miyazato's 69, however, which put her at T4 with Inbee Park and Lindsey Wright. Mikan hit 15 greens, way above her career norms. Fellow 20-year-old Mina Harigae made a pair of consecutive birdies on the back (her front) and the front (her back) and parred the rest of her holes for a solid 72.

While I'm putting the girls to bed, you can head on over to Hound Dog's place for more on the 1st round of the LPGA's 2nd major of the year. I'll be back!

[Update 1 (6/25/10, 4:39 am): Here's Mike Southern's overview of the 1st round!]

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