Thursday, June 24, 2010

LPGA Championship Thursday Morning: The Eagles Have It!

How tough is Locust Hill playing for the Thursday morning pairings in the LPGA Championship? Well, the only players to have broken 70 (or have a great shot at doing so) had to make an eagle somewhere in their round to get there. With play suspended for the moment, co-leaders in the clubhouse Stacy Lewis and Seon Hwa Lee at -4, theirs came on the par-5 11th and par-4 12th, respectively. For Inbee Park, who trails them by only 1 shot, it came on the par-5 17th. Another commonality among the leaders was how well they played the par 3s, as each of them went -2 on those 4 holes.

But for most of the field, Locust Hill could strike back at a moment's notice--and often did. Birthday girl Juli Inkster and Heather Bowie Young both got to -4 late in their rounds, but each made a pair of bogeys to drop back to -2 (although Inkster has some attackable holes left to play when the storm delay ends). Jeong Jang was -2 on her 1st 9, the back, and playing bogey-free golf through her 1st 10 holes, but had to settle for a birdle-less front and a 71. Na Yeon Choi was -1 with 3 holes left to play, but finished bogey-par-bogey for a 73. And don't even ask about Ai Miyazato--she's hasn't made a birdie all day and is +4 with only a few holes left to play.

Now that the golfers have returned to the course, this is as good a time as any to sign off for the moment. After I pick onechan up from her last day of school, I may be able to get back to not-quite-live-blogging, but we may head out to the Easiest Course in the World for a few holes while the weather is decent here in Dunkirk!

[Update 1 (9:09 pm): Amazingly, onechan chose to hang out with the baby, 1-year-old, and 2-year-old (along with imoto) at day care after school rather than play golf with me. So I headed out alone, played 2 balls, and scraped together a 78 in pretty heavy winds, despite several skulled wedges and a hat trick of 3-putts. So you can bet I would have had trouble breaking 85 at Locust Hill. And that's just with the usual 40-year-old aches and pains. Can you imagine shooting a 71 a few months after wrist surgery? Or a 72 a couple of weeks after an emergency appendectomy? Hats off to Paula Creamer (T11) and Ji-Yai Shin (T20)! They're certainly applying the pressure to Ai Miyazato, who could only manage a 76 today. Her playing partners, Morgan Pressel and Michelle Wie, both hung in there for 72s of their own. At T97, Ai-sama has her work cut out for her to avoid missing her 3rd cut of the season. Not so Juli Inkster (who by the way is now officially twice Ai-sama's age): a birdie at 17 helped offset her 4 late bogeys and salvage a 71 for herself. She's right in the thick of things, despite her stumble down the stretch.]

[Update 2 (6/25/10, 4:36 am): How awesome is Juli Inkster? This awesome:

Q: About this tournament in general, are you thinking of this as a Major? Do you forget sometimes because you have played this course?

JULI INKSTER: I'm trying to think of this tournament as a Major. Because when it's not a Major, I play like crap here. So I am saying this is a new golf course. It's a Major. It's a Major.

I bet you if guys were to look up all of my missed cuts, I would say the most is this tournament bar none. I don't know what it is. I spend 90 percent of my time chipping out under these trees.

I grew up on a golf course just like this. But something about this golf course just gnaws at me, I don't know.

That's pretty awesome!]

[Update 2 (4:53 am): If Amanda Bremer really did walk the course with Ai Miyazato, Morgan Pressel, and Michelle Wie, why so little detail in her story? I could have gotten just as much from checking their scorecards online!]

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