Friday, July 23, 2010

Evian Masters Friday: The Luck of the Draw

Judging by the scoring at the Evian Masters this morning, the players who had a Thursday-afternoon/Friday-morning draw had the worst of the rains to contend with this week thus far before play was suspended. Sure, the 2 golfers who broke 70 this morning, Sandra Gal (68, +2) and Yuri Fudoh (69, -3), went off in the 7:12 and 8:58 pairings, and Na Yeon Choi and Wendy Ward (also 8:58) along with Suzann Pettersen (9:09) fired solid 70s to move to -6, -1, and -5, respectively, for the tournament. But when you consider that only 5 other players posted under-par scores among the roughly half of the field that has finished their rounds, that there were only 7 even-par rounds, and that 15 players failed to break 75, including Song-Hee Kim (75, -2) and Azahara Munoz (75, +1), the claim is starting to look pretty plausible. And then when you consider that there are 21 players who have finished fewer than 12 holes and are at par or better--including leader Mika Miyazato (who shot a 33 on the front to get to -7 overall with 8 holes left to play), Seon Hwa Lee (who matched Mikan's 33 on the front to get to -1 for the tournament), Laura Davies (who bounced back from yesterday's 81 with 3 birdies in her 1st 8 holes in a bid to make the cut), Paula Creamer (who birdied 2 of her 1st 5 holes and is bogey-free and -3 over her last 24 holes), and Ji-Yai Shin (who birdied 3 and 4 and has moved to -4 on a 24-hole bogey-free run to start the tournament)--the claim is looking awfully strong. And finally when you consider that they won't restart play until the course is good and ready and the conditions are decent at worst--and that the grounds will have been softened up by about 24 hours of rain--well, then, you have to conclude that those still out on the course today really got the luck of the draw.

That's why I expect the top of the leaderboard to change a lot when play resumes:

1st/-7 Mika Miyazato (-3 through 10)
T2/-6 Mi-Jeong Jeon (-2 through 6), Jeong Jang (-2 through 11), Na Yeon Choi (68-70)
T5/-5 Anja Monke (-2 through 4), Gwladys Nocera (-2 through 6), Morgan Pressel (+1 through 6), Meena Lee (-1 through 10), Momoko Ueda (-2 through 11), Suzann Pettersen (69-70), Sun-Ju Ahn (66-73)
T12/-4 Ji-Yai Shin (-2 through 6), Maya Hattori (69-71)

Lurking among the big group with Creamer at -3 right now are Alexis Thompson (E through 6), Michelle Wie (+1 through 6), and Ai Miyazato (E through 7). With Song-Hee Kim at -2 overall we have In-Kyung Kim (-1 through 12), Vicky Hurst (E through 10), and Helen Alfredsson (-1 through 8). With Seon-Hwa Lee, Angela Stanford (who was -5 through 17 yesterday but followed up her double on 18 with a 74 today) and others at -1 for the tournament, we have Anna Nordqvist (+1 through 11) and 1st-round co-leader Melissa Reid (+5 through 5). Looks like for now at least Reid is the exception that proves the rule. We'll see how she regroups when play resumes!

[Update 1 (10:24 am): For the basics, go to the LET's update!]

[Update 2 (10:27 am): Here's some live-tweeting from the Evian Masters people. I gotta go rest my back--something popped down low while I was doing yardwork yesterday evening. Yeah, yeah, I'm seeing a dr. this afternoon--no worries!]

[Update 3 (11:30 pm): Play has resumed, Suzann Pettersen is glad to be done with the 2nd round (although she's wrong that she got a good draw--she just played great!), and Mika Miyazato is at -8 after a birdie on the 11th. I'm off to keep resting my back!]

[Update 4 (12:08 pm): Gwladys Nocera just eagled 9 for a bogey-free 32 that brings her to -7 overall, 1 shot behind Mikan!]

[Update 5 (12:10 pm): Morgan Pressel has bounced back from her opening bogey with birdies on 9 and 10 to join Nocera at -7.]

[Update 6 (12:11 pm): Add Mi-Jeong Jeon to the -7ers. She birdied 9 for a bogey-free 33.]

[Update 7 (12:12 pm): Kyeong Bae birdied her last 4 holes in a row to post a 69 and move to -5.]

[Update 8 (12:14 pm): Whoa, Michelle Wie just took a 9 on the 10 to go to +6 on the day and +2 overall, just 1 above the projected cut line.]

[Update 9 (12:17 pm): Speaking of the cut line, Kristie Smith and Maria Hernandez, who are 1-2 in the LET Rookie of the Year race, will miss it. Christina Kim, who's an LET rookie, as well, is in serious danger of missing it, too. Huge advantage for Azahara Munoz to move up the list with a good finish on the weekend.]

[Update 10 (12:19 pm): Other notables missing the cut include Katherine Hull, Jee Young Lee, and LPGA rookie Beatriz Recari. Brittany Lang and Sherri Steinhauer, among others needs the cut line to move down to +4. That would also help Amanda Blumenherst (+3 overall with 5 holes to play) and Laura Davies (now down to +6 with 6 to play).]

[Update 11 (12:21 pm): It's looking like Eun-Hee Ji, Sophie Gustafson, Karen Stupples, Rui Kitada, and Mariajo Uribe will make the cut at +3, although it is T67 right now, so I'll bet they're sweating a bit.]

[Update 12 (12:24 pm): The course is not playing that easy right now. Check out who's finished at +2 with Sandra Gal: Karrie Webb, Sakura Yokomine, Hee-Won Han, and Hee-Kyung Seo, among others. Wie, Cristie Kerr, and Natalie Gulbis will have to finish strong to outdo them.]

[Update 13 (12:25 pm): Pressel just tied Mikan at -8 with her 3rd birdie in a row, though, so no need to start the "Where in the world are the American golfers?" meme just yet.]

[Update 14 (12:27 pm): Momoko Ueda's bogey-free streak ended at 28 holes. She's playing 18 now.]

[Update 15 (12:28 pm): Ueda liked her drive. Ji-Yaio Shin's bogey-free streak is now 29 holes. She's -5 after a birdie on the 12th.]

[Update 16 (12:30 pm): Maybe it is time to ask where the Americans are! There are 8 Koreans in the top 20, 6 Japanese, 4 Europeans, and 2 Americans. The only country we're beating right now is Taiwan, with 1!]

[Update 17 (12:32 pm): Nocera has a 12-hole bogey-free streak going and just joined Mikan and Morgan at -8.]

[Update 18 (12:36 pm): BTW, Sun-Ju Ahn made a nice comeback earlier today from a stretch of 7 holes in the middle of her round where she made a double and 3 bogeys.]

[Update 19 (12:40 pm): Evian Masters twitter feed now just called evianmasters. They ditched the _SG somewhere. I like it!]

[Update 20 (12:42 pm): Looks like Momo-chan laid up short of the creek on 18 and babied her pitch in. She has what looks like a 40-footer uphill on Evian Masters Live TV...and lagged it to tap-in range.]

[Update 21 (12:46 pm): Pressel's 3-hole birdie run and 10-hole bogey-free run come to a crashing halt on the par-4 12th. She falls 1 behind Mikan and Nocera with her bogey. Jeon bogeys 11 to join Jeong Jang and Meena Lee at -6. Jang's on 18 now.]

[Update 22 (12:48 pm): Creamer doubles 13 to drop out of the top 20. -1 now.]

[Update 23 (12:50 pm): Momo-chan ended up parring 18 for a 71. I saw Anna Nordqvist's eagle attempt slide just right of the cup--she babied it for the line she took--but she did make the birdie to salvage a 73. Ueda's -4 overall, Nordqvist is -1.]

[Update 24 (12:53 pm): A whole bunch more Americans are in the top 20, now that -2 is T20! Juli Inkster, Vicky Hurst, Pat Hurst, Alexis Thompson....]

[Update 25 (12:55 pm): Looks like a good drive from Mikan on 18!]

[Update 26 (12:57 pm): If you've made it this far, you may be interested in my profile of Mika Miyazato from the LPGA Championship.]

[Update 27 (12:59 pm): Ai Miyazato birdies the 14th to get to -4 overall and -1 on her day!]

[Update 28 (1:04 pm): JJ birdied 18 to finish at -7 after following up yesterday's 68 with a 69. She's the 1st with 2 rounds in the 60s!]

[Update 29 (1:05 pm): Jang and Pettersen have both hit 30 of 36 greens so far this week!]

[Update 30 (1:06 pm): Just saw Meena Lee miss a left-to-right 15-footer on the low side on 18. With her par, she matched Na Yeon Choi's 68-70 start.]

[Update 31 (1:09 pm): With Nocera's bogey on 13, Mikan's alone in 1st. She just backed up her wedge from the flat area short of the creek about 15 feet short of the pin, it looks like, with maybe 10 Japanese media people looking on from near the bridge short right of the green.]

[Update 32 (1:13 pm): Jeon's now bogeyed 3 in a row to drop to -4 overall.]

[Update 33 (1:15 pm): Wow! Mikan almost babied her uphill left-to-right birdie putt and almost left it on the low side, but it side-doored in to get her to 67 and -9 overall!]

[Update 34 (1:16 pm): Pressel's now bogeyed 2 of her last 3 to drop back to -6, where she started the day.]

[Update 35 (1:18 pm): M.J. Hur has had an up and down round, but she's just birdied her last 2 in a row to join Pressel and the others at -6 and is playing 18 as I write.]

[Update 36 (1:21 pm): Right now I'm watching 1 of my favorite players, Seon Hwa Lee, outplaying Stacy Lewis and Jimin Kang. Lewis needs to at least par 18 to have a chance of making the cut.]

[Update 37 (1:25 pm): Lee had missed the last 2 cuts in a row for the 1st time in her career. Not going to be a hat trick for her, thankfully. But she did 3-putt 18.]

[Update 38 (1:27 pm): Laura Davies, meanwhile, has fought back to +5 overall as she tees off on 18, needing an eagle to have a legitimate chance to make the cut. Looks like a good drive!]

[Update 39 (1:29 pm): Yikes! Make that 2 bogeys in a row and 3 in her last 4 holes for Morgan Pressel.]

[Update 40 (1:30 pm): Wow, Stacy Lewis bogeyed 18 to fall to +4 overall. Looks like she's done--she's T80 right now.]

[Update 41 (1:35 pm): Ji-Yai Shin's bogey-free run ended at 32 holes; she can't be happy about bogeying the par-5 15th.]

[Update 42 (1:37 pm): Nocera birdies the 15th, however, to get to -8!]

[Update 43 (1:39 pm): Hur missed low side on 18 to end her 2-hole birdie run, but she joins Choi and Lee at -6 overall. Meanwhile, Ai Miyazato's 8-hole bogey-free run ends on 17. She's back to -3 overall as she tees off on 18.]

[Update 44 (1:41 pm): Uh-oh. Ai-sama hated her drive.]

[Update 45 (1:45 pm): No eagle for Davies. She's done for the week after going 81-68.]

[Update 46 (1:47 pm): That 3-putt on 18 for Seon Hwa Lee was a bogey. She squandered her opening 33 with a birdie-less 38 on the back to end the day at -1 and fall back to +1 through 36 holes.]

[Update 47 (1:53 pm): Ah, they cut away from what looked like Ai-sama's 4th shot from just over the creek to show Shin's and Pressel's drives. Did find out that Pressel birdied 17 to get back to E on the side and the day and -6 overall and Shin birdied it to get back to -5 overall.]

[Update 48 (1:59 pm): Wow, Ai-sama did not have happy body language on that 18th green while waiting for Creamer to leave her 12-foot birdie try an inch short and Kerr to have her 10-footer from above left lip out. But she collected herself and sank what looked like a 6-footer for what I think is a good par save.]

[Update 49 (2:01 pm): Meanwhile, Nocera tees off on 18 after coming off her 5th birdie of the day (to go with 1 eagle and 1 bogey)--looks satisfied with it.]

[Update 50 (2:04 pm): BTW, Gulbis bogeyed 18 when her 7-footer spun out but made the cut on the number. Blumenherst birdied it to finish at +2 through 36, 1 behind Kerr and 2 behind Creamer.]

[Update 51 (2:06 pm): Michelle Wie's stayed calm after her quint and gone what I believe is -2 over her last 8 holes of bogey-free golf, if I'm right that she just made a 2-putt birdie on 18.]

[Update 52 (2:09 pm): Saw Pressel just miss from the left fring, almost pin high, and Shin make a nice up-and-down from short right of the green. I assume both made pars.]

[Update 53 (2:11 pm): Whoops, I was right about them and wrong about Wie. All made pars, so it's Pressel at -6, Shin at -5, and Wie at +1 through 36.]

[Update 54 (2:12 pm): Looks like the cut line will definitely be at +3. Only question remaining is whether '08 JLPGA money-leader Miho Koga will end up on the right side of it or not.]

[Update 55 (2:14 pm): On 18, Nocera fluffs her chip from the heavy rough left of the green barely onto the 1st cut. Still a tough up and down for her.]

[Update 56 (2:14 pm): Then she babies that one and leaves it 12 feet short. Afraid to follow through on both wedges.]

[Update 57 (2:16 pm): By contrast, Alexis Thompson makes a great aggressive stroke on a 35-footer from the right side of the green and burns the cup. Was that for eagle or birdie, I wonder?]

[Update 58 (2:17 pm): Wow, somehow Nocera sinks what I believe is her par save!]

[Update 59 (2:21 pm): Well, it was a bogey save, but still a crucial putt. It gives Nocera a 67 and puts her 1 shot behind Mikan and 1 ahead of JJ heading into the weekend. Thompson ended up parring 18 to become the 20th player to get to -3 after 36 holes. And with that, my back needs a serious rest before I head to see my doctor!]

[Update 60 (6:35 pm): Well, my back isn't totally messed up, which is great. Some muscle relaxants and heating pad over the weekend is all I'll need for now, and maybe a trip or 2 to the chiropractor. That's a load off my mind. Oh, and here's Hound Dog's 2nd-round overview.]

[Update 61 (7:01 pm): OK, here are the 2nd-round notes and interviews from Here's the tournament organizers' take on the most fascinating among tomorrow's pairings. And here's the link to all of them. Me, I love the Karrie Webb and Amy Yang pairing (Yang 1st became well-known Down Under), as well as Meaghan Francella and Jimin Kang (the former's a downstate NYer, the latter has family in western NY), Ai Miyazato and Alexis Thompson (Thompson beat Ai-sama by 10 shots in the 3rd round of the U.S. Women's Open!), and of course the leaders:

Start Time: 12:08 PM
Mi-Jeong Jeon
Sun-Ju Ahn

Start Time: 12:16 PM
Jiyai Shin
Suzann Pettersen

Start Time: 12:24 PM
Morgan Pressel
Kyeong Bae

Start Time: 12:32 PM
Na Yeon Choi
M.J. Hur

Start Time: 12:40 PM
Jeong Jang
Meena Lee

Start Time: 12:48 PM
Mika Miyazato
Gwladys Nocera

Wish I had Golf Channel!]

[Update 62 (7:18 pm): To say the AP is phoning this week in would be giving them too much credit.]

[Update 63 (7/24/10, 11:48 am): Here's Mike Southern's breakdown of how Rolex Ranking points might get divvied up this week among the top-ranked players in the world of women's golf.]

[Update 64 (7/25/10, 11:11 am): Here are Round 2 highlights from Evian:

Evian Masters TV 2010 - Best Golf Moments of Day 2 #23
Uploaded by evianmasters. - Discover the latest sports and extreme videos.]


courtgolf said...

Will there be any slamming of the winner and calling her "lucky" because of her tee times on Thursday and Friday ? :-)

courtgolf said...

What the heck happened to Wie at #9 ? Have you been watching the internet feed ?

The Constructivist said...

It was 10! No idea!

Was Oosty lucky?

courtgolf said...

a 10 ?? Yikes ! has it as a 9 - guess they can't get double digits on their leaderboard.

Too many "if a top 5 player doesn't win, the winner got lucky" people say so - then there are the weather types who say he won only because he had good tee times.

courtgolf said...

Had to be a 9. She was +5 on the day, one birdie, one bogey, and the 9 on the par 4 10th hole.

The Constructivist said...

AT #10, not A 10!

Mike said...

Wie had two OB shots, if I heard it right.