Sunday, July 25, 2010

Evian Masters Sunday: The Plot Thickens

Should be a great finish to the Evian Masters this morning. Here are the top contenders.

Morgan Pressel leads right now at -13 with 6 holes to go. She eagled the par-4 5th and birdied the par-5 9th for a bogey-free 33 on the front that got her to -14, but she promptly bogeyed the par-4 10th. If she can finish as strong today as she did yesterday, the tournament is probably hers. On the week, she's made 4 birdies and an eagle to offset 3 bogeys over the last 6 holes at Evian.

Suzann Pettersen is making a bid to take leader in the clubhouse away from the JLPGA's Yuri Fudoh and Yukari Baba, who both shot 69s today to finish the tournament at -8. Pettersen is -12 with 2 holes left to play; having gone out in 31 and birdied the par-4 16th, she's enjoying an 18-hole bogey-free streak and has birdied 18 all 3 previous rounds.

Lexi Thompson is looking to set all kinds of records this week. She's -12, too, with 4 holes left to play. She went out in 32, bogeyed 10, and birdied 12.

Ji-Yai Shin went out in 33 to also get to -12 through 12. She's bogeyed only 2 holes the entire tournament and has none in her last 26.

Right in the thick of things at -10 with a few holes left are Na Yeon Choi and Song-Hee Kim. More on them soon.

[Update 1 (9:52 am): Wow, Shin just birdied 13 to tie Pressel for the lead. Choi pulled within 2 with her 2nd birdie in a row. She has 3 birdie holes to go. Kim had gotten to -11 through 12, but bogeyed 2 in a row. She just birdied 15 to get back to -10.]

[Update 2 (9:55 am): Mika Miyazato told me she gets nervous late in tournaments when she's in contention. Well, she solved part of that problem by going +4 over her last 6 holes yesterday and 1st 6 today, but she's -3 over her last 10 holes of bogey-free golf and at -8 for the tournament should at least get her best finish of the year. Not bad for a 20-year-old!]

[Update 3 (9:57 am): It's hard to believe Jeong Jang only has 2 career LPGA wins, for all the times she's put herself in the mix. But today she bogeyed the 1st and 13th to fall back to where she started the tournament, -9. Kim just bogeyed 16 to join her there. Looks like a 5-player race now.]

[Update 4 (9:59 am): The scores today have ranged from +7 to -5 thus far. But if Pettersen gets par or better on 18, she'll have low round of the day.]

[Update 5 (10:00 am): You can watch her come in on Evian Masters Live TV.]

[Update 6 (10:07 am): Or not. I'm having trouble getting the page to load. In any case, pars for Pressel and Shin on 14.]

[Update 7 (10:11 am): WOW! Na Yeong Choi has birdied her last 4 holes in a row to join Pettersen at -6 through 17 today!! She's tied for the lead and could take leader in the clubhouse away from her. FYI. Here are the closing pairings:

On 18
Anja Monke
Suzann Pettersen

On 18
Mika Miyazato
Song-Hee Kim

On 18
M.J. Hur
Na Yeon Choi

On 17
Alexis Thompson
Mayu Hattori

On 16
Jeong Jang
Brittany Lincicome

On 15
Morgan Pressel
Ji-Yai Shin

Jang just bogeyed the par-5 15th to drop to -8 overall.]

[Update 8 (10:12 am): OK, the live feed is working for me now.]

[Update 9 (10:12 am): The pin looks very much like the position it was in when Ai Miyazato won it last year. BTW, she fired a final-round 68 to end the tournament at -5.]

[Update 10 (10:14 am): Missed seeing how Pettersen parred 18 for her 66. She ends the tournament at -12.]

[Update 11 (10:15 am): Mikan has what looks like a 70-footer from the front-left to back-right of the green. Did she hit it in 2?]

[Update 12 (10:15 am): SHE MADE IT!! The crowd goes wild!]

[Update 13 (10:17 am): Nice chip from behind the green by Song-Hee Kim. Little one left for what I hope is birdie.]

[Update 14 (10:18 am): She made it.]

[Update 15 (10:19 am): Lexi's waiting on 18 tee. They showed her scorecard--bogeyed 16 and birdied 17 to stay at -12.]

[Update 16 (10:21 am): She looked really nervous on the tee but made what looked like a good aggressive swing. She looked at it a long time, though, and may have pushed it right.]

[Update 17 (10:22 am): I was right aout Mikan and Song-Hee! Eagle for the former and birdie for the latter means they finished at -10 overall, T6 right now.]

[Update 18 (10:24 am): Pressel and Shin both parred 15. Jang bogeyed 16, too. Interesting that the low rounds of the day have been by Europeans: Pettersen at 66 and Catriona Matthew, Maria Hjorth, and Helen Alfredsson at 67.]

[Update 19 (10:27 am): Wow, I've never seen NYC so hyped up over a putt. She pulled it left from about where Gustafson missed in the playoff last year. Hope it was for birdie.]

[Update 20 (10:30 am): OK, so Na Yeon Choi is your leader in the clubhouse at -13. She crashed the Euro party with a 66 today, but just couldn't make it 5 closing birdies in a row. Pressel and Shin are tied with her with 2 holes left to go.]

[Update 21 (10:31 am): Thompson looks like she's about 12 feet below the cup. Putt should move right a little.]

[Update 22 (10:32 am): Mayu Hattori's bad day has gone a little bit worse as she's way over the green, I hope in 2, near the grandstands.]

[Update 23 (10:35 am): Hattori pitched a little outside and to the right of Thompson and missed on the low side, but Lexi followed it up with a perfect putt, dead center! Was that for eagle?!]

[Update 24 (10:38 am): Oh, man! It was only for birdie. Lexi's co-leader in the clubhouse with NYC at -13 after a great 67 today, her 2nd in a row.]

[Update 25 (10:39 am): Taking a long time to update Pressel's and Shin's scorecards on the par-3 17th!]

[Update 26 (10:40 am): OK, 2 pars for them. Whoever goes lowest on 18 wins!]

[Update 27 (10:41 am): Shin didn't love her drive, but it's a 3-shot hole for her no matter what. Pressel went after hers and may have pulled it a bit left. Remember she eagled it yesterday, so could go for it in 2 if the drive today is in good enough position.]

[Update 28 (10:43 am): Looks like Shin is right fairway, a bit behind the trap on the corner, and Pressel is left rough, closer to even with it.]

[Update 29 (10:47 am): Both players laid up within a yard of each other, in the flat on the right side of the fairway.]

[Update 30 (10:48 am): They're so close together Shin has to mark her ball so Pressel can take her stance!]

[Update 31 (10:51 am): 2 great shots! Pressel's landed left of the pin and spun a little right, about 2 feet longer and on the same line as Ai-sama's winning putt last year in the playoff. Shin's flew right over the flagstick and spun back about 3 feet, giving her a slightly shorter putt that'll go a little left.]

[Update 32 (10:51 am): My bad--Shin was out. AND SHE CANNED IT!]

[Update 33 (10:55 am): Pressel was hoping on hers, but it carely touched the left corner of the cup and spun out. Maybe she hit it a little hard? So SHIN WINS! AGIN!]

[Update 34 (10:58 am): AGIN in Europe, that is. She won the '08 Women's British Open. This week, she went 70-69-68-67 and didn't make a bogey over her 1st or last 32 holes! She shot a 34 on the back to chase Pressel down. After bogeying 10, Pressel made 8 pars in a row for a closing 37.]

[Update 35 (11:04 am): My guess is that Shin will take #1 from Ai-sama after this win, but we'll have to wait and see. Here's how the Big 6 finished this week:

1. Shin -14
T2. Choi -13
5. Pettersen -12
T11. Tseng -7
T19. Miyazato -5
T31. Kerr -2

The bottom 2 finishers this week were the top 2 as of last week, so they have a little margin to spare. Tseng falls a little bit further behind the top 5 with her performance this week, is my guess.]

[Update 36 (11:18 am): In the LPGA Rookie of the Year race, Azahara Munoz consolidated her huge lead:

T11. Munoz -7
T37. Uribe -1
T43. Blumenherst E
T53. Nocera +2

Nocera went 76-78 over the weekend to lose any chance of making up ground on Munoz. Blumenherst didn't break 7- all week. Munoz will also make up some ground on Kristie Smith, Maria Hernandez, and Pernilla Lindberg in the LET ROY race.]

[Update 37 (11:19 am): Here's Hound Dog's stub--he's saving the play-by-play for after the Golf Channel coverage.]

[Update 38 (11:27 am): That was a pretty prescient final-round preview from the folks at Evian Masters TV!

Evian Masters TV 2010 - Start Final Round #29
Uploaded by evianmasters. - Discover the latest sports and extreme videos.]

[Update 39 (11:33 am): Fitting that the 1st Korean win in Evian Masters history comes on the birthday of the founder of Seoul!]

[Update 40 (2:09 pm): Here's Golf Girl on Shin's win.]

[Update 41 (2:14 pm): Here's Brent Kelley.]

[Update 42 (5:15 pm): Just a reminder: Hound Dog's play-by-play is AMAZING!]

[Update 43 (5:38 pm): Here are's final-round notes and interviews.]

[Update 44 (7:09 pm): Some good writing by Susanne Kemper but I would have loved to see her choose even better details than she did (for instance, that Shin vaulted to the top of the LPGA money list as well as the Rolex Rankings, that Choi had a chance to close with 5 birdies in a row, that Pressel and Pettersen couldn't get key putts to drop on the back).]

[Update 45 (7/26/10, 10:55 am): Here's Hound Dog's epilogue.]

[Update 46 (1:35 pm): Here are Ryan Ballengee's observations.]

[Update 47 (8:42 pm): Here's some proof Lexi Thompson is bringing new fans to the LPGA.]

[Update 48 (8:44 pm): Ji-Yai Shin is profiled by Karla Villegas.]

1 comment:

Unknown said...

It's good to see Ji-Yai looking more athletic... I hadn't seen her on TV for a couple of months and for me I can see a difference. The other thing is she looks well... which is good considering how she dragged herself through 2009.
I'm hanging the BC Card and Hite Cup caddie bibs Dean sent me from her sweep of the 08 Korean Majors above my desk today... so anyone who knows where I work can come and steal them :-)
What I really liked about the Evian win, apart from the fact that it was compelling entertainment, was that it fits her winning template... R1 in the picture, R2 in the running, R3 in contention and R4 stronger than the rest.
Don't be fooled into thinking she has ice in her veins, if you ask her how she feels on a Sunday back 9 she models a grip of jelly, but she just believes.