Thursday, July 1, 2010

Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic Thursday: Happy Canada Day to Alena Sharp!

Scoring isn't quite as low as I expected in the 1st round of the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic, but one of the few to get into the mid-60s was none other than Alena Sharp. Not bad for a Canadian on Canada Day, eh?

Sharp's career trajectory has been interesting. She entered the LPGA as a bomber, turned into a straight shooter, and this season has been playing more like a precision player than anything else. A combination of below-average iron play and mediocre putting has held her back for most of the season, but today she hit 11 of 14 fairways, 15 of 18 greens, and took only 27 putts on her way to a bogey-free 65 on the par-71 Highland Meadows course.

It wasn't quite good enough to match Na Yeon Choi's 8-birdie 64, but it outdid the rest of the biggest names in the field. A couple of late bogeys held Ji-Yai Shin back to a 6-birdie 67, where she was joined by Inbee Park (who made 4 birdies in a row on the front, her back, to get there) and Katherine Hull (who took advantage of a hot start on the back--a 32 on the par-37 side--before succumbing with 2 bogeys in her last 5 holes). When you consider that Grace Park opened with a 75, Morgan Pressel with a 74, Mi Hyun Kim with a 73, Seon Hwa Lee with a 72, Paula Creamer with a 71, and In-Kyung Kim with a 70, you can see just how impressive Sharp's round was.

It's interesting to see how many different ways there have been to go low at Highland Meadows. Hull and Park were hitting it about 30 yards longer off the tee than Shin and 40 more than Karine Icher (66). Meanwhile, Marisa Baena hit only 9 greens, but took only 21 putts for her 66, while Jackie Gallagher-Smith hit every fairway on the way to her 67. This afternoon, Brittany Lincicome and Christina Kim have been bombing their way to -4 with several holes left to play.

Stay tuned for more! Onechan and imoto have a couple of friends over, so I have about 45 minutes left to do some updates before they go home and we all go swimming!

[Update 1 (4:36 pm): Lincicome made her 1st bogey of the day, dropping her back with Momoko Ueda, who's birdied 2 of her last 3 holes to get to -3. Right now there are 12 players there, including Natalie Gulbis, Kristy McPherson, and Amy Yang, who are done. Kim, meanwhile, has 2 closing par 5s left to play, the 1st of which Lincicome eagled not that long ago.]

[Update 2 (4:56 pm): Kim birdied 17! A few notes on other players.... Mika Miyazato took a triple-bogey 8 but otherwise played even-par golf for her 74. Mallory Blackwelder matched her score in her LPGA debut. Moira Dunn opened with an even-par 71. Joining Creamer at -1 were Jeong Jang, Karen Stupples, Azahara Munoz, Mina Harigae, and Alison Walshe. Among those barely breaking 70 were Angela Stanford, Maria Hjorth, Eun-Hee Ji, Pernilla Lindberg, and Mariajo Uribe.]

[Update 3 (5:02 pm): Now Stacy Lewis has birdied 2 of her last 3 holes on the front to get to -3, as well.]

[Update 4 (9:24 pm): Here are the notes and interviews from!]

[Update 5 (7/2/10, 9:24 am): Here's Mike Southern's look at the 1st round.]

[Update 6 (7/5/10, 10:16 am): Here's Christina Kim on her 1st round.]

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