Sunday, July 11, 2010

U.S. Women's Open Sunday: It All Comes Down to This

Here's a heretical question to start my U.S. Women's Open not-quite-live blog: is Oakmont actually going to play easy today? It's probably way too early to be asking that question, but look at who's under par already today.

Ai Miyazato and Sherri Steinhauer both birdied the short par-4 11th to go -1 on the day and +13 for the tournament.

Karen Stupples birdied the long par-5 12th and is -1 through 4 and +12 overall.

Song-Hee Kim and Vicky Hurst both just birdied 13 and 14 to get to -2 through 5 and +11 for the tournament.

Brittany Lincicome bounced back from a bogey on 1 with birdies on 2, 3, and 4 to climb to +7 overall.

Azahara Munoz just birdied the 1st, for crying out loud! She's now +6 overall.

What's going on here?!

[Update 1 (12:14 pm): Check out Geoff Shackelford's "Open thread"--he gets good commenters! Further evidence that Mike Davis may have taken it easy on the field today: there are a whole lot more pars on 1 and 10 than I'm used to seeing this week!]

[Update 2 (12:18 pm): In case I miss anything cool, I'm sure thatBeth Ann Baldry's and the LPGA's live-tweeting, as well as the USGA's Christina Lance's live-blogging, will pick up the slack!]

[Update 3 (12:21 pm): Check out So Yeon Ryu's start on the front: bogey-birdie-bogey-birdie-par-birdie. Add her to the list of those under par in the early going. She's +10 overall.]

[Update 4 (12:51 pm): Check out all the red since I took a shower and made lunch: Song-Hee Kim now -3 today, Ai Miyazato -2. Plus Sandra Gal -1 through 2 on the back, Kristy McPherson -1 through 8 on the front, Ya Ni Tseng -1 through 6 on the front, Angela Stanford -1 through 4 (+5 overall), Jeong Jang -2 through 4 (+4 overall), Cristie Kerr -1 through 2 (+4 overall), In-Kyung Kim birdies the 1st to get to +4....]

[Update 5 (12:56 pm): Make that 2 birdies in a row for Inky! She's now +3.]

[Update 6 (12:58 pm): Inbee Park just birdied 2 of her last 3 holes to get to -1 through 6 on the front. She, Inky, and Kerr were my dark-horse picks this morning.]

[Update 7 (1:01 pm): Ryan Ballengee notes which holes players can afford to be aggressive on.]

[Update 8 (1:02 pm): Cristie Kerr makes it 2 birdies in a row, as well. There are now 5 players at +3, 4 behind Creamer.]

[Update 9 (1:03 pm): Katherine Hull birdied the long par-5 12th to go -1 through her 1st 4 holes today.]

[Update 10 (1:05 pm): Brittany Lang birdied the 3rd to join the party. She's tied with Jeong Jang at +4.]

[Update 11 (1:07 pm): Kristy McPherson fired a bogey-free 34 on the front, her best 9 of the tournament! She hit 5 of 7 fairways and 8 of 9 greens to do it....]

[Update 12 (1:09 pm): Christina Kim and Suzann Pettersen break from the pack at +3 with birdies on 2! Creamer's lead down to 3.]

[Update 13 (1:12 pm): Na Yeon Choi and Ji-Yai Shin getting in the act and moving to +5 overall. Choi has hit every green and birdied the 4th, while Shin bounced back from an opening bogey with birdies on 3 and 4.]

[Update 14 (1:14 pm): Inbee Park now -2 through 7; So Yeon Ryu matched McPherson's opening 34.]

[Update 15 (1:15 pm): Song-Hee Kim fired a 32 on the back! The ol' 5 of 7 fairways and 8 of 9 greens trick!]

[Update 16 (1:17 pm): Nice 34 for Shinobu Moromizato brings her even with Ai-sama at +12. They both were LPGA rookies in 2006, but Moromizato played so badly she had to go back to the JLPGA, where she found golfy redemptionlast year, almost taking the money title from Sakura Yokomine in the last tournament of the season.]

[Update 17 (1:21 pm): There are 17 under-par rounds going on right now!]

[Update 18 (1:22 pm): Add Ryan Ballengee to the list of live-tweeters today!]

[Update 19 (1:26 pm): Add Lincicome to the list of 34s on the front. She's now +7 overall.]

[Update 20 (1:27 pm): And she did it hitting only 2 of 7 fairways and 5 of 9 greens--well off the pace she set in the 1st 54 holes in GIR!]

[Update 21 (1:29 pm): Ai Miyazato is now -3 on the back through 8. Not quite as good as Momoko Ueda's -4 start in the same stretch on Friday, but let's hope Ai-sama finishes much much stronger today than Momo-chan did that day!]

[Update 22 (1:30 pm): I think Ai-sama gave her putter a good talking to last night. After one of her worst putting performances of the season last round (39 putts), she's taken only 11 putts in 8 holes, and that's with hitting 6 greens!]

[Update 23 (1:32 pm): 18 players under par right now!

[Update 24 (1:34 pm): Na Yeon Choi moves to -2 on the day and +4 overall with a birdie on the short par-3 6th.]

[Update 25 (1:36 pm): Everyone within 5 shots of Paula Creamer is under par today. Good for her she's parred the 1st 2 holes.]

[Update 26 (1:38 pm): Ya Ni Tseng may have bogeyed the long par-3 8th every day this week, but she just eagled 9 to post--you guessed it--a 34 on the front! And she did it hitting only 3 of 7 fairways. That brings her to +7 overall.]

[Update 27 (1:39 pm): Brittany Lang birdies the short par-4 5th to get to +3 overall. Next 2 holes are playing among the easiest on the course--let's see if she can take advantage!]

[Update 28 (1:43 pm): The thing that's tough about Oakmont isn't necessarily getting under par--it's staying there. Just ask Cristie Kerr, who's bogeyed her last 2 holes to drop back to +5 overall. 2 more birdie holes ahead of her, though!]

[Update 29 (1:46 pm): Inbee Park had a great chance for a 33 on the front, but she only parred the 9th, staying at +6 overall.]

[Update 30 (1:48 pm): Wouldn't it be awesome if Christina Kim, Na Yeon Choi, and In-Kyung Kim were together in a playoff for the 2nd week in a row?]

[Update 31 (1:49 pm): Can't win 'em all files: Ai-sama bogeys 18 to settle for 33 on the back! On to the front....]

[Update 32 (1:51 pm): Trying to win 2 in a row files: Na Yeon Choi birdies 3 of her last 4 holes to go -3 through 7 today, +3 overall.]

[Update 33 (1:55 pm): Trying to win her 1st files: Song-Hee Kim birdies the 2nd--now -4 through 11, +9 overall. How low can she go?]

[Update 34 (1:56 pm): USA! USA! files: Kerr gets 1 back with a birdie on 6. Lang pars.]

[Update 35 (2:00 pm): USA! USA! files, cont.: Vicky Hurst bounces back from double on 18 with birdie on long par-4 3rd. Back to -1 on her day, +12 overall. Looks like lots of players want to end this Open in single digits over par!]

[Update 36 (2:02 pm): Not all fun and games file: Sophie Gustafson +5 through 5 today, Wendy Ward +3 through 4.]

[Update 37 (2:05 pm): Uh-oh! Creamer blinks with her 1st bogey of the day on the par-5 4th. Don't want to do that on a hole many are making birdies on!]

[Update 38 (2:08 pm): Jeong Jang birdies 9 to post 35 on the back. I'd love to see JJ make a charge on the back, or at least 2 better than her 3-straight 37s there in previous rounds. She's +5 overall and not out of this just yet.]

[Update 39 (2:09 pm): Check out Stephanie Wei's "Open thread"--she also gets great commenters.]

[Update 40 (2:13 pm): Brittany Lang makes it 3 birdies in her 1st 7 holes. Now +2 overall, only 2 back of Creamer!]

[Update 41 (2:15 pm): KLPGA #1 and Kia Classic champion Hee Kyung Seo -1 through 6 on the back.]

[Update 42 (2:18 pm): Creamer's tough--birdies short par-4 5th. Let's see if she can put some pressure on those chasing her: 3 of her next 4 holes are legitimate birdie holes, and a par on the long-par-3 8th is like a birdie.]

[Update 43 (2:22 pm): The scoring average on the front is lower than on the back for the 1st day I can recall. Get your birdies in early, people! Case in point: after a 34 on the front, Kristy McPherson has bogeyed 2 of her last 3 holes on the back as she tees off on 15.]

[Update 44 (2:24 pm): Ouch! Vicky Hurst doubles the birdie-able par-5 4th.]

[Update 45 (2:25 pm): Holy @#$%##$! Na Yeon Choi eagles 9 to post 31 on the front and leap to 2nd at +1!]

[Update 46 (2:26 pm): Ai-sama trying to match it--birdies 2nd to get back to -3 on her round!]

[Update 47 (2:27 pm): Is it the course tightening up or the players? Now only 10 under par today.]

[Update 48 (2:32 pm): 6 holes playing under par today (from most under to least under): 9, 17, 4, 5, 2, 7, 13. Getchyour birdies while they're hot!]

[Update 49 (2:33 pm): Pettersen takes advantage of #7 to get to -2 today, +1 overall.]

[Update 50 (2:41 pm): Good to see Karen Stupples back under par. She had quite the roller-coaster on the back for her 35, but has made 3 pars and a birdie on the 4th on the front.]

[Update 51 (2:44 pm): 1st bogey of the day on the short par-4 5th drops Song-Hee Kim back to -3 today and +10 overall. With good birdie opps on 7 and 9, she can still fight her way back to single digits over par for the week.]

[Update 52 (2:46 pm): Pettersen's been frustrated with some short birdie misses today, so what does she do on 8? Cans it!! We have a tie at the top!!!!!!!]

[Update 53 (2:51 pm): Sakura Yokomine birdies 9 to shoot a 35 on the front--her 2nd-straight under-par 9. She's +4 overall and not quite out of this yet!]

[Update 54 (2:53 pm): Waitsec! LPGA tweeted that Pettersen bogeyed 8. Scorecard not yet updated....]

[Update 55 (2:54 pm): Yup, her 3rd-straight bogey on that hole. Nevermind!]

[Update 56 (2:55 pm): Bogey on 8 and par on 9 forces Lang to settle for 34 on front. Familiar number today!]

[Update 57 (2:57 pm): Inky birdied 9 to get back under par on the day and +4 overall. Ai-sama bogeyed the long par-4 3rd to fall back to -2 on the day.]

[Update 58 (2:58 pm): Song-Hee Kim birdies the par-3 6th to return to -4 on her round! Still has 7 and 9 ahead of her!]

[Update 59 (2:59 pm): Can the USGA get their story straight? Now it says that Pettersen birdied 8 and is E!]

[Update 60 (3:02 pm): Now it's back to a bogey!! What's going on?? BTW, my golfing buddy wants to watch the end of the World Cup. Where are his priorities?]

[Update 61 (3:03 pm): Ai, Chie, and Shinobu all at +12.]

[Update 62 (3:08 pm): Ouch! JJ goes double-bogey-double to start back.]

[Update 63 (3:11 pm): Creamer's not putting a whole lot of pressure on her challengers, but she's also not making many mistakes. No birdies on 5-7, but a great par on 8 leaves her at E on the day and -1 for the tournament.]

[Update 64 (3:14 pm): Song-Hee Kim makes it 2 birdies in a row to get to -5 with just 8 and 9 left to play!! She's down to +8 overall and may yet snag yet another top 10!]

[Update 65 (3:15 pm): It's official--35 for Pettersen on the front, her best in 4 tries there, leaves her 3 back as she makes the turn.]

[Update 66 (3:17 pm): One of my twitter followers informs me Pettersen 3-putted 9 for her par.]

[Update 67 (3:19 pm): Ai-sama's back to -3 on her round with a birdie on the short par-4 5th. 3 birdie holes still ahead of her!]

[Update 68 (3:20 pm): Now if I were NBC, I'd have cameras on Song-Hee and Ai-sama just in case they go even lower than Na Yeon today!]

[Update 69 (3:21 pm): Hey, they removed Ai's birdie! What's going on??]

[Update 70 (3:22 pm): It's back! Phew!]

[Update 71 (3:23 pm): Jee Young Lee needs to par 18 for her 1st 71 of the week.]

[Update 72 (3:25 pm): Wow! Creamer birdied 9 for a 35 that brings her to -2 overall. 3-up on Choi, 4-up on Pettersen, 5-up on Lang. How will they respond?]

[Update 73 (3:26 pm): Inbee Park birdied the long par-4 15th to get to -3 in her round and +5 overall. She's tied with Amy Yang and Christina Kim!]

[Update 74 (3:28 pm): Just a little 274-yard drive to put herself in position for that birdie. She could be one of the LPGA's bombers if she really wanted to try!]

[Update 75 (3:29 pm): SH Kim pars the tough 8th. Wouldn't it be sweet if she eagled 9?]

[Update 76 (3:31 pm): Pettersen bogeys the tough 10th to join Lang at +3.]

[Update 77 (3:33 pm): If Ya Ni Tseng can finally play 17 and 18 strong, I might just win the PakPicker, despite picking Ai-sama to win this. McPherson played them in -1 for her 70.]

[Update 78 (3:37 pm): Whoops. Choi bogeyed a birdie hole--the short par-3 13th may well end up being her Waterloo. Only easy birdie left is on 17.]

[Update 79 (3:43 pm): Morgan Pressel went 74-75-75-74. Finally drove with her usual accuracy this round, but never got her putter going, either today or all week. Thought she's repeat her clinic at the Salonpas Cup when she won that JLPGA major, but instead she just struggled.]

[Update 80 (3:44 pm): Brittany Lang still has plenty of fight in her! Her birdie on the long par-5 12th brings her to -3 today and +2 overall.]

[Update 81 (3:47 pm): Sweet 71 for So Yeon Ryu. Since winning the 1st event of the KLPGA's 2010 season in December (don't ask), she's really struggled, so maybe this week will give her some confidence and some experience she can put to use when her tour returns to action.]

[Update 82 (3:49 pm): 7th birdie of the day for Song-Hee Kim on the vulnerable 9th gives her a 65!!]

[Update 83 (3:50 pm): She hit 14 of 18 greens but still took only 26 putts! On Oakmont!!]

[Update 84 (3:53 pm): Bang, bang! Lang makes it 2 birdies in a row to get to +1 overall and -4 on her round with 5 left to play!]

[Update 85 (3:54 pm): Tseng birdies 17 to join Shin at +6. I need them to finish at least T12 to have a chance in the PakPicker....]

[Update 86 (3:56 pm): Ouch--39 on the back drops Lincicome to +11 overall. Had trouble hitting greens down the stretch, but still got 74% for the week....]

[Update 87 (3:57 pm): What a charge! Inbee Park birdies 17 to go to -4 on her day, +4 overall. She's long enough to attack 18.]

[Update 88 (4:00 pm): Disappointing bogey for Ai-sama on the 7th, which many have birdied today. At -2/+12, she's been caught by playing partner Candie Kung, who's birdied the last 3 holes in a row. She'll now need to par 8 and birdie 9 to pass Chie Arimura, whose 74 brought her to +12 for the week.]

[Update 89 (4:20 pm): 2 bogeys in a row bring Ai-sama back to -1 on her day. How about an eagle on 9, then?]

[Update 90 (4:21 pm): Inky birdies 12 and 13 to get back to +3 overall!]

[Update 91 (4:22 pm): Ouch! Inbee Park bogeyed 18 for her 68. Still a great comeback to get to +5 and a likely top 10.]

[Update 92 (4:24 pm): Another blink from Creamer--bogey on the long par-5 12th. Let's see if she can get it back with a birdie on 13. Hope onechan's watching in Japan.]

[Update 93 (4:26 pm): Lang bogeys 15 for the 3rd day in a row. Creamer's lead back to 3.]

[Update 94 (4:28 pm): Ji-Yai Shin birdies 15 and 17 to climb back to +4.]

[Update 95 (4:32 pm): "Best rounds of the day" page has Choi making a birdie on 17, but don't see confirmation yet on other pages.]

[Update 96 (4:33 pm): Yup, she's back to -5 on her day and +1 overall!]

[Update 97 (4:36 pm): All that work from Ai-sama today and she only had a 70 to show for it? Disappointing, but at least she's on the upswing for her title defense in 2 weeks!]

[Update 98 (4:37 pm): Kung couldn't birdie 9 either and will have to "settle" for a 69. Never thought I'd see myself write that about breaking 70 at Oakmont.]

[Update 99 (4:39 pm): Man, Lang bogeyed 15 and 16 to fall to +3. Looks like it's just between Creamer and Choi now.]

[Update 100 (4:43 pm): Here's how the leaderboard looks right now:

Creamer -1 through 13
Choi +1 through 17
Pettersen +3 through 14
Kim +3 through 15
Lang +3 through 16
Yang +4 through 13
Shin +4 through 17

Yang's bogey on the 13th, a birdie hole, probably signals the end of her chances, too.]

[Update 101 (4:45 pm): Bogeys at 14 and 16 drop Kerr out of the top 10. I need her and Webb to finish strong--they're both at +8--and I need Ward and/or Thompson to blow up to have a chance in the PakPicker.]

[Update 102 (4:46 pm): Nice bogey-free 34 on the front by Ashli Bunch to help her close out her Open with a 70!]

[Update 103 (4:49 pm): Creamer couldn't birdie 13 but she got the short par-4 14th. She's -1 today and -2 overall with only 4 holes left to go.]

[Update 104 (4:51 pm): Wow! Ji-Yai Shin birdies 18 to close with a 32 on the back and end up at +3 for the tournament. Her 68 shows why she's known as the "Final Round Queen."]

[Update 105 (4:54 pm): Nice par on 18 gives Choi a 66 and leaves her the leader in the clubhouse at +1. All she can do is wait, now.]

[Update 106 (4:55 pm): She hit 2 more fairways and 1 more green than in her 1st round, but the real difference was that she took 9 fewer putts--the exact difference between her opening 75 and closing 66.]

[Update 107 (4:57 pm): Will probably end up being no match for Creamer's consistency, especially since the LPGA just tweeted that Creamer stuck her approach on 15.]

[Update 108 (5:00 pm): If Lang pars 18, she matches her opening 69. Failed to birdie 9 or 17 both days. I hope she gets her 2nd sub-70 round of the week today!]

[Update 109 (5:03 pm): If Sakura Yokomine pars 18, she'll have played 7 of 8 great 9s and will have shot her 3rd 71 of the week.]

[Update 109 (5:06 pm): World Cup finally over--too late to head over to my golfing buddy's place. But he reports that not only did Creamer birdie 15, she also stuck it on 16. This win may be bigger than Kerr's!]

[Update 110 (5:08 pm): 13 players under par today!]

[Update 111 (5:10 pm): Top 6 on the leaderboard all under par today, and 9 of top 14. Now that's leaving Oakmont in style!]

[Update 112 (5:14 pm): Inky birdies 17 to join Pettersen, who had birdied 16, at +2.]

[Update 113 (5:24 pm): Lang does it! Her 2nd 69 is a bit anti-climactic, as 6 players have already gone lower, but it's still a sub-70 round at Oakmont and she still is very likely to get a top 5 at the Open!]

[Update 114 (5:25 pm): For someone who had been struggling so much with her putter this season, this week is quite the breakthrough. Here's hoping she takes the momentum and the touch over to Europe with her for the Evian Masters and Women's British Open!]

[Update 115 (5:29 pm): Never expected Kerr to go 75-75 on the weekend. Quick look at the stats suggests the driver troubles that cropped up at Locust Hill reared their ugly heads again at Oakmont. Not only did her accuracy off the tee go down over the last 36 holes, so, too, did her greens in regulation, which suggests she was missing worse on the weekend.]

[Update 116 (5:31 pm): Hate to say I told you so. Not! (About both Americans' ability to contend and the questions surrounding Kerr's driving.)]

[Update 117 (5:34 pm): Sweet 68 for Inky nets her probable T3, although after Amy Yang eagled 17 to join her and Pettersen at +2, maybe I shouldn't count her chickens!]

[Update 118 (5:35 pm): Yang's the 14th player to be under par today!]

[Update 119 (5:36 pm): Man, if Pettersen and Yang par 18 or better, they knock Shin and Lang out of the top 5!]

[Update 120 (5:37 pm): Creamer doesn't even bother to birdie 17. That's how far ahead she is.]

[Update 121 (5:38 pm): Amazing that she's -5 on the par 4s this week!]

[Update 122 (5:41 pm): Yokomine ended up bogeying 18 to end up at +6, just outside the top 10 unless people in the last 2 groups mess up.]

[Update 123 (5:44 pm): Pettersen birdies 18 for a 69 to tie Choi at +1, probably thinking "where was this all day?"]

[Update 124 (5:50 pm): Creamer hits the 18th green in regulation. Even at Oakmont, this one is over! Congratulations to Paula on her 1st of hopefully many majors!]

[Update 125 (5:55 pm): Yang generously bogeyed 18 to allow Shin and Lang to share T5 with her at +3. Just kidding!]

[Update 126 (7/15/10, 6:08 pm): Great story from Ryan Ballengee about following several players on Sunday at the Open with their folks.]

[Update 126 (6:54 pm): Here's Hound Dog's final-round overview! A lot easier to follow than 125 updates, eh?]

[Update 127 (7/21/10, 7:46 am): Man, Kristy McPherson lost her grandmother a few weeks ago and then her dad had a stroke right before the Open.]

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