Thursday, July 8, 2010

U.S. Women's Open Thursday Afternoon: Meet Kelli Shean, South African Razorback Cinderella

Every year it seems there's a new Cinderella, usually American, who emerges early in the U.S. Women's Open. Think Michelle Wie, Stacy Lewis, Mariajo Uribe, Jean Reynolds--just to name a few recent ones. Well, go ahead and add Kelli Shean to that list. The 22-year-old Arkansas Razorback from South Africa is -2 with the long par-3 8th and the short par-5 9th left to play. She has a great chance not only to become the 1st player this week to post an under-par round, but also to break 70.

Oh, and remember Alexis Thompson, who missed her 1st cut as a professional just a few weeks ago? Well, she's only +1 with 4 tough finishing holes ahead of her.

More in a bit!

[Update 1 (5:48 pm): Shean parred the tough one--can she birdie the easier one?]

[Update 2 (6:24 pm): Nope, she bogeyed it! Still, 70 makes her leader in the clubhouse, and only Inbee Park, who's -1 with only the 9th left to play, has a good chance of passing her.]

[Update 3 (6:28 pm): If Amy Yang and Alena Sharp can par the long 18th hole, they'll match the low rounds of the morning and join Sakura Yokomine and Mhairi McKay at 71.]

[Update 4 (6:32 pm): Bogey for Sharpie. Let's see if Natalie Gulbis and Jee Young Lee can birdie the 9th to join her.]

[Update 5 (6:35 pm): If Cristie Kerr can par the tough 18th, she'll also shoot a 72.]

[Update 6 (6:37 pm): Former Open champion Inbee Park joins Shean at -1. She couldn't birdie 9, but a 70 is a 70!]

[Update 7 (6:39 pm): BTW, both Thompson and Gulbis ended with solid 73s.]

[Update 8 (6:41 pm): Wow! Walkoff birdie for Amy Yang to join Shean and Park at 70! Now it remains to be seen if Brittany Lang, who's -2 with 4 to play on the back, can surpass then. This would be an amazing week for Lang to finally get her putter going!]

[Update 9 (6:43 pm): M.J. Hur is also -1 with 2 tough finishing holes left to play.]

[Update 10 (6:47 pm): Wow!! Walkoff eagle for Christina Kim on the 9th to fight back to a 72! The girl is hot!]

[Update 11 (6:53 pm): Wow! Brittany Lang has birdied 2 in a row and 3 of her last 7 to get to -3 overall. Who says American women can't golf?!]

[Update 12 (6:55 pm): Good 72 for Cristie Kerr, considering she bogeyed her 1st 2 holes out of the gate. Ya Ni Tseng went out in 39 but recovered to shoot a 73, good enough for T23 right now.]

[Update 13 (6:56 pm): Vicky Hurst is -1 over her last 8 holes and E overall with the tricky 17th and tough 18th left to play.]

[Update 14 (6:57 pm): In all the excitement, I missed that Jee Young Lee did birdie the 9th for her 72.]

[Update 15 (7:08 pm): If Na On Min can make her 3rd birdie in her last 5 holes on the 9th, she'll join the ever-growing group at 72. Seon Hwa Lee needs a pair of pars on 17 and 18 to do it, as well.]

[Update 16 (7:10 pm): BTW, Lang parred 16 and Hur parred 17 to remain at -3 and -1, respectively.]

[Update 17 (7:12 pm): Disappointing 77s for Juli Inkster and Anna Nordqvist, but not as bad as Hee-Won Han's 83. Still, it would be hard to say that Oakmont humiliated anyone today. Where are those scores in the triple digits, or even over 90, that everyone was throwing around as real possibilities?]

[Update 18 (7:13 pm): Ah, the 17th got Vicky Hurst--bogey to drop to +1.]

[Update 19 (7:14 pm): Add M.J. Hur to the list of 70-shooters for today!]

[Update 20 (7:19 pm): Somehow I overlooked Amy Yang's eagle on the 9th that really got her round going. She was 3-over after doubling the 1st and bogeying the 3rd--and -4 the other 15 holes!]

[Update 21 (7:22 pm): 17th got Seon Hwa Lee, too. She'll need to regroup on the tough 18th to salvage a 73.]

[Update 22 (7:25 pm): Looks like, in the end, about as many players are going to break 75 as fail to break 80. Even though scores were lower for the afternoon pairings at the top of the leaderboard, they were higher at the bottom, on average.]

[Update 23 (7:27 pm): Lang parred the treacherous, short 17th. Par on 18 would give her a 68!]

[Update 24 (7:28 pm): Min, meanwhile, had to settle for a 73 when she couldn't birdie the 9th.]

[Update 25 (7:33 pm): Missed taking note of eagles by Natalie Gulbis and Angela Stanford, I believe. Fortunately the USGA has a page for that!]

[Update 26 (7:34 pm): Vicky Hurst parred 18 for a solid 72. Nice job!]

[Update 27 (7:49 pm): Seon Hwa hung in there for an opening 73 (T22 in the end). As for Brittany, she bogeyed it to settle for the only sub-70 round of a day, a fantastic 69. Don't ask what playing partner Momoko Ueda shot.]

[Update 28 (9:28 pm): Hound Dog's 1st-round overview is excellent as always, with details on the leaders' rounds, more on Shean, and the news that it's not Alexis but Lexi Thompson now!]

[Update 29 (9:36 pm): Nice profile of Shean by Beth Ann Baldry. In the list of Cinderellas that she added to mine, it's worth noting that neither of us came up with the name of the person who's now leading the tournament. But Birdie Kim beat Brittany Lang just as surely as she did Morgan Pressel!]

[Update 30 (9:39 pm): Sean Martin gives a nice round 1 overview by picking up on the perseverance shown by Amy Yang and others today at Oakmont.]

[Update 31 (9:52 pm): Here's Ashley Mayo with some good details on Lang.]

[Update 32 (10:16 pm): Nice job by Gary Van Sickle on Paula Creamer's day--and season.]

[Update 33 (7/9/10, 2:05 am): Nice post by Shane Bacon on Kelli Shean. Makes you wish he'd be inspired to write on women's golf more often.]

[Update 34 (3:11 am): Here are's notes and interviews.]

[Update 35 (3:17 am): Here are Jamie Belyea and Ryan Ballengee.]

[Update 36 (9:24 am): Just realized Justin Hancher did running updates on the USGA site. They're good!]

[Update 37 (4:56 pm): Lisa Mickey surveys how the Futures Tour standouts did in the 1st round and gets good quotes from most of them.]

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