Thursday, July 29, 2010

Women's British Open Thursday: Will Anyone Break 70 in the Winds at Royal Birkdale Today?

On a day that started windy, Juli Inkster and Ji-Yai Shin were the 1st to post under-par scores at the Women's British Open. The LET has details on their 71s, which were recently matched by Brittany Lang. With Gwladys Nocera -2 through 8 holes of bogey-free golf, Amy Yang -2 with 4 holes to go, Anne-Lise Caudal -2 with 3 holes to play, and In-Kyung Kim -2 with 1 left, I'm guessing that the winds have died down a little in the afternoon. But will any of them be able to break 70?

[Update 1 (10:29 am): Among those playing well today, I'm seeing a lot of red numbers between the 3rd and 8th holes. Inkster, for instance, was -4 on that stretch. And even several who couldn't go under par did well there. Karrie Webb went out in 32 after having gone -3 in that stretch. Jeong Jang birdied 3 holes in a row there on her way to an opening 34. But guiven how both of them fell apart on the back (neither birdied a hole on the way to a 41 for Webb and a 40 for Jang), the players who failed to take advantage of those holes had a long round ahead of them. Only 1 player who finished at +3 or worse today outdid Karen Lunn (75), the only player in that group to shoot an even-par 37 on the back. It wasn't Ai Miyazato (76), who was +5 in her 1st 13 holes and -1 over her last 5. Nor was it Morgan Pressel (77), who almost made as many bogeys (7) as greens she hit in regulation (8). Not Angela Stanford (76), Vicky Hurst (76), Mika Miyazato (77), Amanda Blumenherst (77), Melissa Reid (77), or Kristy McPherson (79). Nope, it was Haeji Kang (75), who had a chance to shoot a bogey-free 34 on the back with a birdie on the par-5 18th, but instead bogeyed it for a 36. So, yeah, scoring is tough today.]

[Update 2 (10:36 am): The other place at which the leaders seems to be distinguishing themselves are Royal Birkdale's 2 closing par 5s. Maria Hjorth birdied both of them to offset a double bogey on the par-3 12 and finish her day at +1 (T26 right now). Anna Nordqvist also closed her round with 2 straight birdies (and picked up another pair on the oar-3 14th and par-5 15th, although she bogeyed 13 and 16) on her way to an even-par 72 (T10 right now). If In-Kyung Kim had followed up her birdie on 17 with another on 18, she would have been the 1st player to break 70 this week, but she could only manage a par.]

[Update 3 (10:39 am): Stacy Lewis birdied 17 and 18, too, matching Hee-Won Han's bogey-free 34 on the back by matching her feat of making 3 birdies in her last 5 holes. At 71 and 72, respectively, both have put themselves in great position heading into Friday's round.]

[Update 4 (10:44 am): Nocera bogeyed 9 to settle for a 34 on the front. Caudal needs a birdie on 18 to break 70. Yang needs to go -1 or better over her last 2 holes to break 70.]

[Update 5 (10:45 am): Ya Ni Tseng is -1 through 12 and has a bogey-free round going thus far!]

[Update 6 (10:48 am): Inbee Park only hit 9 greens in regulation, but she saved a 72 on the strength of only 27 putts. Laura Davies did her 1 worse in GIR and 1 better in putts to match her 72. Brittany Lincicome opened with a double bogey and a bogey, but she birdied 3 in a row late on the front and is E with 5 holes to go.]

[Update 7 (10:54 am): Momoko Ueda and Mariajo Uribe have the only eagles of the day thus far, both on the par-5 6th. After a birdie on 10, Ueda is +3 with 5 to go, having made a double and 4 bogeys on the front. Uribe's eagle is the lone bright spot early in her round, as she's bogeyed 4 of her 1st 7 holes.]

[Update 8 (10:57 am): My bad--Lee-Ann Pace, who's won on the LET this season, eagled the 18th to salvage a 74.]

[Update 9 (11:02 am): OK, so how have some of the biggest names in the field whom I haven't yet mentioned done today? Paula Creamer bogeyed 3 of her 1st 5 holes but hung in there for a 74. Na Yeon Choi bogeyed 4 of her 1st 6, but surrounded the latter pair with birdies and hung on for a 74 of her own. Suzann Pettersen has a chance to outdo them; she's +2 with 3 to play. Song-Hee Kim uncharacteristically made 6 bogeys today on the way to her 75. Cristie Kerr has already made 5 in her 1st 14 hole--and 2 in her last 3 that dropped her to +3 thus far--so she's in danger of doing worse.]

[Update 10 (11:03 am): Caudal did it! She birdied 18 for the 1st 69 of the day! Here's more on her from her LET Profile page.]

[Update 11 (11:08 am): Another eagle on 18, this from amateur Danielle McVeigh! Even though she made 4 bogeys on the back, her birdie on the par-3 14th combined with her walkoff eagle allowed her to post a 74.]

[Update 12 (11:10 am): How about Candie Kung's day? She opened with a double and closed with a triple but only shot a 75, thanks to 3 birdies in a row late on the front.]

[Update 13 (11:12 am): Lincicome continues to play great golf after her tough start. She made a trio of birdies on the front in a row and added a pair of consecutive birdies on the back. She's now -2 with 3 holes left.]

[Update 14 (11:14 am): Jee Young Lee birdied 3 of her last 5 holes to post a 72.]

[Update 15 (11:18 am): Defending champion Catriona Matthew parred her last 7 holes in a row to salvage a 75 today. Right now that's good enough for T71, outside the WBO cut line of the top 65 and ties, but there's a lot of golf yet to be played before the cut is made and she's not likely to be more than 7 off the lead at worst.]

[Update 16 (11:24 am): Yang birdied 18 to join Caudal at -3.]

[Update 17 (11:26 am): Ueda is now -2 on the back and +2 overall after a birdie on the par-5 15th.]

[Update 18 (11:28 am): I knew from the LET article that Natalie Gulbis didn't start, but just noticed that neither did the JLPGA's leading money-winner thus far this season, Sun-Ju Ahn.]

[Update 19 (11:30 am): Walkoff eagle for Janice Moodie to secure her 72!]

[Update 20 (11:33 am): Just a heads-up that Tseng is still bogey-free and is now at that stretch with 3 par 5s in the last 4 holes. She and Lincicome have a huge chance to make an early statement, with their length.]

[Update 21 (11:36 am): Good thing for Eun-Hee Ji that she birdied 17 and 18, given that she had 2 doubles and 2 bogeys on the back alone. Her 77 ties her with Chie Arimura and Na On Min, among the others I listed earlier in this post. Just because the leaders are playing great doesn't mean that Birkdale lacks teeth.]

[Update 22 (11:38 am): Michelle Wie enters the 2 closing par 5s having made 15 straight pars. Let's see if she can take advantage of her length!]

[Update 23 (11:39 am): Speaking of length, Sophie Gustafson doubled her 1st hole and foillowed it up with 2 bogeys in her next 4, but since then she's played bogey-free golf and with a birdie at 18 would end up with a 72.]

[Update 24 (11:41 am): One of my favorite players, Seon Hwa Lee, saved a 75 with her walkoff birdie, the 1st of the tournament for her.]

[Update 25 (11:49 am): Here are the longest completed bogey-free streaks of the day: Caudal (17), Yang (16), In-Kyung Kim (16), Shin (16), Koch (14), Davies (11), Han (11), Lunn (11), Sarah Lee (10). All of them except Koch have a chance to extend them tomorrow. It'll be interesting to see where Tseng, Wie, and Lincicome end up on this list.]

[Update 26 (11:50 am): Nocera's back to -1 after a birdie on the par-5 15th.]

[Update 27 (11:51 am): Wie birdied 17 to get back to E on her day.]

[Update 28 (11:53 am): Kerr birdied 17 to fight back to +2.]

[Update 29 (11:55 am): Sun Young Yoo is -1 with 3 to play and Stacy Prammanasudh is -1 with 5 holes left to go.]

[Update 30 (11:57 am): Libby Smith is -2 over her last 8 holes of bogey-free golf and has fought back to +1 overall after starting par-double bogey-bogey.]

[Update 31 (11:58 am): How about that?! Wie finished birdie-eagle and takes a 17-hole bogey-free run into tomorrow's round after firing a 70 today!]

[Update 32 (12:01 pm): On the other end of the spectrum, Karen Stupples had eagled the par-4 3rd and was -1 through 5, but ended up with a 77.]

[Update 33 (12:02 pm): Pettersen birdied 18 for a respectable 73.]

[Update 34 (12:04 pm): If Ueda can birdie 18, she'll have shot a bogey-free 33 on the back and battled back to E on her day!]

[Update 35 (12:07 pm): Hee-Kyung Seo's 9-hole bogey-free run ended with a double on 15. She's +3 with 3 to play.]

[Update 36 (12:09 pm): Lincicome birdies 18 to extend her bogey-free run to 16 holes and counting and joins Yang and Caudal at the top of the leaderboard with only the 3rd 69 of the day.]

[Update 37 (12:13 pm): A double on the par-4 16th and no birdies on the closing par 5s means that Christina Kim had to settle for an opening 74.]

[Update 38 (12:14 pm): Katherine Hull birdied 2 of her last 3 holes to close out the front and open with a 34.]

[Update 39 (12:18 pm): Finally some good news to report over at Michelle Wie LPGA!]

[Update 40 (12:21 pm): I wonder if these pics are from the practice rounds or from today?]

[Update 41 (12:23 pm): Tseng birdied 17! She's noiw -2 and bogey-free heading into the final hole.]

[Update 42 (12:29 pm): Ueda did it! She came back from her opening 39, where her only bright spot was an eagle on the par-5 6th, and finished with a bogey-free 33 on the back. She's low Japanese on the day, unless Sakura Yokomine can finish with a birdie and an eagle.]

[Update 43 (12:30 pm): Hull's birdied 3 of her last 4 holes to get to -2 after 10.]

[Update 44 (12:32 pm): Anja Monke was -1 on the back with just the closing par 5s to play, but doubled 17. She's now +4.]

[Update 45 (12:35 pm): Nice 34 for Meaghan Francella on the front. She's got an 8-hole bogey-free run going and has birdied 2 of her last 4 holes.]

[Update 46 (12:36 pm): Helen Alfredsson is tough. Even after tripling the par-5 15th, she finished par-birdie-birdie to salvage a 75.]

[Update 47 (12:39 pm): Walkoff eagle for Ya Ni Tseng to shoot the only 68 and only bogey-free round of the day!]

[Update 48 (12:40 pm): Wow! I love closing par 5s! So you know I love 3 in the last 4 holes. Seems like anything can happen at Birkdale!]

[Update 49 (12:43 pm): Nordqvist and Ueda have been the only players to birdie all 3 of them. Tseng and Wie have been the only ones to finish birdie-eagle. Thus far.]

[Update 50 (12:45 pm): If Sun Young Yoo can eagle 18, she'll tie Tseng for the lead. Birdie will have her join Yang, Lincicome, and Caudal. Par will have her join In-Kyung Kim and Wie.]

[Update 51 (12:54 pm): Here's Louise Friberg on her 76 today and after-round plans.]

[Update 52 (1:00 pm): New completed bogey-free streak rundown: Tseng (18), Wie (17), Lincicome (16), Gustafson (13), Ueda (9). Libby Smith has 11 and counting, Sarah-Jane Smith 10 and counting, Prammanasudh 8 and counting, Hull 7 and counting.]

[Update 53 (1:01 pm): Yoo birdied 18 to become the 5th player to break 70 today.]

[Update 54 (1:02 pm): Right now Katherine Hull and Stacy Prammanasudh are the only players on the course who are under par. Hull's -2 through 11 and Prammanasudh is -1 with 2 to play. Meaghan Francella is even through 11.]

[Update 55 (1:13 pm): Francella birdied 12 to get to -1. Prammanasudh needs to birdie 18 for a 70.]

[Update 56 (1:19 pm): BTW, Azahara Munoz eagled the 18 to salvage a 74 today. That's important because she kept close to fellow LPGA rookie Gwladys Nocera, who was -2 through 8 but finished with only a 71, and stayed ahead of all the other LPGA rookies. It also keeps her within shouting distance of In-Kyung Kim, who like her is an LET rookie, and only 1 shot behind Maria Hernandez, who'se 2nd in the LET ROY race.]

[Update 57 (1:20 pm): Yokomine failed to birdie 17 or 18; her 74 puts her 2 behind Ueda and 2 ahead of Ai Miyazato in the race for low Japanese player this week.]

[Update 58 (1:24 pm): Walkoff eagle for Hee Kyung Seo salvaged a 73 for her today. Not bad to be tied with Kerr, Pettersen, Webb, Gustafson, and Hjorth, among others, especially considering how bad she'd been playing on the KLPGA since winning the LPGA's Kia Classic.]

[Update 59 (1:34 pm): Par-par finish for Prammanasudh is the worst among the leaders, tied with Juli Inkster and Laura Davies. That's good company, but not good golfing.]

[Update 60 (1:35 pm): Of course, it's better than Carin Koch (par-bogey), Webb (bogey-par), and Jang (bogey-bogey), but the weather conditions were a lot tougher for them.]

[Update 61 (1:37 pm): Still, Prammanasudh was -1 over her last 10 bogey-free holes. And she did shoot a 71. Sarah-Jane Smith has 11 pars in a row as she plays the last 2 par 5s. She's +2 because of a bad start; let's see how she finishes. Also waiting to see how Libby Smith, who has a 14-hole bogey-free run going and is -2 in that stretch, plays the last 2 holes.]

[Update 62 (1:40 pm): Whoa! Ex-LPGAer Nina Reis took a 10 on 17. Ouch!]

[Update 63 (1:42 pm): Mi Hyun Kim bounced back from a pair of bogeys with a pair of birdies early on the back and is E with 5 holes to go.]

[Update 64 (1:49 pm): Gotta love Catriona Matthew!]

[Update 65 (1:50 pm): Nice job by the LET to highlight the best rounds of the day.]

[Update 66 (1:53 pm): Holy moley!! Uribe got her 2nd eagle of the day--this 1 on the par-5 17th--to fight back to +1 on her day.]

[Update 67 (2:00 pm): Too bad! Sarah-Jane Smith's bogey-free run comes to an end at 11 holes with a double on 17. She's now +4.]

[Update 68 (2:14 pm): Chella Choi bogeyed the 1st 2 holes, but has rattled off 9 pars and a birdie to fight back to +1 with 6 to play. Eunjung Yi has 8 pars in a row to hold steady at +1 through 13. M.J. Hur's also working on an 8-hole bogey-free run and has stayed at +1 since the 7th hole.]

[Update 69 (2:16 pm): OK, Hull is still -2 as she heads into 17 and 18. Let's see what she can do with them. She has 12 holes and counting without a bogey.]

[Update 70 (2:37 pm): Hull parred 17. Francella's -1 heading into the 2 closing par 5s. Mi Hyun Kim is E as she waits to play 17.]

[Update 71 (2:38 pm): Nice birdie-birdie finish for Hee Young Park to snag a 72.]

[Update 72 (2:39 pm): Chella Choi's bogey-free run ended at 11 holes witha bogey on the par-3 14th that drops her to +2 on the day.]

[Update 73 (2:40 pm): Meena Lee has 12 pars in a row and with a birdie on 18 would salvage a 73.]

[Update 74 (2:47 pm): Too bad! Uribe could only par 18 so ended with a 73. Not bad for making 6 bogeys, but with 2 eagles you'd like to go a lot lower!]

[Update 75 (2:49 pm): Bad bogey by Francella at 17. She's now E with Mi Hyun Kim and Stacy Bregman.]

[Update 76 (2:50 pm): The par-5 15th ended Eunjung Yi's 9-hole birdie run. She's now +2 with 3 to play.]

[Update 77 (3:09 pm): Wow! A walkoff eagle for Hull makes her the co-leader with Tseng at 68!!]

[Update 78 (3:10 pm): That's the 8th eagle on 18 and there are still a good number of players out on the course!]

[Update 79 (3:13 pm): Worst finish of the day belongs to Meaghan Francella, a bogey-double disaster that drops her all the way to +2 (T42 right now).]

[Update 80 (3:27 pm): Good thing weather forecasts don't mean anything in England, right?]

[Update 81 (3:30 pm): OK, solid 72 for Mi Hyun Kim, even if she couldn't birdie either of the closing par 5s. Moira Dunn is maming a good comeback with 2 birdies in her last 4 holes. If she can make it 3 for 3 on the closing par 5s, she would salvage a 74. Wonder how much sunlight they have left over there.]

[Update 82 (3:44 pm): Bregman's birdied 3 of her last 6 holes and is at -1 as she plays 18.]

[Update 83 (3:46 pm): Moira couldn't birdie 18, but she's in with a 75.]

[Update 84 (3:47 pm): Turns out Reis only made a 9 on 15. Still the highest number of the day, but better than a 10! Hope everyone can finish today.]

[Update 85 (3:49 pm): The last 2 threesomes are on the 18th. Wouldn't it stink to have to come out at sunrise to hit 1 or 2 shots and 1 or 2 putts?]

[Update 86 (3:59 pm): Here are the longest bogey-free runs of the day: Tseng (18), Caudal (17), Wie (17), Yang (16), In-Kyung Kim (16), Shin (16), Lincicome (16), Libby Smith (15), Koch (14), Tinning (14), Hull (14), Gustafson (13), Davies (11), Han (11), Lunn (11), Sarah-Jane Smith (11), Chella Choi (11), Sarah Lee (10), Prammanasudh (10), Ueda (9), Yi (9). All except Koch's, Sarah-Jane Smith's, Choi's, and Yi's can be extended tomorrow.]

[Update 87 (4:00 pm): Bregman's par on 18 makes her the 15th player to break par on the day.]

[Update 88 (4:01 pm): Add Irene Cho to the bogey-free list. She made 8 pars and a walkoff birdie on 18 to post a 73. Chella Choi followed up her birdie on 15 with another on 18 for her 72.]

[Update 89 (4:03 pm): It ended up being a pretty good day for scoring for a WBO. 6 players broke 70, 15 went under par, 28 shot par or better, and 63 broke 75.]

[Update 90 (4:09 pm): Here's Beth Ann Baldry's notes on the 1st round.]

[Update 91 (4:11 pm): Funny piece on Inkster and Davies by Alistair Tait.]

[Update 92 (5:44 pm): Mowed the lawn with no ill effects on my back (which may not sound like much, but I have a person-powered mower), so I'm definitely headed to Syracuse early tomorrow am. I won't be posting in as much detail the rest of the week, but my folks are taping the ESPN coverage for me while I'm at Drumlins. So enjoy the notes and interviews from the 1st round!]

[Update 93 (5:58 pm): I'll leave you with Hound Dog's wonderfully concise and complete 1st-round overview.]


courtgolf said...

NUTS ! Forgot to turn it on today. Thanks for the play by play, Con.

The Constructivist said...

My pleasure. Fun to follow a 1st round closely before the storylines really coalesce. I'm hoping my folks remembered to tape this for me. I'd love to see what the weather was actually like!