Sunday, October 17, 2010

CVS/pharmacy LPGA Challenge Weekend: Shootout at the Blackhawk Corral

When Brittany Lincicome fell back to earth on Friday, the CVS/pharmacy LPGA Challenge became a classic free-for-all on the weekend. Moving day was dominated by LET-seasoned rookies Beatriz Recari (2 birdies in her last 5 holes to get to -12) and Gwladys Nocera (71 to get to -11), American veterans Michele Redman (walkoff eagle to get to -12) and Wendy Ward (69 to get to -11), and a few surprises--Ilhee Lee (eagle on 11 helped her get to -12), Karine Icher (birdied her last 3 holes for a 66 that got her to -10), and Libby Smith (31 on the back capped off a bogey-free 66 that got her to -9)--all looking to spoil the chances of pre-tournament favorites Cristie Kerr (bogey-free 66 got her to -9), Katherine Hull (her 2nd late double of the week almost offset her 3 birdies in her last 4 holes that took her to -9), and Brittany Lincicome (who only did 10 shots worse on Saturday than she did on Thursday and punched in at -8).

With Ji-Yai Shin taking 2nd place in the Fujitsu Ladies--even though she was the only player in the field to break 70 all 3 days, she lost to former KLPGA rival Sun-Ju Ahn by 7 shots, mostly because Ahn made 23 birdies in her 1st 47 holes!--it looks like Kerr still has a chance to take the #1 spot in the Rolex Rankings. But she'll have to put on the afterburners to get into the mix on the back 9 today. Even though none of the leaders are putting on a performance worthy of Sarah Kemp, who's -6 on her day as she plays the par-5 9th, her final hole, and -8 overall, Kerr is currently 3 shots behind Recari, 2 behind Redman, and 1 behind Nocera and Ward. Stay tuned!

[Update 1 (5:10 pm): Angela Stanford -3 and bogey-free through 13 today. At -8 overall, she'll need a lot of birdies down the stretch to have a chance!]

[Update 2 (5:11 pm): Shanshan Feng is the only other player making a real Sunday charge--she's got 5 birdies in her 1st 13 holes and is -9 overall.]

[Update 3 (5:14 pm): Too bad--Kemp eagled the 9th yesterday to salvage a 70 and eagled 5 on both Friday and Sunday, but she could only manage a par today on her final par 5. Still, her 66 is the low score of the day by 4 shots so far!]

[Update 4 (5:15 pm): Feng's now birdied 3 of her last 4 holes and would be better than -10 now if that non-birdie hadn't been a bogey!]

[Update 5 (5:16 pm): Amy Hung fell out of contention with a 74 yesterday, but after 2 birdies and 11 pars today, she's climbed back to -9 and still has a ghost of a chance!]

[Update 6 (5:18 pm): Karrie Webb eagled the par-4 8th and with her birdie on the 15th is now -3 on the day and -7 overall. Her walkoff triple yesterday is her only big mistake of the week--but what a mistake it must have been!]

[Update 7 (5:20 pm): Recari bogeyed the 11th to fall back to -12. Kerr's only 2 off the lead now!]

[Update 8 (5:23 pm): Leta Lindley is bogey-free and -4 through her 1st 15 holes today; only -5 overall, but still great to see her playing well.]

[Update 9 (5:27 pm): Stacy Lewis is battling back from a front-9 42 (which included a 7!) yesterday with 4 birdies and only a 1 bogey in her last 24 holes, but at -6 overall, she'll need to play great her last 3 to have a chance for a top 10.]

[Update 10 (5:29 pm): Oops, Lincicome is now 4 down with 4 holes left to play. Like so many at the top of the leaderboard today, she's E on her round thus far. The only real move backwards has been by Ilhee Lee--she's +4 through 11.]

[Update 11 (5:31 pm): Lindley makes it 2 birdies in a row and is now -5 today, -6 overall, with a par 4 and a par 5 on the front left to play.]

[Update 12 (5:35 pm): Nice 69 by Sarah Lee gets her to -5 overall, T22 right now. It's her best finish of the season and with luck she can even outdo her T17 at the Safeway last August.]

[Update 13 (5:36 pm): That may not sound like much--and it's not going to be enough to allow Lee to avoid Q-School--but any week you outplay Paula Creamer (70, -4) is a good week!]

[Update 14 (5:38 pm): Recari bounces back with a birdie on the 12th to get back to -13. 1 hole ahead of her, Nocera birdies the 13th to join Redman at -12.]

[Update 15 (5:41 pm): Odd, now has Recari making pars ever since her birdie on the 6th that got her to -13.]

[Update 16 (5:44 pm): Webb birdies 18 for a 68 that gets her to -8 overall!]

[Update 17 (5:47 pm): No birdie for Feng on the par-5 15th leaves her 3 back with 3 holes to play. Wait, she bogeyed the par-3 16th to drop back to -9. Out of it.]

[Update 18 (5:48 pm): She wasn't the only 1 to drop back to -9. Kerr bogeyed 13 to join her.]

[Update 19 (5:49 pm): Hull birdied 14 to get to -10. If she can do something special on the par 5, her 2nd win in as many weeks is still within her reach!]

[Update 20 (5:51 pm): Recari birdies the par-4 13th to get to -14. She's played the back great this week--let's see if she can keep it going!]

[Update 21 (5:52 pm): Even though she hasn't birdied the par-5 15th all week, she hasn't not birdied the 14th or 16th all week, either!]

[Update 22 (5:56 pm): Icher is now -11 after a birdie on the 14th!]

[Update 23 (5:57 pm): And Ward also birdied it to get to -12!!]

[Update 24 (5:59 pm): Lindley bogeyed the 8th. She'll need to birdie the par-5 9th to pass Lee and Jane Park at -5 and join Morgan Pressel and Jimin Kang at -6.]

[Update 25 (6:05 pm): Taking a little dinner break. Recari still leads Ward, Redman, and Nocera by 2.]

[Update 26 (6:45 pm): Birdie on 14 for Recari got her to -15. Even though she didn't birdie the par-5 15th, nobody else has gotten closer than 3, although Icher joined the group at -12. Nice 67 by Feng to get to -10.]

[Update 27 (10/18/10, 5:27 am): Here are and Hound Dog on Recari's win.]

[Update 28 (11:01 am): Here's Hound Dog with more on Recari and Lincicome; Golf Girl on Recari; and Golf Babes on Recari!]

[Update 29 (11:57 pm): Appreciate the kind words from Jay Busbee, but it's Hound Dog who deserves the play-by-play credit, not lil' ol' me!]

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