Sunday, November 7, 2010

Mizuno Classic Sunday: Final-Round Queen Pulls Away from Comeback Queen in Home Stretch

Ya Ni Tseng did what she had to do today in the Mizuno Classic's final round, making birdies in 6 of her 1st 11 holes to catch 2nd-round leader Ji-Yai Shin at -16, but Shin, too, did what she had to do down the stretch, adding 2 more birdies to her 3 early ones and pulling away from her challenger for her 2nd LPGA and JLPGA victory of the year. The key for the short-hitting Shin was that she birdied every par 5 today, just as she had done in the 1st round (and almost done in the 2nd round--the only par 5 she failed to birdie all week was the 1st hole on Saturday!). With her 3rd straight round under 70 and no bogeys over her final 40 holes, Shin was just too tough to catch this week.

Not that people didn't give it the ol' college try. Mizuno girl Stacy Lewis didn't make a bogey over her last 43 holes and joined Shin and Tseng in breaking 70 all 3 days, ending up only 3 shots off the pace. Mika Miyazato had a 30-hole bogey-free run still going as she walked off the 18th green today with her 3rd round in the 60s of the week complete, but because she could never go really low, she ended up 7 off the pace. Brittany Lincicome (-11), Inbee Park (-10), Karrie Webb (-8), and Ji-Hee Lee (-4) fired 65s--and each of them had good chances to break Lewis's tournament record of 64 from moving day. Heck, even Ai Miyazato shot a 5-birdie 68, even with a walkoff bogey on the par-4 9th for the 2nd day in a row.

What this all means is that all the LPGA's season-long races have gotten even tighter. Here's how they stand with 2 events left to play:

1. Na Yeon Choi $1.78M (2 wins in 21 starts, 170 Player of the Year points, 69.82 scoring average, 4.24 birdies per round)
2. Ji-Yai Shin $1.78M (2/18 starts, 170, 69.95, 4.00)
3. Ya Ni Tseng $1.55M (3/17, 2 majors, 188, 70.36, 3.88)
4. Cristie Kerr $1.46M (2/19, 1 major, 166, 69.94, 4.17)
5. Suzann Pettersen $1.42M (0/17, 122, 70.05, 3.71)
6. Ai Miyazato $1.41M (5/19, 174, 70.60, 3.92)
7. Song-Hee Kim $1.16M (0/20, 104, 70.10, 3.99)
8. In-Kyung Kim $.90M (0/19, 86, 70.65, 3.71)
9. Michelle Wie $.89M (1/18, 62, 71.23, 3.60)
10. Inbee Park $.83M (0/19, 62, 70.83, 3.46)
11. Paula Creamer $.82M (1/12, 1 major, 71, 71.00, 3.54)
12. Katherine Hull $.76M (1/22, 66, 71.33, 3.36)
13. Morgan Pressel $.73M (0/21, 40, 70.95, 3.58)

I'll add the Rolex Rankings when they come out tomorrow.

Since this was also a JLPGA event, I'll also update their money list, where, among the JLPGA regulars, Sun-Ju Ahn extended her lead on Sakura Yokomine and only Miki Saiki, Yukari Baba, and Chie Arimura made much money:

1. Sun-Ju Ahn ¥126.57M
2. Sakura Yokomine ¥93.77M
3. Mi-Jeong Jeon ¥80.69M
4. Yukari Baba ¥79.74M
5. Chie Arimura ¥72.28M
6. Saiki Fujita ¥61.41M
7. Yuri Fudoh ¥61.15M
8. Akane Iijima ¥58.87M
9. Inbee Park ¥56.10M
10. Rui Kitada ¥54.74M
11. Nikki Campbell ¥53.82M
12. Ji-Hee Lee ¥50.28M
13. Young Kim ¥49.09M
14. Ji-Yai Shin ¥48.68M
15. Miki Saiki ¥46.16M
16. Mayu Hattori ¥43.06M
17. Shinobu Moromizato ¥41.55M
18. Ayako Uehara ¥40.94M
19. Eun-A Lim ¥39.86M
20. Na-Ri Kim ¥38.81M
21. Mie Nakata ¥37.67M
22. Hyun-Ju Shin ¥35.10M
23. Miho Koga ¥34.53M
24. Hiromi Mogi ¥32.88M
25. Asako Fujimoto ¥31.46M
26. Rikako Morita ¥31.43M
27. Ji-Woo Lee ¥30.61M
28. Hiromi Takesue ¥29.86M
29. Akiko Fukushima ¥29.66M
30. Na-Ri Lee ¥29.03M
31. Bo-Bae Song ¥28.96M
32. Ah-Reum Hwang ¥27.12M
33. Maiko Wakabayashi ¥26.03M
34. Kaori Aoyama ¥25.47M
35. Yun-Jye Wei ¥23.50M
36. Ritsuko Ryu ¥21.53M
37. Momoko Ueda ¥21.24M
38. Junko Omote ¥20.56M
39. Tamie Durdin ¥20.44M
40. Nobuko Kizawa ¥20.29M

At #46 on the money list, with 1 event left for her to play this season--the big-money Ricoh Cup--Ai Miyazato is pretty much assured of keeping her JLPGA card for 2011. As for #50 Yuko Mitsuka, she has her work cut out for her. And unless #70 Shiho Oyama gets a medical exemption for next year or plays fantastic next week, well, we'll be seeing her in the next stage of JLPGA Q-School. Ditto for #60 Teresa Lu and #82 Seon Hwa Lee.

Back to the LPGA in closing, Ji-Yai Shin is sticking to her word and skipping the Lorena Ochoa Invitational, which gives pretty much everyone else at the top of that tour's various races a great chance to make moves (except Inbee Park, who's playing the JLPGA's Ito-En Ladies instead of Lorena's event). Ya Ni Tseng can clinch Player of the Year with a win in Mexico, which would also bring her into serious contention for the money-list title. Na Yeon Choi can extend her lead in the race for the Vare Trophy and money-list title with another excellent week. But if she falters, Cristie Kerr can take the scoring average lead from her with some great play in Guadalajara. Ai Miyazato needs to get her 2nd win in Mexico of the season to retake the lead in the Player of the Year race and would have an outside shot at the money list title were she to build on today's 68 instead of her 1st 2 rounds this week. A fantastic week for Suzann Pettersen in Guadalajara would put her in contention for the Vare Trophy and a win would also put her in the dialogue for money-list title.

In short, nothing's been decided and everything's still up for grabs!

[Update 1 (5:18 am): Mike Southern is also thinking about the LPGA's season-long races!]

[Update 2 (5:42 am): There are a few typos in's notes and interviews run-down of the key stats, but I'm sure they'll fix them soon!]

[Update 3 (9:10 am): Great play-by-play at Hound Dog LPGA, particularly of the 1st 11 holes.]

[Update 4 (6:36 pm): The latest from derr2000:


[Update 5 (11/8/10, 11:58 am): Great epilogue by Hound Dog, showing how big a difference a Shin win as opposed to a Tseng win has made to the various season-long races on the LPGA. I tend to see Ai Miyazato's 1 bad round as just a blip, but then I would, wouldn't I?]

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