Sunday, February 27, 2011

HSBC Women's Champions Friday: Arimura and Webb Take a Joy Ride on Route 66

Chie Arimura and Karrie Webb played some fantastic golf on Friday at the HSBC Women's Champions event in Singapore. Arimura recovered from 2 bogeys in her 1st 3 holes with an eagle on the par-5 5th and 5 birdies in her last 11 holes to post a 66 that got her to -10 through 36 holes, while Webb simply shot a 5-birdie 66 that was sparked by an eagle on the par-5 9th and kept her within 2 of the lead. Their brilliance overshadowed a great 68 by Sun Young Yoo (which put her alone in 3rd at -6), an awesome 67 by Cristie Kerr (which more than made up for her opening 74), and a hot 68 by Song-Hee Kim (which improved on her opening 79 by 11 shots), not to mention 69s by Morgan Pressel, Brittany Lincicome, and Karine Icher.

By contrast, Na Yeon Choi, Karen Stupples, and Ya Ni Tseng had seriously up-and-down rounds. Choi was right in the thick of things until she pulled an approach shot on the 18th, whiffed from inside the hazard line due to her ball being so close to a large rock, decided to chip backwards next, and saved a double with a fantastic pitch to tap-in range. At -4, she joined Stupples in a tie for 4th, but even though the Englishwoman made only 1 birdie and shot a 70, it felt like she threw away a lot of shots on the back 9. Meanwhile, Tseng bogeyed 3 holes in a row as she made the turn, then seemed to be playing better on the back with a nice par save on 15 and a great birdie on 16, but made a sloppy bogey on 17 and needed a great birdie on 18 to salvage a 72.

I was pleased to see that Ai Miyazato posted a 70 on Friday to come back from her 74 the day before. Watching the 1st-round coverage, I had been struck by how disgusted with her ball-striking Ai-sama was for most of the day, but noticed that she seemed to figure out something late in her round. So I can't say I was surprised to see that she made 4 birdies in her middle 14 holes, but I was disappointed that she bogeyed 2 and 17.

From the scoring Friday, it seems the players were starting to adjust to the slower greens on the Tanah Merah Garden course. Unfortunately, my DVR failed to record the 3rd round, so my next make-up post will be worse than this one!

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