Friday, February 4, 2011

Ya Ni Tseng Takes the Lead and the Heavens Open Up Down Under

The 2nd-round ISPS HANDA Australian Women's Open game story from Australia's ABC Sport does a nice job highlighting the brewing Ya Ni Tseng-Ji-Yai Shin showdown, but even more entertaining was following Christina Kim, Karen Stupples, Rebecca Hudson, Becky Brewerton, Kim Welch, and others on twitter as they gave their weather reports after play was suspended. Tseng's bogey-free 67 (sound familiar?) got her to -9 and put her atop the leaderboard when the morning groups were finished with their rounds. Shin was -8 over her 1st 20 holes, and even though she's been +1 in her last 13, she'll come back to a soft course for her last 3 holes of the 2nd round, so could get much closer than the 2 shots she's behind Tseng right now.

I doubt this will end up being a 2-player race, though. If Eun-Hee Ji at -7 through 36 holes can get her ballstriking and putting working well together at the same time, she could reel off a lot of birdies really quickly. Jennifer Song had a lot of trouble hitting greens today, but salvaged an even-par 73 with 4 birdies and some amazing putting to remain at -6. Dual KLPGA-JLPGA member So Yeon Ryu shot her 2nd-straight 33 on the front side today and is only 4 back at the halfway point. And there are a bunch of new blood generation players looking to break through into the big time, among them Futures Tour '10 money list title-holder Cindy LaCrosse (who shot a bogey-free 33 on the back to get to -4 and still has 6 holes left to play on the front), Mariajo Uribe (who's playing some very good golf and sits at -4), her BFF Tiffany Joh (who can go out there tomorrow morning and birdie the par-3 9th to join her), and Mina Harigae (who bounced back with a nice 70 today to get to -2).

Plus, don't count out Christina Kim and Katherine Hull, who both putted the lights today on their ways to a 68 and a 71, respectively, that also got them to -2. If Kim plays the par 4s better and Hull the par 5s, they could make up a lot of ground really quickly. And don't forget that a certain Hall of Famer by the name of Karrie Webb is already -2 and has a chance to get some early momentum going tomorrow on the 17th and 18th holes. It'll be fun to see if Nikki Campbell (-5), Frances Bondad and Nikki Garrett (-3), Tamie Durdin (-1), and Lindsey Wright and Rachel Bailey (E) can challenge Hull and Webb for Head Aussie in Charge of the Week honors, and if any of them can make a move toward the top of the leaderboard.

On the down side, it's disappointing to see Stacy Lewis, Lexi Thompson, and Alison Walshe struggling to keep their heads above the cut line, Ashleigh Simon, Dewi-Claire Schreefel, and Katie Futcher hoping it sinks down to where they're at at +4, Sarah-Jane Smith, Sarah Oh, and Sarah Kemp fighting to make it back to the surface, and Diana D'Alessio, Julieta Granada, Belen Mozo, Kristie Smith, and Louise Stahle among the drowned. Some of them can chalk it up to rust and probably all of them can point to the weather, but the fact is their games aren't yet where they want them to be. Good thing they have the whole season ahead of them!

[Update 1 (2/5/11, 4:24 am): As you can see from the 2nd-round scoreboard, Shin failed to make up ground on Tseng and remained 2 back with Ji, LaCrosse caught Song at -6, T-Joh matched Mariajo at -4, Webb got to -3, Lewis hung in there to join Davies, Hedwall, and Boeljeon at +1, Durdin blew up to just miss missing the cut, Thompson, Schreefel, and Oh joined Futcher and Simon in missing it by a shot, and everyone else who was struggling for breath succumbed, including Belen Mozo, who may be the biggest disappointment for me out of all of them.]

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