Sunday, March 20, 2011

RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup Saturday: Stanford Extends Lead to 3 over Lincicome

With Hound Dog and bangkokbobby doing a fantastic job of summarizing and contextualizing the 2nd-round results from the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup--not to mention looking ahead to the possibility of Cristie Kerr once again denying leader Angela Stanford a win, even from 5 back--I'm happy to stick to my color commentary role from the 1st round, particularly given that I can't match the timeliness of Ruthless Mike's overview.

Let me start with the tv coverage: on the downside, I was unpleasantly surprised that we didn't even get any highlights from those going off in the morning groups before Golf Channel went live--or even any details about Stanford's incandescent 66 and Kerr's flawless 68--but it was wonderful to see the mix of players from around the world who were playing some pretty good golf in the afternoon. One of my faves, Seon Hwa Lee, was sticking her irons and playing flawless golf until a bogey on the 18th dropped her back to -6, along with another of my faves, Mina Harigae, who actually got to -8 in the morning before finishing +2 over her last 6 holes, and one of onechan's faves, Karrie Webb, who poured in 5 birdies over her last 8 holes and 6 over her last 11. It was awesome to see Lee and Webb joined by Mindy Kim (who kept her composure while her threesome was on the clock, although she could never regain the form that saw her open with 5 straight birdies before the cameras started rolling and ended up 4 behind Stanford), Brittany Lincicome (who scraped it around but was making almost everything she looked at, from improbable par saves to electrifying birdies, and is now alone in 2nd at -9, 3 shots behind the leader), Beatriz Recari and Sandra Gal (who did a lot of good things and a lot of bad things as they snuck into the top 10 at -4), Jennifer Song (who played pretty badly when she got Golf Channel's Rookie Spotlight), Stacy Lewis and Song-Hee Kim (who aren't playing close to their best but are hanging in there at -1), and even world #2 Ji-Yai Shin (who barely made the cut after an uncharacteristic 75).

I was also pleased at how well Jane Crafter and Brian Hammonds introduced the players who made it onto the coverage. They got everyone's basic stories right and didn't make any factual errors, which is really all you can ask for from television. If I had one quibble, though, it would be the lack of telling details. Why not mention, for instance, that Seon Hwa Lee joined the million dollar club 2 of her 1st 3 seasons on tour and was never lower than 12th on the money list in those years? The LPGA doesn't have all that many active 4-time winners--Lee is 1 of 8, with as many wins as Angela Stanford and Na Yeon Choi--so Golf Channel ought to be putting the spotlight on them when they can.

Speaking of spotlights, I'd like to see a rundown of rounds of the day near the end of pre-Sunday coverage on Golf Channel. While we got to see much of Webb's 67 and Lincicome's 68, what about others who broke 70 on moving day? It wouldn't take long to put up a graphic showing Stanford's 66, 68s by Kerr, Stacy Prammanasudh, Anna Grzebien, and 69s by Lee, Brittany Lang, Amy Hung, Jenny Suh, Pornanong Phatlum, Jimin Kang, and Pat Hurst and to say a little bit about a few of them. And would it have killed them to mention how close rookie Harukyo Nomura came to making the cut? She was -1 over her last 5 holes (on the front), but still came up 1 shot shy of the cut line. Still, she tied the much more experienced Moira Dunn and beat much more ballyhooed golfers like fellow rookies Tiffany Joh and Sara Brown (who made nice comebacks to fight back to +4), international stars Katherine Hull, Jee Young Lee, Hee-Won Han, Grace Park, Helen Alfredsson, Karen Stupples, Gwladys Nocera, Guilia Sergas, Azahara Munoz, Mariajo Uribe, and Belen Mozo, and Americans Kristy McPherson, Amanda Blumenherst, Jessica Korda, Beth Bader, Jill McGill, and Sherri Steinhauer.

So here are the final-round pairings. The winner's going to come from 1 of the last 5. Will Stanford go wire-to-wire for her 5th career win? Will Lincicome, Kim, or Kerr haul her down? Or will we see charges from the Creamer-Prammanasudh, Harigae-Yoo, or Webb-Lee groups? Golf Channel coverage starts at 7 pm....

[Update 1 (10:12 am): Here are's notes and interviews.]

[Update 2 (12:00 pm): Ryan Ballengee focuses on Angela Stanford's competiveness and familiarity with the course conditions this week.]

[Update 3 (12:11 pm): Check out IceCat's on-course reports at Seoul!]


Tony Jesselli (Tonyj5) said...

Bruce, while you correctly point out that Golf Channel never mentioned Monday rookie qualifier Nomura who missed the cut by one, I want to point out that the other Monday rookie qualifier Amelia Lewis shot 6 strokes better and made the cut but was not mentioned either.

The Constructivist said...

Very true, Tony! Many Americans didn't get mentioned, either. Friday was kind of an all-Solheim Cup thing, I suppose! And apparently on Saturday they could only focus on 1 rookie at a time!

Mike said...

I thought about you when I saw Harigae's name on the leaderboard. ;-)

Hopefully GC will get better as the season wears on. I'll give them credit for putting together a crew that seems to care about the LPGA. That shows in their attention to detail when talking about the players, as you pointed out. And at least (as you also pointed out) they showed a wider variety of the players than usual. Granted, many of the big names weren't playing well enough to warrant coverage, but still...

And since they have a vested interest in helping the LPGA make it through this economic crunch they're facing, maybe they'll get as creative with their broadcasting as the LPGA is with their tournaments.

The Constructivist said...

Yeah, I'm already seeing a lot more effort this year! They did a great job following the leaders on Sunday.