Monday, March 21, 2011

RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup Sunday: Stanford Opens Door, Webb 1st Through It for Her 2nd-Straight Win

Sunday struggles struck RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup 1st- and 2nd-round leader Angela Stanford again, as she opened the door to her small lead chase pack with a couple of missed tap-ins on the front and many missed opportunities the rest of the way. By the end of the day, she had fallen to 5th at -9, passed by Cristie Kerr (69), Paula Creamer (66), Brittany Lincicome (70), and Karrie Webb (66). Kerr, Creamer, and Webb charged as Stanford faltered, the 1st by making 4 birdies in her last 8 holes, the next by making 8 birdies in her last 14 holes (after dropping to -2 with back-to-back bogeys early on), and the last by making 6 birdies in her last 14 holes. When the dust settled, Webb had gotten to -12, Creamer to -11, and Kerr to -10. Meanwhile, Lincicome was extending her bogey-free streak to 39 holes, then 45 holes, and got to -12 with 3 holes left to play after making her 2nd birdie on a back-9 par 5 of her round. Despite fighting her game as she had on moving day, with her ability to make clutch putts (and chip-ins!), the tournament was hers to win. But she finished par-par-bogey and just like that, Karrie Webb had won her 2nd-straight LPGA tournament and 38th in her Hall of Fame career. As a result, she was able to split her "winnings" with the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Foundation and Japan relief efforts. As she explained:

at the start of the day I was playing to make as much money as I could for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Foundation, and I talked earlier in the week on behalf of--the reason why I'm involved with them is because of my coach Kelvin Haller, who's been a quadriplegic for 20 years now. So you know, that's why I've been involved with them, and it's near and dear to my heart to be associated with them. And I think they'll understand that I am splitting the 200,000 between them and the relief efforts in Japan. You know, I've been glued to the TV watching it for the past, what, 10 days, nine days now, and you know, it's just unbelievable what's going on over there. And Japan, the fans, the people and many businesses over there have supported me throughout my entire career. So you know, I feel like it's just the least I could do. and bangkokbobby have more on the leaders, so I'll look further down the leaderboard. It was a bittersweet Sunday for 3 players I'd been rooting for in particular. Seon Hwa Lee birdied her 1st 2 holes to get to -8, but her game couldn't take the rigors of serious contention, as she faltered with 4 bogeys and only 2 birdies the rest of the way to end the day where she started at -6. Yes, it was good enough for her 1st top 10 since mid-September 2010, but I'm sure she expected more from herself. Similarly, Mina Harigae (who was featured on after the 2nd round) was high on the leaderboard for much of the day, at -8 from the 5th through 9th holes and again after a birdie on the par-5 11th erased a bogey on the previous hole. But she finished bogey-par-par-par-double-bogey to fall all the way to -4 and a tie for 13th with Brittany Lang, Shanshan Feng, Pornanong Phatlum, and low rookie Jenny Shin. -8 proved to be a barrier for Mindy Kim, as well. That's where she started the day, but after a trio of early bogeys she needed to seriously grind over her last 12 holes. Even though she did, making 2 birdies down the stretch to return to -8, she missed out on qualifying for the Kraft Nabisco Championship by 1 shot. It's too bad Lee, Harigae, and Kim couldn't finish as strong as '06ers Morgan Pressel and Sun Young Yoo--the former birdied 4 of her last 8 holes and the latter 4 of her last 6 to tie for 7th at -7. But that's life on the LPGA. There's always somebody going on a serious birdie train somewhere on the course.

It never really happened for world #1 Ya Ni Tseng, #2 Ji-Yai Shin, or heralded rookie Jennifer Song this week, but they did post 69s on Sunday to sneak into the top 30. Veteran Pat Hurst also shot a 69 that allowed her to squeeze into the top 20, at T19 with the surprising Jean Reynolds and Samantha Richdale. But they were rightly overshadowed by the fireworks from Webb and Creamer, who are now #1 and #3 on the money list. This week's Kia Classic just got even more interesting!

[Update 1 (7:25 am): Here's more from IceCat from Wildfire.]

[Update 2 (11:55 am): Here are Hound Dog's final-round play-by-play and epilogue.]

[Update 3 (2:24 pm): Here's Stephanie Wei on Webb's win and the significance of the Founders Cup.]

[Update 4 (6:00 pm): Karrie Webb is now just behind In-Kyung Kim in the Rolex Rankings, at #8 in the world. Cristie Kerr is now #3 (leaping ahead of the dormant Na Yeon Choi and Suzann Pettersen), while Paula Creamer is now #9.]


Mike said...

An interesting note: Although there aren’t many stats up at, the birdie leader chart appears to be up-to-date… and after 11 rounds the four leaders are Webb (58), Tseng (54), Creamer (49), and Kerr (43).

I asked Hound Dog and I'll ask you: Would you have guessed that before the season started?

The Constructivist said...

Webb is a huge surprise to me; the others aren't. The funny thing is I've been calling for a Webb win since the 2nd half of last season, but when I heard she barely got to practice in the off-season due to terrible weather in her part of Australia, I figured she's start slow this season!