Friday, June 10, 2011

LPGA State Farm Classic Thursday: Mindy Kim Scorches Panther Creek with 64

The scariest thing about the 64 that Mindy Kim fired in the 1st round of the LPGA State Farm Classic yesterday to give herself a 2-shot lead on Ji-Yai Shin and Sarah Kemp and a 3-shot lead on Ya Ni Tseng, Brittany Lincicome, and Juli Inkster is how much lower it could have been. It wouldn't have been difficult for her to improve on her front-side 5-hole birdie train on the back when the Golf Channel cameras were on her, as it seemed she was giving herself a makeable birdie putt on every hole I saw. Plus she seemed perfectly calm, cool, and collected during what turned out to be a career round for her. What I'm saying is that I'll bet she still has a lot of gas in her tank for today's round.

And she'll need it. 31 players broke 70 at Panther Creek and kept within 5 shots of her, while 90 are at par or better, and if the weather stays as good today as it was yesterday, there are plenty more rounds in the low- and mid-60s out there. I wouldn't even count out Angela Stanford, Song-Hee Kim, or Sandra Gal at +1, much less Karrie Webb, Anna Nordqvist, or Momoko Ueda at +2, as all it'll take to make the cut is a low round on a vulnerable course, and they're all capable of going very low. On the other end of the leaderboard, I was particularly pleased to see Moira Dunn put together a 5-birdie 68 in the morning groups. I'm hoping the good play of my former junior golf pal rubs off on me tomorrow, as I'm playing in the New York State Men's amateur qualifying round at Caledonia Country Club outside Rochester, weather permitting. There's no reason she can't keep this kind of play going all week. But really the same goes for everyone in the field. The only question is who's going to get hot and how hot they're going to get.

By the way, I discovered from's 1st-round notes and interviews that A.J. Eathorne isn't the only player caddying on tour: Danielle Downey, another NYer, is looping for Sarah Kemp. Another tidbit from the interview with Ji-Yai Shin: her dad is going to college in Korea. In another vein, I have to give the Golf Channel's team credit for taking advantage of Vicky Hurst's chip-in for eagle on the par-5 16th that was driving everyone else crazy yesterday to remind viewers that her awesome season on the Futures Tour overshadowed Mindy Kim's 3 wins that year. More of that kind of background and context from the announcers would be appreciated, given how few cameras they have and how few shots they show relative to PGA Tour coverage. Oh, and speaking of the FT, Monday qualifier Jenna Pearson acquitted herself and her tour well, shooting 2 straight 68s, 1st in Monday qualifying in 98-degree heat and then yesterday. I'm curious to see if she can stay ahead of FT standouts like Christine Song (68), Danah Bordner (68), Gerina (Mendoza) Piller (69), Cindy LaCrosse (70), Jenny Suh (70), Tiffany Joh (72), Harukyo Nomura (72), and Ryann O'Toole (72).

OK, that's all for now. There's much more to be said, but it's time to get the kids ready for school!

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