Monday, July 11, 2011

U.S. Women's Open Monday: So Yeon Ryu Rocks 16, 17, and 18 to Catch and Pass Hee Kyung Seo

The 17th hole at the Broadmoor turned out to be Hee Kyung Seo's Waterloo at the 66th U.S. Women's Open, as she missed a short putt to open the door to her lead chase pack as darkness was falling in Colorado Springs last night and bogeyed it during a 3-hole aggregate-score playoff against KLPGA rival So Yeon Ryu, the only one of her chasers to catch--and eventually pass--her. Brent Kelley and Ryan Ballengee have more on how Ryu won her 1st career major on any tour, but what stands out to me is that she played her last 4 holes in 3-under, her last 30 holes in 8-under, and her last 57 holes in 9-under. Which is to say that she finished the hottest and had the best sustained run of anyone in the field.

To pick up where Shane Bacon left off, I have some additions to his list of winners and losers from this week. Seo is definitely a winner, even though she won't yet have her 2nd LPGA win and will have to wait for her 1st as a member of the tour, as she takes a commanding lead in the 2011 Rookie of the Year race. But really, everyone who made the top 10 can take a lot of positives away from the week. Yes, Angela Stanford, Ai Miyazato, Mika Miyazato, and In-Kyung Kim will be smarting for some time about not being able to sustain their great play when they had the lead and Cristie Kerr will be wondering how she could medal 5 times in a row yet never get the gold, but they all outdid world #1 Ya Ni Tseng, who got to +1 at one point on Sunday but couldn't sustain a final push, Suzann Pettersen, whose ballstriking was surprisingly suspect this week, and defending champion Paula Creamer, who was the best ballstriker and one of the worst putters in the field this week. And, yes, Karrie Webb didn't get her 3rd win of the season or her 3rd USWO title, but she, Inbee Park, Amy Yang, and Ji-Yai Shin kept themselves near par without their A-games for most of the week. But the biggest winner besides Ryu has to be UCLA's and the Futures Tour's Ryann O'Toole, who not only played with a lot of spirit, heart, grit, and moxie, but also impressed Johnny Miller. In a week when Lizette Salas and Junthima Gulyanamitta did surprisingly well, O'Toole completely overshadowed the other young pros and low amateur Moriya Jutanugarn.

Speaking of the ESPN2/NBC broadcasting team, I have to say how impressed I was with how well they did their homework, particularly Dottie Pepper. I believe it was Dan Hicks who noted that Ji-Yai Shin's caddie in Asia, Dean Herden, was on Ryu's bag this week. Will this be the start of a new partnership?

As for losers, a host of players with the games to contend this week shot themselves out of the tournament in their 3rd rounds--most notably 77s by Se Ri Pak, Sakura Yokomine, Sun Young Yoo, and Shanshan Feng, a 78 by Michelle Wie, 79s by Stacy Lewis and Azahara Munoz, an 80 by Hee Young Park, and an 81 by Brittany Lang. I don't think Morgan Pressel or Brittany Lincicome will be all that happy with their weeks, either; both came to the Broadmoor hot and left cold. But Pressel's at least returning to the site of her closest brush with the LPGA winner's circle, the Evian Masters. Given how hard the greens were to read and how difficult the weather delays made this week for everyone, I don't think those whose performances were disappointing will stay disappointed for very long.

On the other hand, Ryu will be riding the momentum from this win for a long time. Let's hope she has the confidence not to try to make any major changes after her major win. I'd love to see her avoid the U.S. Women's Open jinx that hit fellow Korean champions Inbee Park and Eun-Hee Ji after their wins. And join the LPGA next season!

[Update 1 (3:12 pm): Stephanie Wei knows to go to Seoul for more on Ryu! Can't wait to read Happy Fan's new post on his blog!]

[Update 2 (7/12/11, 11:51 am): Nice essay by Annika looking back on Open week.]

[Update 3 (11:53 am): Great analysis of Hee Kyung Seo's swing by Ruthless Mike.]

[Update 4 (7/13/11, 10:51 pm): Here's Ruthless Mike on So Yeon Ryu's swing.]

[Update 5 (7/15/11, 7:39 am): Better late than never: here's a belated link to a great bangkokbobby post!]

[Update 6 (7:52 am): And here's the man behind the quality of NBC's and ESPN2's homework for the USWO: Happy Fan!]

1 comment:

pearshapedhuman said...

In a woulda coulda shoulda vein, if they had been able to re-pair after the third round into twosomes, the last five groups would have been:

Creamer +2
Sa;as +2

Webb +2
Ai Miyazato +1

Inbee Park +1
Mika Miyazato E

Seo E
Stanford -1

Kerr -1
Ryu -1

Might have been interesting to see Kerr and Ryu going head to head. Still, I enjoyed the tournament and was happy with the outcome. Even got an extra morning of drama out of it.