Friday, August 26, 2011

CN Canadian Women's Open Thursday: Ai Miyazato and Pernilla Lindberg Share Lead at -7

Ai Miyazato and Pernilla Lindberg are your co-leaders in the CN Canadian Women's Open after opening with 65s. Paired with Stacy Lewis and Maria Hjorth, Miyazato joined them in playing bogey-free golf all day, thanks to 12 fairways, 15 greens in regulation, and only 26 putts. But one of her best holes was a par save midway through the front (her back) after she pulled her drive left behind a tree, hit a near-grounder from the wet rough, but recovered with a fantastic wedge to tap-in range. Also starting on the 10th tee, Lindberg birdied her 1st 3 holes in a row, then made 2 pairs of consecutive birdies early and late on the front to catch Miyazato at -7.

But they were not alone in taking advantage of the welcoming fairways and rain-softened greens of Hillsdale's Laurentien course. Samantha Richdale was low Canadian with a bogey-free 66, while 67s were carded by defending champion Michelle Wie, Mi Hyun Kim, Song-Hee Kim, Angela Stanford, and Jenny Shin, and 68s by Na Yeon Choi, In Kyung Kim, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Sun Young Yoo, Maria Hjorth, Sophie Gustafson, Hee Young Park, Beatriz Recari, and Silvia Cavalleri. All in all, 30 players broke 70 and 40 are within 5 shots of the lead, including Cristie Kerr, Mika Miyazato, Stacy Lewis, Shanshan Feng, Caroline Hedwall, and Mariajo Uribe at -3 and Karrie Webb, Ji-Yai Shin, Azahara Munoz, Karen Stupples, and Tiffany Joh at -2. (T-Joh, by the way, suffered a walkoff double.)

Katie Futcher, who didn't get a captain's pick for the U.S. Solheim Cup team last Sunday, also opened with a 69, 5 shots better than Vicky Hurst and 6 better than Ryann O'Toole, both of whom did get the call from Rosie Jones. Let's see if she can maintain that margin after today's round. With the likes of Amy Yang, Eun-Hee Ji, Christina Kim, Lexi Thompson, and Laura Davies opening with 74s, Suzann Pettersen, Inbee Park, Hee Kyung Seo, and Mina Harigae with 73s, and Se Ri Pak, Grace Park, Morgan Pressel, Sandra Gal, Cindy LaCrosse, and Jennifer Johnson with 72s, I wouldn't make too much of the slow starts by Hurst and O'Toole. Heck, world #1 Ya Ni Tseng could only manage a 71.

If scoring conditions stay benign, expect the cut line to fall somewhere between +1 and -2, so all the golfers who failed to take advantage of Hillsdale yesterday will have their work cut out for them today. I'll leave you with a link to's notes and interviews and the observation that TSN's intro makes Golf Channel's look positively multicultural. With 7 players from Asia and another 3 of Asian descent part of the 18 at T9 or better, the only one of them to get face time was Wie. Granted, not all of them were there when coverage started, but to skip over top-10 players with compelling stories--like Choi trying to bounce back from a heartbreaking final-round collapse last week, I.K. Kim trying to come back from a badly-missed cut, and Miyazato trying once again to win one for Japan (not to mention M.H. Kim trying to return from injuries, pregnancy, and new motherhood and S.H. Kim trying to extricate herself from the 2nd big slump of her pro career)--is unconscionable.

[Update 1 (4:08 am): bangkokbobby gets it--and has lots of photos and videos, to boot!]

[Update 2 (4:20 am): Nice work from Ruthless Mike, too!]

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