Saturday, November 19, 2011

CME Group Titleholders Thursday and Friday: Na Yeon Choi and Sandra Gal Lead the Way

You'd think that with only 9 players under par through 36 holes at the CME Group Titleholders, with twice that number averaging 75 per round, and with players who broke 70 Thursday often having trouble (or failing to) break 80 Friday, that leaders Na Yeon Choi at -7 and Sandra Gal at -6 would be playing pretty close to flawless golf at Grand Cypress.  Yet Choi has twice bogeyed her final hole and started her 2nd round with a double bogey, while Gal has sprinkled 3 bogeys and plenty of missed fairways and birdie putts into her 2 rounds.  What gives them their small advantage over Paula Creamer and Hee Young Park at -4, Wendy Ward at -3, and Suzann Pettersen at -2 is that they haven't allowed bad holes or bad runs to turn into nosedives and they've managed to bounce back from their mistakes with birdies in bunches. 

The other players in the field may have been able to to accomplish 1 of those tasks, but not both.  Consider the carnage:

  • Except for a double Thursday on the tough par-3 12th, Hee Young Park was playing great golf and was -6 through 10 holes on Friday; she proceeded to play her last 8 holes in +2, with 3 bogeys in that stretch.
  • Despite making 3 bogeys in her 1st 22 holes, Cristie Kerr was -4 through 9 holes, -5 through 15, and -4 through 23; she proceeded to go bogey-double-birdie, make 9 pars in a row, and fall back to even par with a walkoff double. 
  • Azahara Munoz was -4 standing on the tee of the par-3 4th yesterday, with only 1 bogey over her previous 21 holes (also on the 12th); by the time she reached the 14th tee, she had made 3 bogeys and a double and needed a late birdie to get back to E for the week.
  • Anna Nordqvist was cruising along, -4 through 15 holes and -3 through 25; then she took a quad on the par-4 8th and offset her 3 birdies on the back with 2 bogeys in her last 4 holes to drop back to E overall.
  • Morgan Pressel shot a fantastic 67 on Thursday, but started off Friday with a double-bogey-par-double run; even though she bounced back with 2 tough birdie putts in a row on 9 and 10, she bogeyed 14 and doubled 18 to drop back to +1 for the week.
  • Ai Miyazato was -4 and bogey-free over her 1st 8 holes of the tournament; she's played her last 28 holes in +5, with 6 bogeys and 2 doubles in that run.  Nevertheless, she moved up from T20 to T16 when all was said and done.
  • Maria Hjorth was -6 through 22 holes and playing the kind of golf that lead to her win here last year, but all of a sudden she made 3 birdies, a double, and a triple with no offsetting birdies over her last 14 holes to drop all the way from being in contention to T22 at +2.
  • Ya Ni Tseng was -3 through 22 holes and right in the thick of things, but 1 birdie did little to slow the bogey barrage that ensued--she made 4 of them in her last 14 holes, along with a double on the par-3 8th.
  • Karrie Webb went 67-80.  Mi Hyun Kim went 69-80.  'Nuff said.
It's not like everyone played horribly in the wind yesterday.  Park did, after all, match Gal's 69, as did Pettersen and Julieta Granada.  And 6 other players matched Choi's 71, including In-Kyung Kim and Mina Harigae.  But when normally steady players like Sun Young Yoo and Song-Hee Kim each make a quintuple bogey on Thursday, or Amy Yang and Catriona Matthew are averaging 4.5 bogeys a round over their 1st 2 rounds, or Rookie of the Year Hee Kyung Seo has 6 bogeys and 3 doubles on her card in 36 holes, or when Brittany Lang has 7 bogeys, a double, and a triple in that same stretch, you know that the wind, water, and crazy greens at Grand Cypress are wreaking havoc on the world's best women golfers.

This weekend will be a game of survival!

[Update 1 (10:24 am):  Check out the overviews and photos from the 1st 2 rounds provided by bangkokbobby.]

[Update 2 (10:42 am):  Don't know how I missed Candie Kung in my list of collapses:  she was -4 through 28 holes, but finished with 5 bogeys in her last 8 holes, including 3 in a row to kick off the run and back-to-back ones to (hopefully) end it.  She teed off at 10:26 this morning!]

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