Saturday, February 4, 2012

Frances Bondad and Ha-Neul Kim Go Low, But So-Yeon Ryu Still Leads the Australian Ladies Masters

Frances Bondad fired a 63 and Ha-Neul Kim a 64 on moving day at the Gold Coast RACV Australian Ladies Masters, but 2nd-round leader So-Yeon Ryu followed up yesterday's 61 with a solid 69 and enjoys a 3-stroke cushion on Christel Boeljon after 54 holes.  Meanwhile, a sweet 66 by the LET's Diana Luna made her only the 3rd player in the field (with Kim) to enter Sunday's final round within 5 shots of the 2011 U.S. Women's Open champion.  With Bondad 7 back, 1st-round leader Bo-Mee Lee and fellow JLPGAer Nikki Campbell 8 behind, and only Felicity Johnson and Amelia Lewis less than double-digits off the pace, this is definitely Ryu's tournament to lose.

But there will be other interesting games within games tomorrow.  14-year-old Lydia Ko passed soon-to-be-17-year-old Lexi Thompson in the battle of the global phenoms with a 69; the New Zealander is 1 shot ahead of the American with 1 round left to play.  Danielle Kang, who dominated in recent years in the U.S. amateur ranks but struggled last fall in Q-School, fired a 66 to get within 2 shots of Lewis in the battle for low American (meanwhile, she's 2 shots ahead of Thompson and 3 shots ahead of Stacy Lewis).  Campbell has a 3-shot lead in the battle for low Aussie over Wendy Doolan, Lindsey Wright, and Bree Arthur.  Carlota Ciganda and Maria Hernandez are tied as they duel for low Spaniard.  1 shot separates Nontaya Srisawang and Titiya Plucksataporn for low Thai honors.  Julieta Granada has a 3-shot lead on Mariajo Uribe and a 4-shot lead on Victoria Tanco in her effort to be low South American.  And everyone playing in the LPGA's 2012 debut at the Women's Australian Open is looking for some positive momentum heading into next week's ALPG event.

[Update 1 (7:58 am): Jamie is already thinking about the forthcoming Ryu-Thompson showdown for LPGA Rokie of the Year honors!  I'm with him, but given the question marks he mentions for both, I'm wondering if anyone else might horn in on this race....]

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