Monday, March 26, 2012

Kia Classic Saturday and Sunday: Ya Ni Tseng Wins Going Away

Just like Tiger's win at Arnie's place has everyone wondering about the Masters, Ya Ni Tseng's demolition of La Costa and obliteration of the field at the Kia Classic this past weekend has everyone anticipating her 6th major victory this week at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.  And why not?  Despite being bothered by tendinitis in her right elbow all season, she's already won a shootout, won from behind, and now won by a mile, this time on a course whose tiny greens seemed to favor the LPGA's precision players. 

Even though Tseng missed a bunch of short birdie putts on moving day, she didn't make a bogey all weekend until a meaningless 3-putt on the final hole.  Contrast that with the #2 player on tour, Ai Miyazato, who snagged 5th place with 3 rounds under par and none over par, but who finished 10 shots behind Tseng.  Sure, Miyazato still has the lowest scoring average in 2012, but for how long?  A huge lead on Tseng evaporated to less than a tenth of a stroke at the Kia, thanks to 13 bogeys at La Costa, including 4 in a 9-hole stretch that erased her 4 birdies in a row to start the weekend, which relegated her to a small blip in the world #1's rear-view mirror.  And how about the final-round queen, Ji-Yai Shin, who's next on the money list after her T3 finish?  Well, she made 9 bogeys over the weekend and 6 on Sunday, this despite driving the ball the best of anyone all week, with great accuracy and longer than usual distance for her.  And sure, Sun Young Yoo hung in there despite making 5 bogeys in her final round, snagging just enough birdies to hold onto a solo 2nd-place finish, and Shanshan Feng shot a fine Sunday 67 to move into T3, but basically what they and everyone else were able to do for brief stretches, Tseng was able to do over the course of 72 holes.

So while it's great to see players like Caroline Hedwall, Mina Harigae, Chella Choi, and Jodi Ewart get off to solid starts in 2012, and flashes of brilliance from Hee Kyung Seo, So Yeon Ryu, Jessica Korda, and Jenny Shin, the big question of the year so far is:  where are the rest of Tseng's challengers?  No need to name names--they and we know who they are.  Maybe it'll take the pressure of performing in a major to bring Tseng within striking distance of them.  Maybe....

1 comment:

Tony Jesselli (Tonyj5) said...

I'll name names;

Cristie, Paula, Morgan, Suzann....IT IS TIME TO WAKE UP!!!!