Monday, May 21, 2012

Quick Thoughts on the Sybase Match Play Championship

Wow, so much to respond to from last week's Sybase Match Play Championship--and so little time.  Work hasn't slowed down even though I've gotten my grades in, plus I've got all kinds of non-bloggy writing planned for the summer.  Solution?  A few bullet points!

  • Day 1: "Any given round," indeed!  So happy for Mina Harigae and Mariajo Uribe for their big wins (even though Mariajo's was at the expense of my favorite golfer).  Pretty impressed by how they and Jodi Ewart, Jennifer Johnson, Ryann O'Toole, Jenny Shin, and Jessica Korda took out some of the biggest names in women's golf.  Seemed like the only youngster who had a good chance to win but didn't was Mika Miyazato, but it took some real heroics from Natalie Gulbis to take her down.  Looks like her game is coming around for the summer.  Favorite match: Julieta Granada beats Brittany Lang in the showdown between the slump-prone '06ers.
  • Day 2: And the big names continue to fall!  Ji-Yai Shin started rocketing her putts under pressure from fellow '09er Anna Nordqvist.  Cristie Kerr absolutely handed a win to Vicky Hurst.  Tseng and Choi the only super-elite players left, but Stacy Lewis, So Yeon Ryu, Sun Young Yoo, Azahara Munoz, Amy Yang, and Morgan Pressel looking good.  Guess jet lag got to Inbee Park in her match against Morgan.  Biggest surprises in the sweet 16:  Karine Icher, Vicky Hurst, and Julieta Granada
  • Day 3 morning: Maybe match play favors relatively experienced but either up-and-coming or on-the-comeback-trail players who have something to prove and don't mind playing 6 rounds in 4 days to do it?  How else to explain Candie Kung taking down Ya Ni Tseng, Morgan Pressel eliminating Na Yeon Choi, Vicky Hurst advancing past Angela Stanford, and Julieta Granada beating Karine Icher?  Among the relatively expected winners, probably Stacy Lewis's defeat of fellow KNC champion Sun Young Yoo was the toughest and So Yeon Ryu's defeat of Katherine Hull the easiest.
  • Day 3 afternoon: Simply great match-ups!  Pressel over Nordqvist and Munoz over Lewis was straight out of the Solheim Cup.  Hurst over Ryu was a shocker, while Kung's experience and drive proved too much for Granada.
  • Day 4 morning:  It's "ironic" (in an Alanis kinda way) that slow play in the European Tour's match-play event lead to me missing the Pressel-Munoz slow-play controversy.  The way I see it, the rules officials had to enforce the rule, even if Pressel was particularly unlucky to be the one to take the penalty (especially given that she was the faster player of the 2 and one of the fastest on tour).  I'm sure it was pretty equally shocking to both players, but Munoz was the one who didn't let it affect her putting over the last 6 holes.  Morgan kept her composure well when it came to her demeanor and willingness to be interviewed soon after losing a match that had seemed to be going her way, but it certainly affected her golf more than it did Munoz's.  Kung's victory over Hurst was completely overshadowed.
  • Day 4 afternoon: I don't know how Munoz and Pressel did it, but they both won their afternoon matches.  Again, Munoz's putter was her best club, as she made pressure putt after pressure putt, keeping the pressure squarely on Kung's shoulders.  In the end, she did it for her grandmother and came through with her 1st LPGA victory.  Impressive!
For much more, see Mike's posts over at Ruthless Golf!  I'm hoping to get back in the bloggy swing of things later this week, but given that I've got to get my actual swing in the swing of things in time for the Buffalo District qualifier for the NYSGA's Men's Amateur in T-minus 10 days, that may remain just a hope....

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