Saturday, June 30, 2012

Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Saturday: Staying Cool in the Afternoon

Rookie Veronica Felibert is looking great in the early evening at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, making birdies and par saves like it's nothing and becoming the 1st golfer in the field to reach double digits under par.  What's even more impressive is that some excellent golfers have been turning up the heat on her:  Mika Miyazato hit every fairway and 15 greens on her way to a bogey-free 65 that brought her to -7; Inbee Park joined her with a 68 she salvaged with 2 birdies in her last 3 holes; Azahara Munoz got it to -5 with a 68, bringing the total number of players within 5 shots of the lead right now to 13, with Tiffany Joh, Jin Young Pak, and Lizette Salas still making big moves on the course.  In fact, a lot of the players currently under par are pretty young or at least young in LPGA experience:  Danielle Kang, Cydney Clanton, Danah Bordner, Mo Martin, Lisa Ferrero.  More when their rounds are complete!

[Update 1 (6:57 pm):  Nice par save by Felibert on the par-5 14th after getting too aggressive on her birdie putt.  Salas ended up with a 67 and Kang a 68 to get to -2.  Pak is -6 on her round, -5 overall, and still has the par-5 18th ahead of her....]

[Update 2 (7:01 pm):  Check out Lisa Ferrero's scorecard:  she erased 2 early birdies with back-to-back bogeys but roared back for a 66!  Golf Channel's going into bonus coverage to follow the youngsters still on the course.  Great to see T-Joh getting some tv time!]

[Update 3 (7:19 pm):  Great to hear that Bordner's 5 months pregnant!  Even better birdie from Felibert at #15.  Pretty clutch par save at 17 to stay at -3 on the day and E overall.  Looking like the cut line will stay at +1, what with Ji Young Oh sticking it at 18.  Nice job by Kyeong Bae, hitting the flagstick at 17 and just missing a hole in 1.]

[Update 4 (7:21 pm):  Tester for Felibert to bring her bogey-free run to 30 holes and counting....]

[Update 5 (7:24 pm):  Good birdies by Oh and Bae.  Nice par save by Felibert.  Numa Gulyanamitta is another youngster under par right now as she finishes up on the front.]

[Update 6 (7:32 pm):  Jin Young Pak finished bogey-par but still shot a fine 66!]

[Update 7 (7:33 pm):  Nice birthday serenade for Felibert as she approached the 17th green.  She's 27, Ai Miyazato's age.]

[Update 8 (7:36 pm):  Big charge by Duke's Jennie Lee to fight back to +1 with the 9th left to play.  She's birdied her last 2 holes in a row to bounce back from a double on the 4th.  1 more par or better and she plays tomorrow.]

[Update 9 (7:44 pm):  With the cut line staying at +1, the list of big names missing it is a long one, including Cristie Kerr, Kristy McPherson, Jane Park, and Belen Mozo at +2, Laura Davies, Michelle Wie, Jeong Jang, and Eun-Hee Ji at +4, Ya Ni Tseng, In-Kyung Kim, Vicky Hurst, Maria Hjorth, Karen Stupples, and Janice Moodie at +5, Juli Inkster, Hee-Won Han, Mina Harigae, and Christina Kim at +6, and Song-Hee Kim at +11.  With Morgan Pressel WDing to rest an injured thumb, and lots of youngsters on tour struggling this week after doing well last week, what Felibert is doing is even more impressive.]

[Update 10 (7:48 pm):  Felibert will have to make a long twister to match her opening 65....]

[Update 11 (7:51 pm):  Clanton and Gulyanamitta ended up at -1 through 36 thanks to a 68 and a 69, respectively.  Martin had to settle for a 70, but ended up 1 shot ahead of them.]

[Update 12 (7:53 pm):  Pretty good putt from Felibert, with less than 3 feet to go for a 66.  She makes it and there are only 8 players within 5 shots of her lead and none closer than 4!]

[Update 13 (7:55 pm):  Felibert's bogey-free run is 32 holes and counting after she calmly sinks her par putt on 18.]

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