Saturday, February 23, 2013

Can Ariya Jutanugarn Hold Off a Hall of Famer and the Player of the Year in Her Home Country?

Stacy Lewis opened the Honda LPGA Thailand with a sizzling 63 and got to -12 through 38 holes, but then she opened the door the rest of moving day to a 17-year-old sensation whose petition for a waiver to enter Q-School the LPGA denied late last season.  Ariya Jutanugarn fired a 32 on her Friday back 9 to close the gap on Lewis, then bounced back from a double bogey on the 9th hole yesterday with 5 straight birdies to climb to -13.  Even though she closed out her round with 3 bogeys and a birdie to "settle" for a 33 on the back (making it 10 straight holes and counting without a par!), the younger Jutanugarn still found herself with a 3-shot lead on Lewis (thanks to the Player of the Year's 3-bogey run to finish her day), Hall of Famer Se Ri Pak (who's been putting the lights out), and Beatriz Recari (who's been driving for show and putting for dough, despite her walkoff bogey).

Also hoping to do to Ariya what Ji-Yai Shin did last week to Lydia are Inbee Park at -7, So Yeon Ryu and Lizette Salas at -6, and Na Yeon Choi, Shanshan Feng, and Gerina Piller at -5.  Needing a miracle today to put themselves in the mix are Amy Yang at -4, Shin herself at -3 (who's tied with Lexi Thompson, Angela Stanford, and Ayako Uehara, among others), and Ko, Ai Miyazato, and In-Kyung Kim at -2.  With lots of big names stuck in neutral (Tseng, Creamer, Lincicome, Pettersen, Wue, Webb), struggling (Ueda, Seo, Kerr, Yoo), or hurting (Inkster, Nordqvist, Gulbis, Pressel, Hurst, Woods), it's a little harsh to pick on Ariya's older sister and LPGA rookie Moriya for finishing double-double yesterday to post an 80 (only the 5th of the week out of the 70s), but I'm sure imoto would be very happy to hear about a younger sister beating out her older sister, so I'm going to finish my post with that little tidbit!

Just think how happy imoto would be if the LET Q-School medalist and former top-ranked women's amateur in the world were to make her 1st LPGA start as a pro her 1st LPGA victory....

No comments: