Sunday, April 7, 2013

Kraft Nabisco Championship Saturday: Inbee Park Extends Lead to 3 with Bogey-Free 67

On moving day at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, Inbee Park wasn't the biggest mover of all, but she still extended her lead to 3 shots over Lizette Salas by hitting 11 fairways and 15 greens, taking only 28 putts, and making no bogeys on her way to her 2nd-straight 67.  Sure, Angela Stanford outdid her with a tournament-low, 7-birdie 66, Karrie Webb and Suzann Pettersen matched her, and Jessica Korda and Karine Icher came within a stroke of her to catch Pornanong Phatlum in 3rd at -6, but that still left them 6 shots behind one of the best putters, steadiest golfers, and hottest players on tour with only 18 holes left to play.

Although other golfers broke 70 yesterday--Paula Creamer for the 2nd day in a row to join Caroline Hedwall at -5, So Yeon Ryu a 68 to catch Ji-Yai Shin and Hee Young Park at -4, Sarah Jane Smith to join Anna Nordqvist and Hee Kyung Seo at -3, Belen Mozo to move to -1, Ya Ni Tseng and Chella Choi to fight back to E, and Mariajo Uribe to claw her way to +1--tomorrow is likely to be a 2-player race, unless we see someone from back in the pack get into the mid- or low-60s for the 1st time all week.  I'll be hoping for Ai Miyazato to do that from T39, but she's going to need to hit a lot more greens and keep her putter hot to do it.  All the leaders have been striking the ball amazingly well, except for Stanford and Korda, who have been putting even better than Park and Miyazato.

Probably the only thing that gives Park's pursuers a glimmer of hope is how many runner-up finishes Park has garnered over her relatively short career.  Back when she was splitting her time between the LPGA and JLPGA, for instance, she won twice in 2010 but was the bridesmaid 6 times.  I didn't make her my #1 player on the LPGA with 3 to 6 wins on tour for no reason--in fact, part of the reason I did was that she took home 6 silver medals last year.  Let's see if she can grab the gold today!

[Update 1 (8:38 am):  Ruthless Mike and bangkokbobby, like me, are preparing for a Park win.]

[Update 2 (4:17 pm):  Here's Tony Jesselli's moving day post.]

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