Casie Cathrea fired a 5-birdie 70 in early-round play on U.S. Women's Open Sunday and Meena Lee and Austin Ernst finished their weeks with 71s, so there's some hope for those chasing Inbee Park today. Lee actually had a bogey-free round going until she doubled the par-3 17th. Lydia Ko, meanwhile, had a good round going but had to settle for a 72 after doubling the par-4 14th.
According to the USGA, the 4th is playing 265 yards but overall length is comparable to Saturday's round. There was a lot of fog in the morning, which probably helps account for the 5 scores over 80 already and 16 rounds at 75 or over. But the overall high scoring shows that there's a chance Inbee Park could come back to the rest of the field. A small chance, but still non-zero.
Right now there are 4 players under par on the course with the last 2 pairings yet to tee off. More coming!
[Update 1 (1:30 pm): How wide are Sebonack's fairways? Well, Meena Lee missed only 1 of them all week and Jane Park missed 2. Lee finished at +10 and Park at +13.]
[Update 2 (1:36 pm): With 27 golfers thus far hitting the fairway off the tee over 90% of the time and all but 1 golfer who made the cut hitting it at least 75% of the time, it's not that big a deal to avoid missing the fairway this week--so long as you avoid the fescue and fairway bunkers. Hitting the greens is a much bigger deal, as only 6 players are doing it more than 69% of the time thus far. Brittany Lincicome is probably playing the best from tee to green of everyone, particularly when you factor in driving distance, too. But she's barely in the top 50 in the field in putting, which just goes to show how much putting for dough matters at Sebonack.]
[Update 3 (1:39 pm): Jodi Ewart Shadoff is also barely in the top 40 in the putting stats, which helps explain why Inbee Park (#1 right now) and In-Kyung Kim (T16 right now) are so far ahead of them.]
[Update 4 (1:45 pm): Nice piece on Park by Ron Sirak.]
[Update 5 (1:54 pm): The race for the bronze medal is tightening up, as Jessica Korda is -2 through 4 to join So Yeon Ryu at -1, while Paula Creamer, Angela Stanford, and Jodi Ewart Shadoff (+3 through 3, unfortunately) are at E and Brittany Lang is +1.]
[Update 6 (1:57 pm): In-Kyung Kim birdies 2 to cut Inbee Park's lead to 3.]
[Update 7 (2:09 pm): Paula Creamer has birdied 1 and 4 to join Korda and Ryu at -1.]
[Update 8 (2:18 pm): That short 4th hole is giving some players opportunities and others fits. Ryu just bogeyed it to fall to E for the week. Curious to see how the final pairing plays it!]
[Update 9 (2:20 pm): The par-4 6th is another early test--playing 2nd-hardest today. Korda and Miyazato both bogeyed it.]
[Update 10 (2:23 pm): Scoring opportunities on #7 through #10 today--if anyone's going to make a big move, it'll probably start there.]
[Update 11 (2:28 pm): IK bogeyed 4, back to 4 down to Inbee. Is it wrong to kick my kids off the WiiU so I can watch the pre-game show? They have friends over....]
[Update 12 (2:33 pm): OK, going dark until coverage is over. Rooting for Mitsuki Katahira to win the Symetra Tour's Island Resort Championship. She's +3 heading into the back 9 but only 2 off the lead!]