Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship Thursday: Can Anyone Spoil the Spoiler's 1st-Round Move?

With Ji-Yai Shin, Shanshan Feng, Momoko Ueda, and Ayako Uehara playing in the Japan on the JLPGA  and Inbee Park, Amy Yang, and Sandra Gal playing in Korea on the KLPGA this week, the top players in the Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship have a great opportunity to make some waves of their own on what's still the toughest women's tour on the planet.

And the player with the biggest opportunity and the most pressure on her shoulders to try to catch Park in the LPGA's Player of the Year race, on the LPGA money list, and in the Rolex Rankings made the most of it all today, as Suzann Pettersen fired a 6-birdie 68 to take a 3-shot lead on Caroline Hedwall, Karine Icher, Alison Walshe, and Irene Cho and a 4-shot lead on a host of golfers that included the superstars (Paula Creamer), the rising stars (Beatriz Recari), the up-and-comers (Chella Choi, Carlota Ciganda), the up-and-downers (Eun-Hee Ji, Mariajo Uribe, Belen Mozo), and the unknowns (Supamas Sangchan).

If Pettersen can go low at least once in the next 2 days, she's going to put a lot of pressure not only on her lead chase pack but also on the players who dug themselves holes of varying sizes today.  Azahara Munoz at +1, Na Yeon Choi, Ai Miyazato, Lexi Thompson, Michelle Wie, Hee Young Park, and Hee Kyung Seo at +2, Juli Inkster and Catriona Matthew at +3, Se Ri Pak, Ya Ni Tseng, and Moriya Jutanugarn at +4, and Anna Nordqvist and Brittany Lang at +5 will need to get their games in gear to have a chance of spoiling Pettersen's bid to play the spoiler to Park.  Meanwhile, there's some pressure on Caroline Masson (+6) to keep Jutanugarn in her sights and protect her 69-point lead in the Rookie of the Year race, although Jutanugarn needs to be contending, not fighting to make cuts, if she wants to put any real pressure on the LET's former Rookie of the Year.

So let's see how they various races play out tomorrow and into the weekend!

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