Friday, February 28, 2014

HSBC Women's Champions Friday: Karrie Webb Extends Lead to 2 Shots

Anna Nordqvist (67, -4), Hee Kyung Seo (67, -1), and Nicole Castrale (68, -3) had the rounds of the day today at the HSBC Women's Champions, but they barely made up any ground on leader Karrie Webb, who wasn't as flawless as she had been yesterday, but still made 6 birdies on her way to a 69 that brought her to -9.  The Hall of Famer hit 4 fewer greens in regulation in the 2nd round than the 1st, but made up for it with an even hotter putter, taking only 26 putts.  That wasn't quite as impressive as Seo's 23, but it gave Webb a 2-shot lead on Angela Stanford, who birdied 4 of her 6 holes midway through her round, but went +1 over her last 8 holes of birdieless golf, and a 3-shot lead on Teresa Lu, who offset an early double with a walkoff eagle during a roller-coaster round (she's already made a pair of doubles and a couple of eagles this week!).

Speaking of roller coasters, Suzann Pettersen bogeyed her 1st 2 holes in a row, responded with birdies in 5 of 7 holes around the middle of her round, stumbled coming home with 3 bogeys in 4 holes, then saved her round with a walkoff eagle.  After all that, she matched Lu's 70 and sits at -3, along with Na Yeon Choi and Azahara Munoz who also made a lot of birdies but didn't have much to show for it thanks to offsetting bogeys.  But the queen of roller coasters is shaping up to be Caroline Hedwall, whose game reminds me more and more of Laura Davies's.  After a flawless 67 yesterday, she played her 1st 15 holes in -3, but finished bogey-bogey-double to fall to -4, along with Paula Creamer, who had a mini-ride of her own with a double, 3 bogeys, and an eagle in her 1st 11 holes, then settled down and played her last 8 holes -2 and bogey-free.  Even Morgan Pressel (69, -4) and Danielle Kang (70, -4) had plenty of drama in their rounds, Pressel by firing a bogey-free 33 on the back and Kang by finishing birdie-par-birdie-eagle.

With Ha Na Jang (bogey-free 69 despite hitting only 3 fairways) and Lydia Ko (-5 and bogey-free over her final 15 holes) leading a big pack at -2 that includes Inbee Park, So Yeon Ryu, Lexi Thompson, and Brittany Lincicome, the weekend is shaping up to be quite interesting.  Even Amy Yang (73, -1), Ji-Yai Shin (70, E), Ya Ni Tseng (71, E), Chella Choi (71, E), Michelle Wie (71, E), and Shanshan Feng (72, E) aren't quite out of it yet.

But world-beaters like Stacy Lewis (72, +3), Hee Young Park (74, +5, even with a walkoff eagle), and Ai Miyazato (75, +6) and formerly hot golfers like Pornanong Phatlum (75, +4), Lizette Salas (76, +7), and Jessica Korda (79, +10) are going to have to wake up on the weekend if they want to take anything positive away from Singapore.

So the Showdown in Singapore may have some surprises at the top of the leaderboard--particularly Lu and Castrale--and the LPGA's Big 3 from 2013 might be stuck in neutral (or on a roller coaster), but it's a treat to watch a Hall of Famer like Webb and a veteran like Stanford show the kids how it's done.  And there's a lot of golf still to be played!


Colin N.Z said...

Looks like Stacy Lewis's streak of top ten finishes might be coming to an end then again I guess in theory she could WD at any time stating she is tired as she did in the 2013 Canadian's Women's Open and keep it alive.

Colin N.Z said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tony Jesselli (Tonyj5) said...

Colin, I hardly think her WD at the CN Open was to keep her streak alive as there wasn't any streak to speak of, she only had 2 top tens in a row at that point.

I interviewed Stacy after she withdrew, she had the flu and could hardly stand up.

The Constructivist said...

Let's not count Stacy out just yet, either!

Colin N.Z said...

I'm not serious that Stacy would ever consider it and certainly not suggesting Stacy withdrew to keep a streak going only with tongue-in-cheek that it could be done. She is one of my favourite players. I did not know she had withdrawn because of the flu why did she not say that to the press and Twitter at the time? This is what was quoted no mention of flu or sickness.... Following her round Thursday in Edmonton, Lewis made it clear that the Solheim defeat was still affecting her days later.
'I didn't hit the ball very good and the start just didn't help. I was tired out there,' she added after carding seven total bogeys against three birdies. 'Mentally, I wasn't in it. Just coming off the last week is still tough.'

Friday morning, Lewis took to Twitter to address the withdrawal:
I'm sorry to all my fans, that was the first time I have pulled out of an event. The craziness of the last few weeks finally hit me.