Friday, April 25, 2014

Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic Thursday and Friday: Stacy Lewis Leaps Past Lydia Ko and Karine Icher

There's an interesting trio atop the leaderboard at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic:  a former #1 (Stacy Lewis), a future #1 (Lydia Ko), and a 5-time LET winner still looking for LPGA win #1 (Karine Icher).

Let's start with yesterday's leader.  Icher opened with a bogey-free 66 but made only 1 birdie today as she dropped to -5 for the week.  My #8-ranked player without an LPGA victory is still 3 shots ahead of #3 Carlota Ciganda, #11 Haeji Kang, and #12 Jenny Shin, 4 shots ahead of #27 Mo Martin and #37 Christel Boeljon, 5 shots ahead of #26 Giulia Sergas and #30 Dewi Claire Schreefel, 6 shots ahead of #7 Jodi Ewart Shadoff, and (skipping a whole bunch of the winless) even further ahead of #2 Chella Choi, #6 Gerina Piller, and #17 Vicky Hurst (who are going to miss the cut), along with #4 Lizette Salas, #14 Caroline Masson, and #20 Xi Yu Lin (who have to hope the cut returns to +5--a pretty unlikely prospect right now).

The now-17-year-old Ko, meanwhile, hit 3 fewer greens and made 3 fewer birdies today than yesterday, but at -5 she's also 3 shots ahead of her closest fellow under-22 star, Hyo Joo Kim, 7-up on Ariya Jutanugarn, and well ahead of Harukyo Nomura and Mi Hyang Lee (who will make the cut) as well as Jessica Korda and Charley Hull (who won't).

But it's Stacy Lewis who might well be the most interesting of the 3 leaders right now.  With world #1 Inbee Park charging (she birdied 3 holes in a row to post a 68 and move to -3 for the week) and #2 Suzann Pettersen playing amazingly well for someone recovering from a serious back injury (she's -2 after going 70-72), Lewis has a great chance to make a huge statement from the #3 position in the Rolex Rankings.  With Michelle Wie and Anna Nordqvist at E and Karrie Webb at +3, the Big 3 of 2013 can put themselves back on the map in 2014 this weekend.

I'm also really excited to see how well Mika Miyazato is scrambling around Lake Merced.  After doubling her 5th hole of the tournament, she's played the next 31 in -5.  It would be great to see Mikan keep it going on moving day!  It was shocking that Maria McBride went 68-81, but she still may live to play another day, as the cut line could still go to +5.  Ai Miyazato's been having trouble hitting greens, but at +4 will definitely get a chance to straighten out her iron play.  Maybe being forced to scramble more than usual will get her putter going.  More when all the scores are in!

[Update 1 (11:00 pm):  Ya Ni Tseng and Amy Yang will be missing the cut, but there's a chance those at +5 will make it.  All that has to happen is that neither Jaclyn Sweeney nor Maria Hernandez birdie their final hole.  Northern CA natives Juli Inkster and Paula Creamer are safely on the right side of the line, but they will need to play perfect golf the rest of the way to have a chance to contend.  BTW, I just read on twitter that Inbee Park had food poisoning today!]

[Update 2 (11:03 pm):  Hernandez parred and Sweeney bogeyed the 9th, their final hole, to make it 82 golfers at +5 or better....]

1 comment:

Colin N.Z said...

Into round 3 and the scores suggest it's not easy out there early again today. Great to see a course set up for the better skilled players with the bombers being forced to be very accurate off the tee. Probably why we see RR players 1-4 are lying 1-T7 at the moment. Shame Lexi is not playing would be interesting to see how she would be going on this course. Not surprised they are saying they could play a major here.