Sunday, June 29, 2014

Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Saturday: Michelle Wie Takes Lead Before Storms Stop Play

Michelle Wie fired her 2nd-straight 66 in the morning wave yesterday at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship to take a 2-shot lead on So Yeon Ryu (67) and a 3-shot lead on Suzann Pettersen (67) and Chella Choi (65).  Rookie Line Vedel got it to -7, as well, before storms stopped afternoon play, while Gerina Piller, Ji Young Oh, and Alejandra Llaneza had caught Stacy Lewis (66), Mina Harigae (66), and Mi Hyang Lee (65) at -6 and passed Na Yeon Choi (69), Lydia Ko (68), and Karine Icher (65).  Let's see what they can do when play resumes (hopefully this morning at 7:30 am Arkansas time), not to mention those at -4--Cristie Kerr, Angela Stanford, Caroline Masson, and 1st-round leader Alena Sharp--and -3, including none other than Ya Ni Tseng.

The other big question is where the cut line will fall.  Right now 71 players are at E or better, but the line was seesawing between E and +1 for most of yesterday, so we'll just have to see if Jeong Jang (69), Amy Yang (74), Eun-Hee Ji (71), Jane Park (71), Ilhee Lee (72), and Kris Tamulis will get to play later today or not.  They're all at +1, along with players still out on the course like University of Arkansas star Gaby Lopez.  With Juli Inkster, Laura Diaz, Azahara Munoz, Brittany Lang, and Ariya Jutanugarn among those at E, Ai Miyazato and Morgan Pressel at +2, and Se Ri Pak, Beatriz Recari, and Chie Arimura at +3, I'm hopeful at least some of them will play great for the few holes they have left this morning.  But it's too late for Lexi Thompson (+2), Mariajo Uribe (+3), Ayako Uehara and Christina Kim (+4), Jimin Kang (+5), Carlota Ciganda and Pernilla Lindberg (+6), Jee Young Lee (+7), and many others who finished their rounds before play was stopped, not to mention my faves Seon Hwa Lee and Tiffany Joh who are too many strokes back with only 1 hole left for each of them to play.

I was happy, though, to see that Mika Miyazato posted a 69 to fight back to -1, where she's tied with my old golfing buddy Moira Dunn.

I'll post updates here when 2nd-round play is complete!

[Update 1 (9:07 am):  There are now 84 players at +1 or better.  Bet the tournament organizers are hoping it ends up at E.]

[Update 2 (9:32 am):  Whoops, now there are 72 players are E or better!]

[Update 3 (9:34 am):  Ji Young Oh made a bogey and a birdie to finish at -6.  Line Vedel bogeyed 16 to join her.]

[Update 4 (9:35 am):  Belen Mozo is -4 on her round but will need to eagle the par-5 18th to guarantee she makes the cut and birdie it to have a chance.]

[Update 5 (9:36 am):  Ai Miyazato birdied 17 to fight back to +1 on her round and the tournament.  Eagle or birdie on 18 and she's in for sure!]

[Update 6 (9:40 am):  I don't like that Vicky Hurst and Seon Hwa Lee WDed rather than finish their 2nd rounds this morning (unless they woke up sick, that is).  Looks like Se Ri Pak and Sandra Gal will miss the cut, but at least they showed up.]

[Update 7 (9:41 am):  Piller birdied 17 to get to -7!]

[Update 8 (9:42 am):  Angela Stanford is on a roll, now -6 for the tournament with 3 holes left to play on the front (her back).]

[Update 9 (9:43 am):  Cristie Kerr is now -5 with just 17 and 18 to go.]

[Update 10 (9:44 am):  Mozo could only par 18.  She's going to miss the cut.]

[Update 11 (9:47 am):  Lots of golfers just held on to end their 1st 36 holes at E:  Catriona Matthew, Candie Kung, Jenny Shin, Harukyo Nomura, Rebecca Lee-Bentham, Jennifer Song, Paz Echeverria, Emma Jandel.  But Ariya Jutanugarn fought her way back there with a fine 68!]

[Update 12 (9:48 am):  Munoz birdied 17 to fight back to E, too!]

[Update 13 (9:51 am):  Stanford birdied 7 to get to -7.  Kerr birdied 17 to get to -6.  Vedel parred 18 to finish at -6.  Miyazato parred 18 to stay at +1.  There are now 74 at E or better.  It's not looking good for the bunch at +1.]

[Update 14 (9:53 am):  Lizette Salas is now -6 on her round and -4 overall with only 18 left to play!]

[Update 15 (9:54 am):  Brittany Lincicome is -5 and bogey-free with just the 9th left to go and -3 overall.]

[Update 16 (9:55 am):  Inbee Park and Anna Nordqvist are also at -3 thus far.  Ya Ni Tseng is -2.]

[Update 17 (9:56 am):  Whoops, Nordqvist just made a bogey to drop to -2.  Brittany Lang did, too, and now she's +1, making it 73 players at E or better.]

[Update 18 (9:58 am):  Lincicome parred 9 to post a bogey-free 66!]

[Update 19 (10:01 am):  Lisa McClockey has 4 birdies in her 1st 6 holes on the back to fight back to +1.  Let's see if she can get to E, where there are now 74 players there (or better).]

[Update 20 (10:03 am):  Gerina Piller parred 18 for a 68 that brought her to -7.  Salas also birdied it to post the low round of the week, a 64 that got her back to -5 and eclipsed the 65s by Alena Sharp, Karine Icher, and Mi Hyang Lee.]

[Update 21 (10:04 am):  Salas made 9 birdies in her 2nd round vs. only 1 in her 1st and took 10 fewer putts!  Amazing!]

[Update 22 (10:08 am):  Oops, Salas's card got corrected--she didn't birdie the par-4 13th, after all.  So make that 8 birdies and a 65 that got her to -4.]

[Update 23 (10:12 am):  Ya Ni Tseng and Shanshan Feng are back to -1 now.  It's starting to look like there aren't enough golfers in enough danger of falling back to +1 to get the cut line there.]

[Update 24 (10:13 am):  Munoz parred 18 to stay at E.]

[Update 25 (10:14 am):  Look out!  Kerr finished birdie-birdie to pull within 3 of Wie!]

[Update 26 (10:16 am):  Lang birdied 9 to fight back to E. That makes it 74 at E or better.  I think it's time for those at +1 to start packing their bags.]

[Update 27 (10:17 am):  Stanford parred it to stay at -7, also only 3 behind Wie.]

[Update 28 (10:20 am):  Some huge names finished at -1:  Juli Inkster, Ya Ni Tseng, Shanshan Feng, Morgan Pressel.]

[Update 29 (10:22 am):  Mirim Lee fired a 68, thanks to a birdie-birdie finish on the front, but she needs 4 more players out on the course to join her at +1 for her to be able to keep it going later today.]

[Update 30 (10:26 am):  Nordqvist finished birdie-birdie on 17 and 18 to fight to -4 for the week.]

[Update 31 (10:27 am):  Inbee Park also birdied 18, her 4th in her last 10 holes, to post a 69 and join the big names at -4.]

[Update 32 (10:28 am):  BTW, Sharp birdied 17 to fight back to -5 on the week.]

[Update 33 (10:34 am):  I think I overlooked Thidapa Suwannapura's yesterday morning 66, one of the best rounds of the week!]

[Update 34 (10:41 am):  BTW, Lisa McCloskey is mistakenly identified as Colombian on her scorecard!  Maybe for the World Cup?]

[Update 35 (10:42 am):  If so, it wasn't lucky enough for her, as she could manage only a par on 18 to miss the cut at +1.  Meanwhile, Llaneza parred 18 to stay at -6.]

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