Sunday, August 10, 2014

Meijer LPGA Classic Sunday: Mirim Lee Beats Inbee Park on 2nd Playoff Hole for 1st Career LPGA Victory

Mirim Lee made 4 birdies between the 5th and 15th holes in the final round of the Meijer LPGA Classic on her way to a 69 that allowed her to pass Suzann Pettersen and catch Inbee Park at -14.  Park had birdied 2 of her 1st 3 holes to get to -15 and was caught by Pettersen's birdie-birdie-par-par-eagle start.  But both top-ranked players opened the door to the LPGA rookie and 3-time KLPGA champion, as Pettersen made 3 bogeys in her last 13 holes and Park parred out except for a bogey on the par-3 14th.  And Lee busted right through it in the playoff.  After matching Park's par on the 18th, Lee took advantage of her length off the tee on the 17th and drove into the left greenside bunker, from where she made her 1st sandie of the week (from about 5 feet) in 4 tries, right after Park had laid up with an iron, caught a hard 1st 2 bounces on her approach, and barely missed a 20-foot birdie attempt after hitting the high corner of the hole.

While the leaders were playing very careful golf, several people way back in the field freewheeled their way into good finishes.  Thidapa Suwannapura made 5 birdies and an eagle (most of them as she made the turn) to tie Pettersen, Lee, and Cristie Kerr for the 18-hole tournament record, a 64, which was good enough for a top-20 finish.  Sandra Gal birdied 5 of her last 12 holes to post a 66 and move into the top 5, while Shanshan Feng's 6-birdie 66 got her into the top 10 and Stacy Lewis's bogey-free 66 brought her to -6, just 1 shot behind her and just barely outside the top 10.  And Kris Tamulis's 6-birdie 67 got her into the top 10, as well.

Lee wasn't the only rookie to play well this week, as Line Vedel finished a -9 and T5, while Rookie of the Year race leader Lydia Ko and Xi Yu Lin got top 20s.  But she was the one who knocked off a former world #1 and joined a pretty elite club of golfers to win in their rookie seasons on the LPGA.  Congratulations to Mirim!

1 comment:

Colin N.Z said...

This was an interesting first time tournament. I wonder if the rookies did so well because all the field were rookies on this course? I'm sure it had something to do with it. It's hard to analyse players when so few get covered in 2 hours of coverage but I'm pleased Lydia made the cut again and had a steady tournament. I'm not sure about Inbee and the new putter could be more psychological than anything. Was she not already the best putter on tour? and is Suzanne worrying about being too technical putting? Congratulations to 23yr old rookie Mirim Lee and now you can do another Sadena Parks blog Bruce...