Sandra Gal birdied 6 holes in a row late in her 1st round at the Meijer LPGA Classic to fire a 65, while Suzann Pettersen and Mirim Lee did her 1 better during the 2nd round, but Inbee Park is your halfway leader after putting together a pair of sweet 66s. So never mind that Michelle Wie (wrist) and Mo Martin (thumb) had to withdraw due to injuries, Ai Miyazato, Morgan Pressel, and Jessica Korda missed the cut, and Anna Nordqvist, Cristie Kerr, and Lexi Thompson barely made it. Not only do we have a brewing showdown between the former #1 and #2 golfers in the world, a comeback in the works from a mid-career player, and a rising rookie making her mark, we also have many interesting golfers in the lead chase pack.
Amy Yang hasn't done much since contending at the Founders Cup in her 5th start of 2014, but she's gone 68-67 to move within 3 of Park's lead. Even though she's bogeyed the par-4 15th twice in a row, she's taken only 53 putts this week, so, like Gal, she's well-positioned to make a move this weekend. Add Katherine Kirk to the list of resurgent veterans this week, as well. She's taken only 55 putts and is only 5 shots off the pace, tied with Gal. 1 shot further back are exactly the experienced players you'd expect to be in the mix, Azahara Munoz, Shanshan Feng, and Gerina Piller. And Lee's not the only rookie having a good week thus far: Lydia Ko is scrambling like crazy (only 22 putts today and 51 through 36 holes) and she's joined at -5 by Line Vedel, while Giulia Molinaro (-4), Xi Yu Lin (-1), and Jaye Marie Green (-1) aren't out of this and Joanna Klatten (+1), Paula Reto (+1), and Amy Anderson (+2) are still fighting. While Harukyo Nomura's not a rookie, she's another youngster doing well thus far this week, another player at -5 and T5.
Speaking of Japanese golfers, I'm pleased to see Ayako Uehara (-2) and Chie Arimura (-1) making the cut. Maybe they can turn it on during the 2nd half of the season. I was also really happy to see Paula Creamer making a lot of putts and moving to -3, Tiffany Joh shoot a pair of 70s and get to -2, Jane Park come in at -1, Danielle Kang hang in there at +1, and Jennifer Song birdie the 18th to make the cut on the dot at +2. We'll have to see if players like Chella Choi (+1), Stacy Lewis (E), Karrie Webb (-1), and Hee Young Park (-1) can make any noise tomorrow on moving day. I'd love to see it happen!
But right now Park and Pettersen look tough to catch. Inbee's putting like the Inbee of old, thanks to a switch this week to the same kind of putter as So Yeon Ryu, while Suzann's playing like she did during the 2nd half of 2013. If they can keep it going tomorrow, they'll put a lot of pressure on the rest of the field to keep pace with them. It's just as easy to get into trouble as it is to get on a roll at this course, however, so anything can happen if they open the door to their lead chase pack on the weekend.
I'll do my best to keep up with the action here at Mostly Harmless. I'll be in Clinton tomorrow, Albany Sunday and Monday, Rochester Monday and Tuesday, and Hamburg on Tuesday night and Wednesday. Lots of golf on the agenda: playing with my mom tomorrow afternoon and watching it in the evening, trying to catch up with the Sunday action despite being at a conference, sizing up Monroe Country Club on Monday and Tuesday, playing a Buffalo-area course on Wednesday for my last practice round before the NYSGA's Mid-Amateur Championship qualifier at Tuscarora on Friday, and, of course, blogging from the Wegmans LPGA Championship on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. I'm hoping that following my favorite players there during the opening round gives my game the spark it needs. I'm slowly improving my alignment, getting more precise with my approach shots, and scrambling and putting better--and I'm playing well in bursts--but I've only shot 2 rounds in the mid-70s all year and they both came on very short courses (I was +6 at Harvest Hill today from the silver tees through my 1st 4 holes, but 2 birdies and an eagle the rest of the way helped me salvage a 76). Maybe I'll peak for Friday's qualifier...!