Saturday, April 28, 2007

Classic Gunfight at the Corona Championship Corral

Just when you thought the field was going to leave world #1 Lorena Ochoa behind after her 74 on Friday, she reels off the best round of the Corona Championship, a 64, to jump into a tie for first at -13 with the steady Silvia Cavalleri (69-68-69) and the hot Julieta Granada (71-68-67). If it were not for her three double bogeys (including one on 17 today) rookie Na On Min (68-72-67) would be the story of the tournament; as it is, she has to settle for a share of 4th at -12, wth Pat Hurst (70-69-68). But don't count anyone out among the 11 players at -9 or -8. Almost every single one of them has gone low this week, and as Ochoa's round Friday and Angela Park and Yu Ping Lin's today (a pair of even-par 73s) show, it's very easy to get passed if you don't keep making birdies and it's hard to go low twice in a row (and even harder to do it three times in a row). When 16 people can win, it doesn't make any sense to make a call, but look for at least half of the people four or five shots back to make an early run on the leaders. It's definitely going to come down to who gets hot on the first 10 holes and holds on during the last 8 (the 11th hole is probably the toughest on the course, and even though there are birdies to be had at the end, there are just as many bogeys). Too bad it won't be televised in the U.S.--it should be a wild finish. Here are the pairings!

Of course there are races within races in every tournament. Chasing Min and Park in the rookie race are Ji-Young Oh (-7, T17), Song-Hee Kim (-5, T21), and Jane Park and Jin Joo Hong (-3, T28). (Both Martinez and Sargent shot themselves out of this race with one bad round, unfortunately.) Among the Super Sophs chasing Granada are Hye Jung Choi, Teresa Lu, and Stacy Prammanasudh (-9, T6), Kyeong Bae (-8, T13), Linda Wessberg (-7, T17), and Meaghan Francella (-5, T21). (Blomqvist, Futcher, and Nirapathpongporn have slowed down so much that Miyazato has already passed them.) Looks like slightly-more-experienced youth is winning out over slightly-less-experienced-youth thus far. With few in the top 30 on the money list playing, making the cut, or playing well this week, those who are stand to move up. The money race should be in the back of people's minds or completely out of them, but it's hard to ignore it when there's that much at stake.

My friend Moira continued her steady play today and stands at -6 (T19), but she's got to be frustrated by that second-straight pair of late back-to-back bogeys that dropped her out of contention on Saturday. It's great that she's putting herself in position to contend, but she's playing well enough to be scoring much better. Here's hoping she gets more comfortable with going low as the season goes on. Tomorrow would be a good day to start, eh?

And my fave Ai-chan finally got the engine started; her 69 today pulled her to -2 for the tournament (T33). Actually, except for her disastrous opening 9 on the back on Thursday (41), she's been at or under par every 9 since then and today she finally started making birdies in bunches (she had 6, with two bogeys on the back to keep her from having a great round). So look for her to pass a lot of people who are less accustomed than she is to playing well on Sundays.

Gotta run--Pretty Cure 5's theme song is almost over!


Anonymous said...

wow, i am pretty darn sure i left comments on the Friday end of day results, but they seem to have become invisible. I wonder why???

As i recall, from your predictions and my comments yesterday, nobody was out of it in the that were within six of the lead, given the potential for anyone to cover that. Ochoa leaped over that today (her 64 just rocked the place), and Cavalleri, who is staying very steady day after day is right in there. Granada and Hurst are improving each day as is Golden. But if playing consistently over four days has merits, then i think Ochoa is in for a push to the 18th.

The Constructivist said...

I see comments there, but not yours, spyder. Hope new blogger doesn't have a new comment-eating function.

Hurst I don't think will win--she's not as big a head case as Christina Kim, but she has had several tournaments already whee she's had a great round or two and has followed up with a terrible round or two. So going by her past performance this year it's going to be tough for her to put a 4th straight good round together. I tend to discount Cavalleri's chances, too, just because of the way Pettersen collapsed a couple of Sundays almost in a row and Cavalleri's about at the same point in her career. Totally unfair, I know.

So if you were to try to pin me down, I'd say I'm thinking it's going to come down to Ochoa, Min, Granada, and Prammansudh in those final 8. Lu and Park may have one more really low round in them, but good enough to get to 17-under? I don't know.

To tell you the truth, I think there's a 59 out there on the course. It would be cool if Ai-chan did it!

Anonymous said...

Well since you took the flagpin out of the cup, i owe you my prediction before tee off. Stacy P may have a low round in her, but she has been all over this course. Golden is playing better now than in a decade or something, and may just have some real motivation to take push another low round. I agree with you about Hurst sputtering into another round of 70 or even 72. That leaves Granada and Cavalleri to hunt down Ochoa. Ochoa, at home, will be hard to beat, especially with a Tiger-sized gallery yammering at Cavalleri, which may help Granada. Ochoa, in that threesome two weeks ago faltered in the last four holes; will she really bear down and focus this time??? If so she wins (maybe going away). If not, i can see Granada (who is playing more consistently and better than Cavalleri all year) and even Min having a real opportunitiy.

Ochoa, Granada, Min, Cavalleri, Lu----
Total dark horse for your 59? Kyeong Bae (76-69-66) would be my 40:1 shot.

Anonymous said...

Hurst has taken a great shot your 59, out in -5. Maybe she will do a Mickelson who is out in 31 but already in trouble on the way back (for the week he is -12 out and +4 in), or she just might stick with it for a first win in a long time. Cavalleri is holding her own, but Granada and Ochoa are not exactly striking the ball all too well. As predicted, Golden is in retreat, as are Lu, Min, Lee. Bae is -3 though and your girl Moira is kicking some ass and the course at -7 through 12!!! So go Moira!!!!!

Anonymous said...

either i have totally screwed up website, a fake leaderboard, or a glitch in the system but now all the posts are totally different. so either never mind what i said before, or disregard this, but i don't have reliable information at this point

Anonymous said...

It is a computer glitch, i am getting a dynamic leaderboard that starts running from the first tee of the last pairing on through. Really weird as i haven't had that before. Anyway this is the most recent:
1 Pat Hurst 34 -6 10 -18 241
2 Silvia Cav 32 -4 9 -17 238
T3 Stacy Pram 38 -6 11 -15 248
T3 Julieta Gran 34 -2 9 -15 240
T3 Lorena Ochoa 34 -2 9 -15 240
6 Na On Min 39 -1 10 -13 246
7 Teresa Lu 41 -3 11 -12 251
T8 Meaghan Fr 52 -6 15 -11 266
T8 Moira Dunn 49 -5 14 -11 262
T8 Giulia Sergas 48 -3 13 -11 259
T8 Sarah Lee 46 -2 12 -11 256

Anonymous said...

with the final group heading onto 18:
the leader board has Cavalleri (-20) up by two over Granada at -18 and Ochoa at -17. Everyone else is in and both TC and my predictions looked pretty good. Bae dropped in a 69 to T for 6th with Stacy P( another 70) and Meaghan F (a 66 today). Min is fifth in even with a 72 and Hurst (she shot a 70) hangs in fourth.

the trio are all on the green now. more later.