Besides how many holes they're going to get in today (they're already in their second suspension of play due to dangerous weather conditions) and who's going to best handle the elements and the pressure, that is.
Rookie Race: Angela Park has been having a tough time this weekend and is now +4 through 57 holes. In-Kyung Kim has just passed her, standing at +3 through 55 holes with Kristy McPherson, who has finished 61 holes. Charlotte Mayorkas is at +1 through 62 holes, while Sarah Lynn Sargent leads the pack at -3 through 57 holes. Given the conditions and the inexperience they're dealing with today, who wins the rookie race this week is very much up for grabs. Don't count Park out--she has already shown the ability to bounce back from bad stretches in several rounds this year.
New Contenders for Super Soph Status: The best that could be said for Meaghan Francella, Na Ri Kim, and Kyeong Bae is that they made the cut, although that's cold comfort to the former two, who were contending early. Ai Miyazato, at +1 through 60 holes, is stuck in neutral. Stacy Prammanasudh is hanging in there at -2 through 58. Seon Hwa Lee and Jee Young Lee are starting to play well, standing at -4 through 60 holes and -5 through 56, respectively. But the biggest surprises among the class of 2006 this week are Karin Sjodin, who has the lowest 9 of the tournament (a 30!) and (having avoided a truly disastrous round on Saturday) now stands at -3 through 60 holes. She's one shot behind Minea Blomqvist, who has completed 57 holes, and three shots behind the sophomore all of them chasing, Hye Jung Choi, who is -6 through 56 holes. There's a decent chance 6 of the top 10 players this week could be from the class of 2006. What sophomore jinx?
Battle of the 1990s Stars: Laura Davies at -14 and Se Ri Pak at -9 haven't played a hole yet. Juli Inkster has climbed to -7 through 56 holes and knows how to play well in bad conditions. Carin Koch is holding steady at -5 through 57 holes, tied with Mi Hyun Kim, who has finished 56 holes and is already over par on the day. Grace Park and Karrie Webb are two shots behind them after 57 holes. And Laura Diaz is one shot behind them through 60 holes, although she is having the best round of anyone today so far at three-under. Pat Hurst, at +1 through 61, and Meg Mallon, at +2 through 60, are dueling to avoid being the worst of this bunch this week.
Nerves of the Haven't-Been-There-in-a-Whiles: Will Nicole Castrale (6th place), Birdie Kim (T7), Choi (T7), and Sarah Lee (T7) play well enough to stay in the top 10? I've already expressed my doubts on this one.
And What About Moira? Well, she got off to a great start on the tenth hole today with an eagle, but promptly gave both shots back over the next five holes. She's currently T35 at E and may have an advantage in wet, windy, cold weather, having experienced enough of that in central NY growing up to know how to deal with it. Still a chance for a top 20, but she's going to have to help herself.
[Update 1 (2:52 am): Was I ever right when I said weather delays would favor the leaders. Just making pars is enough to move you up the leader board today if you weren't in the last four groups, and the few people under par are making big moves. Cases in point: Juli Inkster is -2 through 8 holes today and is T5 at -8 (she started the day at T9); Paula Creamer is -2 through 12 holes and is T18 at -3 (she started the day T31); Laura Diaz is -1 through 12 and is T32 at E (she started the day at T50). The only person among the leaders having trouble is Natalie Gulbis (+3 through her first 6), so it looks like at best a four-person race, and only then if Ochoa, who has opened up a two-stroke lead on Davies, collapses. The rookie race is more of a free fall, as Sargent has fallen to E through 62 holes, Mayorkas to +1 through 68, McPherson to +3 through 66, Park to +6 through 63, and Kim to +9 through 60. The sophs are holding it together a little better: Choi is E through 6 and still in the top 10 at -6, Seon Hwa Lee is -2 through 11 and two shots behind her, tied with Jee Young Lee (+1 through 9), while Blomqvist (+2 through 9), Sjodin (+2 through 11), and Prammanasudh (+1 through 9) have fallen back to Ai-chan territory (E through 12)--never mind the rest. The 1990s stars are doing even better: Davies and Pak, at E through their first 5 or 6 holes, may be losing ground to Ochoa (-2 in the same stretch!), but like Webb, Koch, and Park, who are T13 at -4 for the tournament, they are gaining ground on the field. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for Mi Hyun Kim, who is five-over her first 7 holes and has dropped into a tie for 21st, not far from Diaz and Mallon, but safely ahead of Hurst, who is four-over through her first 13 holes. Moira is +4 through 12, so she's in pretty good company--can't feel any better, though, especially for someone who should know better how to grind in tough conditions.]
[Update 2 (3:09 am): Too soon to tell, but it's starting to look like it might come down to Sargent (E) v. Mayorkas (+1) in the rookie race, Hye Jung Choi v. Jee Young Lee in the soph struggle, Pak v. Inkster for second-best 1990s all-star of the week (both are -9), and Ochoa (-15) v. Davies (-14) for the win. I'm going back to bed--Moira has gone from bad to worse and Ai-chan just bogeyed her first hole in a while.]