Friday, October 8, 2010

Navistar Classic Thursday: Kerr's 65 Outdoes Pressel, Nordqvist, and... Delasin??

Yeah, yeah, I know that Cristie Kerr fired a nearly flawless 65 in the 1st round of the Navistar Classic, giving herself a 1-shot advantage over Morgan Pressel and Anna Nordqvist, a 2-shot advantage over 5 golfers, including Christina Kim, Brittany Lincicome, and Vicky Hurst, a 3-shot advantage over 10 golfers, including Na Yeon Choi, Jee Young Lee, and Amy Yang, a 4-shot advantage over 18 golfers, including Se Ri Pak, Laura Diaz, Natalie Gulbis, Mika Miyazato, Lexi Thompson, and Moira Dunn, and a 5-shot advantage over 23 golfers, including Ai Miyazato, Karrie Webb, Maria Hjorth, and Seon Hwa Lee. But I just can't get my head around former Rookie of the Year Dorothy Delasin's 66, which included a walkoff double! lists the pertinent facts as delicately as possible

DD is A-OK with DB: For Dorothy Delasin, even a double bogey on her closing hole couldn't put a damper on her first-round, 6-under 66. "It wasn't disappointing," said Delasin, whose last made cut was two years ago in Prattville, about 18.... She made eight birdies to outweigh the double bogey.

Don't call it a comeback: If things were about to turn for the four-time winner, Prattville would be an appropriate place. In addition to her tie for 39th here two years ago, Delasin finished 18th the year before.

But look, even LL Cool J would have to admit that for Delasin, being "here for years" would entail 25 consecutive missed cuts, a stretch that's included precisely 1 sub-70 round (a 69) in 50 previous starts and only 2 other sub-par efforts. Remarkable persistence, yes, but where the heck did a near-career-best-63 come from? Let's ask Delasin herself:

I don't know. My game just clicked. I didn't hit every fairway. I was still all over the place. I hit it close enough to make a putt. My putting was really good. Just had fun out there....

You've played well the last couple years here. You've had a couple pretty good finishes. Is there something about this golf course or this tournament that you like? I think it's wide open and I can hit it all over the place and still get away with it. (Laughing.) No, it's a good course. The layout fits me good. I play draw and I hit it high and long, so good advantage.

You said your putting was really good today. We've been hearing a lot about the greens on this course this year. How are you reading the greens? How are they playing for you? You know, you can't do anything with Mother Nature. You have to accept it and play with it. I just did the same routine I had, which was look at my line and put it there. I just tried to keep it simple.

Did you have any particular birdie putts of any length or anything that surprised you at all? No, they were all pretty makeable. I mean, every putt’s makeable. I’m thinking the longest birdie putt that I had that I did make was probably 15 to 20 feet. I was knocking them pretty close.

OK, then, good iron play, hot putter. Works for me. Hey, her last 66 was in November 2006 at the Tournament of Champions and her last win was at the same event 3 years earlier, so let's just say she loves Alabama, and leave it at that. (No, I will not be quoting any Lynyrd Skynyrd. Well, maybe if she wins.)

Moving right along, I was pretty impressed by how the jet-lag contingent played yesterday. Eun-Hee Ji matched Choi's 68 Hee Young Park matched Mikan's 69, so the world #1 actually did the worst of the bunch (but she admitted in interviews that she's been sick for a week, so I'll cut her some slack). It's probably enough to make Ya Ni Tseng and Song-Hee Kim regret taking a rest week after the Japan Women's Open!

Well, with 94 golfers at par or better, a wide-open golf course with lots of birdie opportunities (provided you can accurately place your approach shots on the supersized Robert Trent Jones greens), and only 6 golfers who have yet to finish their 18th holes, the players going out in today's pairings had better go low. Should be quite the shootout!

[Update 1 (11:12 am): Here's Hound Dog's 1st-round overview and reaction to Delasin's 66!]

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