Saturday, September 14, 2013

Evian Championship Saturday Morning: Miyazato, Pettersen, Lewis Set the Pace

Mika Miyazato is the leader in the clubhouse at the close of morning play in the 2nd round of the Evian Championship, after her 4-birdie 69 got her to -8 for the week, keeping her 1 shot ahead of Suzann Pettersen (who also shot a 4-birdie 69), 2 shots ahead of Stacy Lewis (5-birdie 67), 3 shots ahead of Chella Choi (6-birdie 67), and 4 shots ahead of In-Kyung Kim (6-birdie 69) and Beatriz Recari (5-birdie 69).

Mikan bounced back from a pair of bogeys to start her round with birdies on 6, 7, 13, and 18 and is taking a 16-hole-and-counting bogey-free run into tomorrow's final round.  Pettersen, too, stumbled out of the gates with 2 bogeys in her 1st 5 holes on the back, but she offset them with early birdies and played her last 13 holes bogey-free and -3.  The biggest comeback of the day, however, belonged to Inky, who started her day going double bogey-bogey but then boarded a 4-hole birdie train on holes 4 through 7 and followed it up with birdies on 11 and 12 before suffering a walkoff bogey.

Others in the morning wave played well, including Vicky Hurst (7-birdie 68 marred by back-to-back closing bogeys to drop her to -3 for the week), Juli Inkster (6-birdie 68 to fight back to E overall), Anna Nordqvist (5-birdie 68 that also brought her to E), Ai Miyazato (who ballooned to +6 through her 1st 23 holes when she made her 3rd bogey in a row early on the back 9, but played her last 13 holes in -5, including birdies on 16, 2, and 7--and an eagle on the par-4 1st!--for a fighting 68 in which she took 11 fewer putts than in Friday's round), Jodi Ewart Shadoff (5-birdie 68 to come back from her opening 77 and make the cut), Paula Creamer (69, -3 overall), and Natalie Gulbis (69, +2).  Hats off as well to Momoko Ueda and Holly Clyburn, whose 70s kept them in the race at -2 and -1, respectively.  Ueda is tied with Karrie Webb (72), Michelle Wie (72), and Christina Kim (74)!  Finally, a mental toughness award to Cheyenne Woods, who bounced back from an opening 80 with a solid 71.  Even though she's going to miss the cut, she showed she knows how to bounce back from a terrible round.

In the afternoon wave, by the way, Cristie Kerr is in serious danger of missing the cut, while Inbee Park, Ya Ni Tseng, Caroline Hedwall, and Charley Hull are struggling to avoid that fate, so don't judge Cheyenne too harshly.  With Lexi Thompson, Rebecca Lee-Bentham, and So Yeon Ryu putting together the best rounds of the wave thus far, there'll be lots to report on in a few hours.  Stay tuned!

[Update 1 (11:08 am):  By the way, the passionate and persuasive defense by Ron Sirak of the decision to go 54 holes this week (which may take until Tuesday, given weather forecasts) is an absolute must-read!]

[Update 2 (11:23 am):  Forgot to mention that Rookie of the Year race leader Caroline Masson is tied with fellow rookie Ayako Uehara at E, while former leader Moriya Jutanugarn will miss the cut.  With Chie Arimura 14 shots off the pace in her attempted title defense at the JLPGA's 2nd major of the season, I wonder if the ROY race will come down to Masson and Uehara?]

[Update 3 (11:49 am):  Ryan Ballengee adds some good points of his own on the decision to go 54.]

[Update 4 (11:50 am):  Lots of fireworks from the afternoon wave!]

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