Sunday, March 23, 2014

JTBC Founders Cup Weekend: Can Lydia Ko Secure Her 1st Win as a LPGA Member and on U.S. Soil?

Lydia Ko fired a 67 on moving day to take the lead at the JTBC Founders Cup by 1 shot over fellow rookie Mi Rim Lee (70) and Jessica Korda (66) and by 2 shots over Sun Young Yoo (68).  Cristie Kerr shot the low round of the week to date, an 8-birdie, 1-eagle 63, to move to -11, 5 shots off Ko's pace, while Azahara Munoz and Paula Creamer put together matching 64s (although Munoz's was bogey-free and Creamer's included 9 birdies and a bogey) to pick up where they left off 2 weeks ago in Singapore and move to -13 and -12, respectively.  There are 22 golfers within 5 shots of the lead, including So Yeon Ryu, Amy Yang, Michelle Wie, and Chella Choi with Munoz, Stacy Lewis and Morgan Pressel with Creamer, and Inbee Park, Laura Davies, Lexi Thompson, Lizette Salas, Pornanong Phatlum, and Jaye Marie Green with Kerr, so you know it's not going to be easy for Ko today.  And with Karrie Webb at -10 and Hee Young Park, Hee Kyung Seo, and Mika Miyazato at -9, you know there's a slim chance one of them can put themselves into the mix, as well.

I'll be checking in on scores periodically today!  Stay tuned!

[Update 1 (11:04 am):  Hope you're remembering to check out Eye on the Tour's coverage from Phoenix!]

[Update 2 (1:04 pm):  I'm seeing a good number of birdies on the opening par 5s (2nd and 5th holes), as well as a smattering of birdies on just about every other hole on the front.  Looks like today's pin positions might be a little more accessible on the front than they were before the weekend!  So far Hee-Won Han and Jeong Jang have the lowest rounds of the day going, both at -2, Han through her 1st several holes, and Jang on the front.]

[Update 3 (7:36 pm):  Before I get into Founders Cup not-quite-live-blogging, let me offer congratulations to Yueer Cindy Feng for her victory on the Symetra Tour today!]

[Update 4 (7:43 pm):  Well, well, well!  Jang ended up posting a bogey-free 67, but Han went off and shot a bogey-free 63 to finish the week at -14!  It won't be enough to win--or even get her a top 10--but it's tied for the lowest round of the week with Cristie Kerr from moving day...and Karrie Webb today!  Yup, the Hall of Famer has most definitely put herself in the mix, as her 10-birdie 63 moved her to -19 for the week and right into 1st place....]

[Update 5 (7:47 pm):  Whereas Han shot her 30 on the front, Webb did it on the back.  And it looks like the rest of the field is having trouble catching up to her.  Pornanong Phatlum gave it the old college try with 7 birdies in her 1st 16 holes to climb to -18, but after a bogey on the par-3 17th (her 2nd in a row on that hole), she finished 2 shots behind Webb.  There are now 6 players on the course within 3 shots of Webb.]

[Update 6 (7:50 pm):  Stacy Lewis is 3 back with 2 to play, so barring a miracle finish, she's not a legitimate threat.  Amy Yang got it to -18 through 11 holes but like Phatlum made her 1st bogey of the day at an inopportune time, on the par-4 12th.  Unlike Phatlum, she has time to make up the 2-stroke deficit.  She's playing the par-5 15th now.]

[Update 7 (7:52 pm):  Lydia Ko birdied the 2nd through 5th holes to get to -20, but then went on to bogey 6, 9, and 11 to fall 2 shots behind Webb.  She's still got 6 holes to catch or pass her.]

[Update 8 (7:53 pm):  So Yeon Ryu birdied 3 of her 1st 10 holes and still has a bogey-free round going, but she's 3 down with 3 to play.]

[Update 9 (7:54 pm):  Azahara Munoz birdied 7, 10, and 13, but needs to keep her 34-hole bogey-free run going and make 3 more birdies in her last 4 holes to catch Webb.]

[Update 10 (7:56 pm):  Mi Rim Lee has had a roller-coaster round, with 5 birdies, 2 bogeys, and a double that leave her 3 back with 4 to play, as well.]

[Update 11 (7:58 pm):  Speaking of roller coasters, Jessica Korda took a quad on the par-4 7th, then bounced back by going birdie-birdie-eagle on 9 through 11 to return to -16, but just bogeyed the par-4 12th to fall 4 back with 6 to play.]

[Update 12 (8:04 pm):  What about those who are done?  Inbee Park shot a 67 to finish at -16 for the week, but 2 bogeys on the back killed her chances for victory.  Caroline Masson opened with a bogey-free 30 to get to -15, but stayed there with 1 birdie and 1 bogey on the back.  That allowed Lizette Salas (68) to catch her.  Back at -14, Jenny Shin only birdied her last 5 holes in a row and posted a 29 on the back, but her 64 got eclipsed by Han's 63!  You can play great and not come very close to winning on the LPGA....]

[Update 13 (8:07 pm):  Back to the action:  Lewis birdied 17 and needs an eagle on 18 to tie Webb; Ryu is now 3 down with 2 to play; Korda is 4 down with 5 to play; Lee and Munoz are 3 down with 4 to play; Yang is 2 down with 4 to play; Ko is 2 down with 5 to play.]

[Update 14 (8:10 pm):  In case you were wondering, Chella Choi and Sun Young Yoo are having bad days, while Paula Creamer and Michelle Wie aren't quite stuck in neutral, but it must feel that way.]

[Update 15 (8:11 pm):  Lewis birdied 18 to finish at -18, alone in 2nd.]

[Update 16 (8:12 pm):  Yang birdied the par-5 15th to catch Lewis at -18.]

[Update 17 (8:13 pm):  Ko is 2 down with 4 to play.  Ryu needs a hole in 1 on 18 to catch Webb.  Munoz birdied 15 to pull within 2 of Webb.]

[Update 18 (8:17 pm):  Morgan Pressel and Lexi Thompson both battled back from doubles to shoot even-par 72s today, but it's not what they were looking for.  They could have used something on the order of Pernilla Lindberg's bogey-free 66 or Suzann Pettersen's 6-birdie 67.]

[Update 19 (8:19 pm):  Lee failed to birdie the par-5 15th.  She's 3 down with 3 to play.]

[Update 20 (8:21 pm):  Cristie Kerr birdied 6 of her last 14 holes to finish at -16.  Her putter really woke up over the weekend!  If it weren't for that 40 she shot to open the tournament....]

[Update 21 (8:22 pm):  Yang is 1 down with 2 to play.]

[Update 22 (8:23 pm):  Ryu didn't get that hole in 1 she needed, but she did birdie 18 to tie Phatlum at-17.]

[Update 23 (8:24 pm):  Munoz birdied 16 to join Yang and Lewis at -18!]

[Update 24 (8:25 pm):  Ko birdied 15 to make it 4 at -18!]

[Update 25 (8:25 pm):  Korda also birdied 15, so she's now 3 down with 3 to play.]

[Update 26 (8:26 pm):  Lee birdied 16, so she's now 2 down with 2 to play.]

[Update 27 (8:29 pm):  While we're waiting for the leaderboard to update, it's worth noting that Eun-Hee Ji and Karine Icher posted 66s today and Katie Futcher a 67.  You know a lot of the players within 5 shots of the lead at the start of the day would have killed for rounds like those!]

[Update 28 (8:29 pm):  Yang parred 17, so she's 1 down on the 18th tee.]

[Update 29 (8:32 pm):  Munoz also parred 17, so ditto for her.]

[Update 30 (8:35 pm):  Korda's birdied 2 in a row and is now 2 down with 2 to play!]

[Update 31 (8:36 pm):  Ko parred 16 so remains 1 down now with 2 to play.]

[Update 32 (8:37 pm):  Lee birdied 17 so she's now 1 down with 1 to play!]

[Update 33 (8:42 pm):  Yang couldn't birdie 18, so she's tied with Lewis for 2nd right now at -18.]

[Update 34 (8:43 pm):  Ditto for Munoz.]

[Update 35 (8:44 pm):  Ko parred 17.  Needs birdie on 18 to force playoff with Webb.]

[Update 36 (8:45 pm):  Korda needs an eagle on 18 to get to -19.]

[Update 37 (8:49 pm):  Lee couldn't birdie 18.  Webb escapes another challenge.]

[Update 38 (8:54 pm):  If you're following this on tv or twitter, you know Ko has a putt about half the length of Paula Creamer's playoff bomb in Singapore to tie Webb.]

[Update 39 (8:56 pm):  So the answer to my title's question is "no, not this week!"  Ko couldn't get the putt to fall.]

[Update 40 (8:58 pm):  And Korda finishes with a par, as well.  Webb is your winner for the 2nd time in 2014 and 41st time on the LPGA!]

[Update 41 (9:05 pm):  With Rikako Morita winning on the JLPGA and Cristie Kerr finishing strong this weekend in Phoenix, I'd say Team Japan and Team USA are pretty set for the LPGA International Crown.  But Team Korea, Team Thailand, and Team Australia are still pretty much up for grabs.  There, that's 41 updates for 41 LPGA wins by the amazing Karrie Webb!  She's officially the comeback queen of 2014!]

1 comment:

Colin N.Z said...

Another exciting finish to a tournament. Just hope Lydia's new caddie is going to work for her she needs to have that issue off her mind. Sill a few positives for her no one else go to -20. Overall Amy Yang was the most consistent of the low rounds and she didn't win either.