Sunday, October 5, 2014

Reignwood LPGA Classic Sunday: Can Stacy Lewis Do It?

Stacy Lewis has won a lot since breaking through in April 2011 at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, but she's also come in 2nd 13 times on the LPGA alone between then and now.  Last year's inaugural Reignwood LPGA Classic was 1 of them.  Can she shake off all those near-misses, continue her bounceback from yesterday's weak start, and outrun and outgun the likes of Caroline Hedwall, Inbee Park, Suzann Pettersen, and So Yeon Ryu today?  Let's see!

[Update 1 (12:58 am):  Lewis birdied 1 to move to -14 and Hedwall bogeyed it to fall to -12.  Brittany Lang bogeyed 2 but birdied 3 to return to -11.  Mi-Hyang Lee fired a bogey-free 32 on the front to move to -9, but with Park, Pettersen, and Ryu struggling, the player with the most momentum right now is Mirim Lee, who birdied 5 and 6 to move to -13.]

[Update 2 (1:05 am):  I'm about 3 holes behind on the tv coverage, so I'll be backtracking a bit now.  Key thing to keep in mind today is that the winds are up and the greens are drying out.  Stacy looks like she's playing great, with 2 near-misses from close range on the next 2 holes.  Can't wait to see how Mi Jung Hur birdies 5 and 6 to move to -9.]

[Update 3 (1:20 am):  Nice par saves by Hedwall on 3 and 4.  Looks like Lewis bogeyed the par-3 7th to drop back into a 3-way tie for the lead with Hedwall and Mirim Lee.]

[Update 4 (1:25 am):  Park went bogey-birdie-bogey-birdie on 5 through 8 to stay at -10.  Mirim Lee just birdied the par-4 8th to take the lead at -14!]

[Update 5 (1:39 am):  Wow, Hedwall hit the par-5 6th in 2 and Mirim Lee had a 300-yard drive but couldn't take advantage of it, leaving it in a bunker short-right of the pin.]

[Update 6 (1:41 am):  Chella Choi birdied both par 5s on the front to get to -9.]

[Update 7 (1:46 am):  Nice sandie from Mirim Lee and 2-putt from Hedwall on that par-5 6th.  Stacy's putter is just the slightest bit off of late.  Can't say she hasn't been giving herself chances.]

[Update 8 (1:47 am):  Add Haeji Kang to the group at -9; she just birdied 11.]

[Update 9 (1:50 am):  Wow, that bunker Inbee pulled her approach into on #7 was deep!  Not surprised she bogeyed that hole after barely carrying the lip!]

[Update 10 (1:51 am):  The producers and announcers sure love Ilhee Lee and Caroline Masson, but neither is really in this thing.  Still, it's nice to see less tunnel vision than usual on coverage of the LPGA.]

[Update 11 (1:54 am):  Wow, Lewis and Hedwall birdied the par-5 9th to catch Mirim Lee at -14!  Can't wait to see how that happened!]

[Update 12 (2:03 am):  Nice approach from Choi on 9, bouncing it through the fringe with a little wedge to giver herself that birdie opportunity I mentioned a few updates back!]

[Update 13 (2:06 am):  Really impressed with Hedwall's pressure putting.  Another great par save on the par-3 7th.]

[Update 14 (2:13 am):  That was a pretty long birdie putt for Inbee on 8!]

[Update 15 (2:16 am):  Impressive win for Teresa Lu at the Japan Women's Open!  Now that the biggest event in women's golf in Japan has been decided, I can make a concerted effort to catch up with the tv coverage of this one.]

[Update 16 (2:18 am):  Can't wait to catch up to the 10th, as Lewis and Hedwall just gave their birdies back and handed the lead to Mirim Lee once more!]

[Update 17 (2:19 am):  And how about those 3 birdies in a row by Kang to get to -11?!]

[Update 18 (2:22 am):  Wow, Hedwall really blew that long sweeper by the hole on the 8th green.  Crazy-long birdie over the ridge by Mirim Lee right after!  Fantastic composure by Hedwall to make her 3rd big par save in her 1st 8 holes!]

[Update 19 (2:24 am):  Near-chip-in from near the pond on 9 for Pettersen after going for the par 5 in 2.  Can understand why she made a birdie there!]

[Update 20 (2:26 am):  Can see why Inbee couldn't birdie 9 after seeing where she left her 2nd shot, just far enough right to bring a hill/ridge into play on her pitch and increase her degree of difficulty.]

[Update 21 (2:33 am):  Impressive wedges in from Lewis and Hedwall on 9.  Can see why they birdied the hole!]

[Update 22 (2:38 am):  Bogey on the 1st of 3 par 5s on the back drops Park to -9.  Like Ryu, Pettersen, Hur, Chella Choi, and Ilhee Lee, she'll need a miracle to contend now.]

[Update 23 (2:40 am):  Slow play and clicking cameras join the shifting winds as factors that challenge the leaders' focus.]

[Update 24 (2:42 am):  Mi-Hyang Lee keeps her bogey-free round going and makes her 5th birdie of the day on the par-3 17th.  She's now -10.]

[Update 25 (2:45 am):  Pornanong Phatlum has made 5 birdies in her last 13 hole to move to -9!]

[Update 26 (2:48 am):  Too strong a chip and a spun-out 4-footer were what caused Lewis's bogey on 10.  Hedwall actually made a great up-and-down after a terrible chip to save bogey on 10.]

[Update 27 (2:51 am):  Park continues her bounceback day with a birdie on the par-3 13th to return to -10.  She's only 3 back now, as Mirim Lee bogeyed the par-5 12th to fall back to a tie for the lead with Lewis and Hedwall, who could only par it.]

[Update 28 (2:54 am):  What a great week for Mariajo Uribe!  After starting bogey-bogey, she made 5 birdies and no bogeys the rest of the way to end the tournament at -8.  Only 108 putts all week, too!  She's leader in the clubhouse right now.]

[Update 29 (2:57 am):  If you're wondering what Lang's been doing all this time, she's made 10 pars in a row.  Despite missing some make-able birdie putts along the way, she's still only 2 back with 5 holes left to play.]

[Update 30 (2:59 am):  What a long par save for Kang after getting off her 3-hole birdie train!]

[Update 31 (3:03 am):  Phatlum finishes her round with 3 birdies in a row to end her week at -10!  Birdie-birdie finish for Mi-Hyang Lee to pass her and become the new leader in the clubhouse at -11!]

[Update 32 (3:04 am):  Looked like Mirim Lee decelled and still blasted her 5-foot par attempt on the par-5 12th by the hole!]

[Update 33 (3:05 am):  That was not an easy birdie putt for Inbee on 13!  Maybe 20 feet?]

[Update 34 (3:06 am):  Great approach by Hedwall on 13!  Front pin with wind behind is really tough and she made it look easy!]

[Update 35 (3:09 am):  Catching up to reality in my tv fast forwarding.  3 good approaches on 13 but no birdies.]

[Update 36 (3:12 am):  Lee's miss was the worst stroke, but all came close!]

[Update 37 (3:19 am):  Love how Hedwall's using the Texas wedge to try to take down the Texan world #1!  I can't believe that 30-footer didn't drop for her on 14!]

[Update 38 (3:21 am):  Speaking of Texas wedges, how about Lang's on 15?!  Got it within 6 feet from maybe 70 yards away!  Whoa, Stacy missed a very make-able 5-foot par save.]

[Update 39 (3:22 am):  So now Hedwall and Lee lead at -13, Lewis is -12, and Lang has a chance to get there on the 15th.]

[Update 40 (3:25 am):  Such a frustrating miss for Lang!]

[Update 41 (3:26 am):  With 2 par 5s in the last 3 holes, I don't know why the announcers are writing off those at -10.  Yes, Kang failed to birdie 16, but she's still only 2 back.]

[Update 42 (3:29 am):  Wow, only 106 putts from Mi-Hyang Lee this week!  And 107 from Phatlum!]

[Update 43 (3:33 am):  Good strategy, bad execution on the approach from Stacy on the short 15th.]

[Update 44 (3:37 am):  Hedwall had trouble from the left rough making solid enough contact to get the ball to the back tier.  But it's better than being in that deep left trap that Lewis is in.  Lee, meanwhile, rolled her approach all the way to the back fringe.]

[Update 45 (3:38 am):  Big birdie for Yanhong Pan on 18 to guarantee herself a top 10.]

[Update 46 (3:40 am):  Good lag for Hedwall.  Looked like a misread by Lee on her birdie attempt.  Just figured out that it's black clothes/putter vs. white clothes/putter for those 2!]

[Update 47 (3:41 am):  Great sandie by Lewis!!!!]

[Update 48 (3:42 am):  Maybe Lang should have used another Texas wedge after getting so close to the green in 2 on the par-5 16th.]

[Update 49 (3:43 am):  Lang's birdie from 15 feet missed on the high side.]

[Update 50 (3:44 am):  But Park made her 14-footer to join Lang and Mi-Hyang Lee at -11.  But Kang just stuck one on 18 and looks like she'll finish at -12.]

[Update 51 (3:46 am):  Probably too little, too late, but Pettersen's birdied 2 in a row and with 2 to play is -9.]

[Update 52 (3:47 am):  Hedwall went for 16 in 2 but it landed soft in that uphill area 20 yards short of the green and stopped there.]

[Update 53 (3:52 am):  Kang made that birdie putt look easy.  She's now leader in the clubhouse and only 1 back.]

[Update 54 (3:55 am):  Inbee's going to need to make another 20-footer to have a chance to win this thing, as is showing Mirim Lee with a birdie on 16!  In fact, she almost chipped in for eagle!]

[Update 55 (3:56 am):  Hedwall's chip just carried a foot too far and rolled into that range she's been making a lot of testers from.  Stacy's approach from much further back ended up much further away.]

[Update 56 (3:58 am):  Lewis couldn't do it, while it was one of Hedwall's worst strokes of the day, and Park couldn't sink her birdie try, so Lee is -14, Hedwall is -13, and Lewis and Kang are at -12.]

[Update 57 (4:03 am):  Wow, did Lee come around on that short iron on 17--probably in the water or unplayable!  Hedwall stuck it into the back-left corner of the green, maybe 15 feet away from the pin.  Lewis had good tempo, but babied it to the middle of the green, maybe 35 feet short of the pin.]

[Update 58 (4:07 am):  What a great walkoff pitch-in for eagle by Yuting Shi to join countrywoman Pan at -8.  Won't be a top 10 for either, but good weeks for both!]

[Update 59 (4:11 am):  Lee could play it out from the edge of the rocks near the water and got it to the middle of the green.  Lewis will show her the line and made a great run at it.  But she rolled it 4 feet by just on the low side.  Lee canned her putt from 25 feet out!!  Now it's up to Hedwall to tie her.  Hedwall's putt looked great until the last 4 inches.  Now, with Chella Choi birdieing 18 and Mi Jung Hur doubling it, we know 3-shot swings are possible on the final hole.  Let's see if this year's finish can be as amazing as last year's!]

[Update 60 (4:12 am):  Missed comebacker by Lewis means she needs even more of a miracle than Feng did last year.]

[Update 61 (4:18 am):  Shi actually finished at -7.  Pan ended up tied with Uribe and Pettersen (who missed a little putt on 18) at T11, -8.]

[Update 62 (4:20 am):  Lang went for 18 in 2 and ended up in the back rough.  Masson went even further over in 2.  Inbee sucked her wedge back to tap-in range to join Kang at -12.  Shades of what the final group will have to deal with?]

[Update 63 (4:27 am):  Stacy pulled her drive into the rough and had to lay up.  Hedwall and Lee hit it far and straight enough off the tee to go for the green in 2 if they want.]

[Update 64 (4:31 am):  Lang and Park birdie 18 to join Kang at -12.]

[Update 65 (4:33 am):  Hedwall yanked a hybrid left into that waste bunker.  Lee pulled an iron there, too!]

[Update 66 (4:35 am):  Stacy was trying to make it from around 100 yards out, but left it about 25 feet short-right of the pin.  Best she can do is join the trio at -12.]

[Update 67 (4:38 am):  Lee went 1st and got the ball to run out after carrying it onto the green, and it climbed the tier to end up about 7 feet short left of the pin.  Fantastic shot!]

[Update 68 (4:40 am):  Hedwall hit hers higher and softer and barely landed it on the fringe, so she'll need to snake in a long twisty one to force Lee to make hers to win.]

[Update 69 (4:42 am):  Neither Hedwall nor Lewis could make theirs.  So Lee needs 2 putts to win.]

[Update 70 (4:45 am):  Hedwall makes her par putt (another tester) to finish 2nd at -13.  Lee sinks her birdie and gets her 2nd win in her rookie campaign on the LPGA!]

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