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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Is Friday Moving Day?

Before I get to the Open, I just want to make a quick mention about Paula Creamer's return at the ShopRite LPGA Classic. She's at -4 (T9), 3 off the lead, and she played pretty well. She had 6 birdies and 2 bogeys on a fairly short course (a smart choice for her comeback). She is apparently still in pain, but says the doctors tell her that she won't cause any more damage, so she's playing; and she says that she can't hit some of her regular shots yet, but she's just happy she can play. So are we, Paula... so are we. You can get more coverage of the LPGA event over at Mostly Harmless and HoundDog LPGA.

BTW, Annika was at Pebble, taking in the action... and that's where we're going now. And the plot thickens...

Graeme McDowell has posted rounds of 71-68 for the lead at -3. McDowell's for real -- he's played well for a couple of years now -- but this is new territory for him. And Tiger's now at +4 -- not in contention yet, but at T27 and 5 back of the main pack, you can't write him off yet.

Here's my Round 2 assessment of my picks:
  • Mickelson (-1): Like I said Thursday, there were good rounds out there and K.J.'s 6 birdies Thursday proved it. Phil found one today, and now he's 2 back, in second. (Again!)
  • Furyk (+5): Jim may have played himself out of it today. Granted, there are two rounds left, but I think that -1 number may hold up Sunday. 6 strokes is a lot to make up at Pebble, especially with those poa greens.
  • Choi (+1): K.J. lost some ground but is still very much in the mix.
  • Clark (+2): Likewise, Tim hung around the lead. Hard to ask much more in the first two rounds.
  • Johnson (+7): Zach made it right on the cut. He's in the same boat as Furyk.
Some of the other stories:
  • Ian Poulter (+1): This really is a great showing for Ian, especially since this is his first time at Pebble under any circumstances.
  • Ryo Ishikawa (-1): Yet another amazing round by the "Bashful Prince"! With rounds of 70-71 and T2, this is shaping up to be a great story.
  • Ricky Barnes (+6): My alternate did pretty well until he hit that last 5 holes.
  • Dustin Johnson (-1): "Mr. Stupid Long" is showing he really is a threat at the big events.
  • Ernie Els (-1): What a move by the Big Easy! Getting himself to that T2 position not only bodes well for this tournament, but indicates that he really is back. Yay!
It also looks like Tom Watson, Sergio Garcia, and Ty Tryon (among the pack at +7) are going to make the cut as well.

This is shaping up to be a really good weekend. We've got several great storylines in the works, what with Phil, Ryo, Ernie, and Dustin breathing down Graeme's neck. None of these guys are flukes, and they represent a broad cross-section of golf stars from teens to 40-somethings. We've got several recent winners hanging around just within reach, and Tiger could still conceivably put on a show and make it interesting.

Does it get much better than this?

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