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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Is It Already Over?

The US Soccer Team (of which I have become a huge fan) exited the World Cup Saturday after Ghana beat them 2-1 for a second time. You could certainly argue that 6 1/2 hours of hard competition in 2 weeks is more than the human body is meant to handle. However -- and the coach and players will tell you this -- you can't keep falling behind early if you want to win; it just takes too much energy to make up lost ground.

Cristie KerrPerhaps the LPGA players at Wegmans this week are learning just how true that is. Of course, you can't help but wonder if they're playing the same course that Cristie Kerr is playing. When the 3rd round was over (and contrary to TGC's intro, they did NOT bring us live coverage -- the full-field scores were up before the broadcast ever began), Cristie Kerr found herself a full 8 shots ahead of the three players in 2nd place. You simply don't want to spot a player like Kerr 5 shots in the first two rounds, even if you can light it up over the weekend. (The photo is from Kerr's bio page at LPGA.com.)

As our soccer team found out, it's just bad strategy.

Coming from behind is hard -- just ask Tiger, who's never won a major coming from behind. Kerr, by comparison, made an interesting remark during an interview this week: She said she liked winning from the front, but she liked winning from behind too -- and she felt confident that she could do it either way.

Unless she falls apart today, I'd think she'll be doing it from the front. She's at -13, and she's done it without any flashy eagles or big mistakes. By round, she's made:
  1. 5 birdies, 1 bogey (68)
  2. 6 birdies, 0 bogeys (66)
  3. 6 birdies, 3 bogeys (69)
No one else is scoring this well, which is as much a testament to her putting (which had fallen off somewhat over the last few months, although she was still better than most players) as to her long hitting. She says she loves her new putter, and she's taken only 84 putts so far (avg. 28 putts per round).

Can she take over the #1 position on the Rolex Rankings if she wins? Only 2 players ahead of her in the rankings are playing well :
  • Jiyai Shin (emergency appendectomy and all) is at -3, which sounds a long way back but is still T5; and
  • Suzann Pettersen has rallied to reach -1 (T13).
At first I didn't think she'd make enough points to leapfrog them all, even with a win, because of the funky way the Rolex Ratings seem to be figured. But I did a little figuring of my own from the charts for the last three weeks, and I think she can probably make it to #2 if the tournament finishes the way it is now. (As things stand, I think Shin might move back to #1. It depends on how many points she gets for a top 10 finish.)

Azahara Munoz is one of the players at -5 (T2), which primes her for more than just her best finish yet in a major. With Rookie of the Year leader Amanda Blumenherst all the way back at +7 (T64) and Munoz only 14 points behind in the ROY race, she'll take a pretty solid lead if she can finish this off.

Finally, it's continuing to rain, making the course play even longer. So it appears that if Kerr and Munoz can just hit some fairways and make some putts today, Kerr will grab her 2nd major and Munoz a stranglehold on ROY. TGC is carrying the final round today at 4p-7p... but I bet you can find the results much sooner at LPGAscoring.com.

Is this major already over, like our World Cup hopes? I think so... but it looks like the Americans are going to win this one.

3 comments:

  1. GC is saying a win makes her #1, unless Ai-sama finishes 2nd.

    With 2 majors left, Munoz won't quite have a stranglehold just yet.

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  2. I didn't hear that until the rebroadcast of their coverage last night (I was flipping back and forth between the LPGA and the World Cup!), so I didn't hear that until after I had already written my post. I hope Cristie gets it -- she's worked hard for it. Like I said earlier in the week, she's spent 323 weeks in the Top 10.

    And I have to disagree about Munoz. I know she doesn't have near the experience Blumentherst has (this is Amanda's 6th major) and Amanda did beat her for the 2008 Women's Am and finish higher at Q-School (1st vs 5th). But Aza beat Nordqvist at the 2009 Madrid Ladies Masters (with an eagle in a playoff, no less) and she's clearly playing best, even if it is her first major. Munoz is also ahead of Blumenherst on the money list (30 vs 35) by over $25k.

    If she gets a big ROY lead from this finish, I'd have to say Munoz will be far and away the favorite.

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  3. I guess the US Team found out that it doesn't matter when they fall behind - couldn't even get a good shot off in 30 extra minutes of play. Ghana's a solid team.

    Looks good for Kerr today. Hard to imagine her blowing an 8 shot lead. As long as she doesn't put up a 75 or worse, she should be alright.

    Still - shoot even par or better...just to be sure.

    ReplyDelete