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Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Ladies Start the Brawl Early

The Constructivist over at Mostly Harmless has been following the ISPS HANDA Australian Women's Open all week while I've been pretty quiet about it. The reason is simply because I can't watch it, so I've been reading his posts and checking the leaderboard.

If you're reading this, the tournament is probably history because, as I write this, the leaders have finished the 11th hole of their final round... and Yani Tseng leads Jiyai Shin by 5 shots. She's 6 ahead of 3rd-place Eun Hee Ji, and 9 shots ahead of the group tied for 4th. In all likelihood, either Tseng or Shin will win.

As TC points out in his posts, Tseng is most likely to do the deed. And since this is an LET event and thus gets world ranking points, it means the women's game is going to get interesting way before the LPGA starts their season.

See, here's how the Top 5 in the Rolex World Rankings sit right now:
  1. Jiyai Shin, 10.06
  2. Cristie Kerr, 9.56
  3. Suzann Pettersen, 9.55
  4. Na Yeon Choi, 9.52
  5. Yani Tseng, 9.24
Less than a point -- .82 of a point, to be exact -- separates #5 Tseng from #1 Shin. However, because everybody's points have been dwindling since the end of last season, the gap between #2 and #4 is merely.04 points. That's 4 one-hundredths of a point! And Yani is only .32 behind Kerr -- that's less than a third of a point!

And what all of that means, exclamation points aside, is that a win in Australia could vault Tseng into at least 2nd place. She's unlikely to catch Shin, who'll likely grab a sizable number of points for a runner-up finish... but the gap will close. And barring some play abroad, the trio of Kerr, Pettersen, and Choi stand to lose even more points next week.

TC remarked on a previous post that "the guys have reached the point where the women's game was a few years ago, as it became clear Annika was catchable and eventually that Lorena was human." You can argue that Annika was injured and Lorena distracted... but haven't both been true of Tiger? What we're seeing on the women's pro circuit may be a foretaste of what lies ahead for the men -- namely, some real competition for the rank of Top Dog.

Just remember that the ladies got there first. (And yes, my dear female readers, you are permitted to gloat.)

Yes, the 2011 Rolex Brawl for #1 (that's a cool name for the ladies' points race, I think) is underway. I can't wait to see how the other gals respond to this!

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