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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Another Animal... the Phoenix

As in Arizona, where the LPGA is teeing it up in the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup. The tournament is turning out to be pretty good so far.

As you may recall, only 4 of the Top 10 ladies came to play. Here's how they're doing:
  • #1 Yani Tseng, +1
  • #2 Jiyai Shin, -1
  • #5 Cristie Kerr, -3
  • #10 Karrie Webb, -1
Obviously Kerr is doing the best of the four, but she's still 3 off the lead. Here's how the leaderboard looks:
  • -6: Angela Stanford
  • -5: Brittany Lincicome, Aree Song
  • -4: Sophie Gustafson, Juli Inkster, Beatriz Recari, Mina Harigae, Nannette Hill, Amelia Lewis
Also, Paula Creamer's at -3 and Morgan Pressel's at -2.

Among other names of interest (at least to me) Gerina Mendoza Pillar and Kristy McPherson are at even, and Sara Brown is at +5. (Not such a great round for her first LPGA start, but those are the breaks.) Jane Park and Natalie Gulbis are at +1, a good start given how much back trouble they've each had.

I know there's been a lot of buzz over the "charity" aspect of the event, but Angela Stanford may have put it best. She said she didn't care whether the money went in her pocket or to charity, she wanted that trophy! RR Donnelley has added a "Finish Strong for Japan" charity, donating to Japanese relief efforts $100 for each birdie and $500 for each eagle made on the last four holes. And the folks in Phoenix seem to be turning out to support the tournament.

Although the LPGA clearly couldn't put a second tournament like this on the schedule, I still maintain that Michael Whan had a good idea. The Founders Cup is an idea that fits in with the charity image of golf, brought the LPGA back to a market that wanted them, gave the women one more tournament to warm up before the first major, and will show potential sponsors that the LPGA has no intention of being beaten by a bad economy. If it turns out to be an exciting tournament as well, I suspect they'll find some new life from this.

Perhaps not unlike that famous bird known for rising from its own ashes.

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