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Friday, March 25, 2011

Hot Girls... and Guys

At both the LPGA's Kia Classic and the PGA's Arnold Palmer Championship a few players really stood out from the field because of their hot play. Ironically, these standout players all played in the worst conditions at their respective tournaments!

Let's start at the Kia. The par-73 course was inundated with rain (more is expected) and the early groups played in 40° weather. Two unexpected players separated themselves from the pack early on:
  • Second-year player Amanda Blumenherst (who got completely blown away by Azahara Munoz in the ROY race) posted a -7 66, finishing her round with 4 straight birdies.
  • Sandra Gal (possibly better known for her nude pose in ESPN The Magazine's "2009 Body Issue") posted a -6 right behind her.
Only Michelle Wie managed to close the gap in the later groups, posting a -5 late in the day.

A few other notable scores from the Kia:
  • T4 (-3): Jiyai Shin, Mika Miyazato, I.K. Kim
  • T10 (-2): Jane Park (one of TC's faves who's been fighting back problems), Christina Kim, Yani Tseng
  • T17 (-1): Suzann Pettersen, Ai Miyazato, Kristi McPherson (one of my faves), Karrie Webb
  • T31 (E): Sara Brown (another fave), Na Yeon Choi, Laura Davies
  • T49 (+1): Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, Grace Park (another good player fighting back problems)
  • T64 (+2): Juli Inkster, Azahara Munoz, Morgan Pressel

Meanwhile, over at par-72 Bay Hill, a single name stood out: Spencer Levin, who posted a bogey-free 66 in some pretty strong winds during the afternoon. That was enough to give him a three-stroke lead going into Friday.

And here are a few notable scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational:
  • T2 (-3): Rickie Fowler, Hunter Mahan
  • T4 (-2): Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Rocco Mediate
  • T15 (-1): Robert Garrigus, Ian Poulter
  • T22 (E): K.J. Choi, Justin Rose
  • T31 (+1): Tiger Woods (actually a pretty good score -- he scorched playing partners Dustin Johnson and Gary Woodland's +5), Sergio Garcia
  • T46 (+2): Jim Furyk, Ryan Moore, Sam Saunders, Ryo Ishikawa, Jarrod Lyle
  • T63 (+3): Tommy Gainey, Ernie Els, Erik Compton
  • T107 (+8): Jhonattan Vegas, Graeme McDowell
Like I said, it was a rough day at Bay Hill!

Golf Channel has live coverage of both tournaments today -- 2:30pm for Bay Hill and 6:30pm for the Kia.

And for the record, GC stayed on for 10 extra minutes Thursday to broadcast Michelle Wie's finish. I know a lot of you feel that GC gives Wie too much coverage, but bear in mind that just last year they wouldn't have stayed live even for her. This is yet another indication that GC may be giving the LPGA better coverage (and just plain better treatment) this year.They deserve a round of applause for that.

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