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Saturday, March 26, 2011

National Korean Go Low Day

And no, I'm not poking fun at Korean players. It's just that on Friday two different Korean players -- one PGA, one LPGA -- both posted 64s.

Over at Bay Hill, K.J. Choi posted an 8-under 64 to put himself in a tie for second with first-round leader Spencer Levin and just one stroke behind leader Martin Laird. (Who, btw, shot a very tidy 65 to get himself in contention once again.) It was Choi's best round of the year, and it's nice to see him getting back in contention again.

Just a side note: The second-round notes at PGATOUR.com note that part of Choi's good play came from having three -- count 'em, three -- hybrids in his bag to help him better attack the par-3s. He's testing the idea to see if it might help him get over the hump at the Masters. Given that he's leading the field in average approach shot distance from the pin -- he's at 25 feet, the field's at 40 -- I think this is a good decision. Keep 'em in the bag, K.J.!

Meanwhile out at the Kia, Jiyai Shin shot a 9-under 64 (remember, the Industry Hills Golf Club at Pacific Palms is a par 73). After Thursday's round she was T4 and 3 shots back. But the course got hit by bad weather that postponed Friday's round by 3 hours, which means first-round leaders Amanda Blumenherst (-7) and Sandra Gal (-6) won't even finish their rounds until Saturday morning. When play was called for the day, both had finished 9 holes; Gal was at -8 and Blumenherst was at -6... and it will probably be cold in the morning.

Of course, they shot their good first rounds in the cold on Thursday, so maybe that's a good thing for them... but I don't think Jiyai will mind sleeping in!

Both Jiyai and K.J. have been largely missing in action so far this year -- between them, they have one Top 10 in ten PGA and LPGA tournaments. But if this keeps up, we could be looking at a Korean sweep this weekend. At any rate, Friday was a banner day for Choi and Shin.

Finally, while it doesn't have anything to do with Korean players, it's worth noting that my suggestion to keep an eye on Tiger might have been on the money. This week the young guns like his partners Dustin Johnson and Gary Woodland, as well as Jhonattan Vegas, all missed the cut... while Tiger sits at T10, -3 for the tournament after a 4-under 68 on Friday. And while he still only hit 43% of his greens, his misses were mostly first cut, he's hitting 67% of his greens, and his putting is better. I still don't think he'll win the Masters, but it's nice to finally see some improvement continuing from his last tournament.

And I would be remiss if I didn't mention that Rocco Mediate also made the cut at T17, -2. Way to go, Rocco!

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