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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Parallel Storylines

I have been absolutely astounded by the number of parallels between the PGA tournament at Bay Hill and the LPGA tournament in California. It's rare that we see something like this happen.

On Thursday both tournaments had rough weather -- cold wet weather at the Kia, strong winds at Bay Hill -- and in each case one player went out and shot an unexpectly low 66 to snag the lead. Spencer Levin did it at Bay Hill, and Amanda Blumenherst did it at the Kia.

On Friday both tours saw a major Korean player who hadn't been playing well so far this year step out and shoot a 64 to get in contention. K.J. Choi did it at Bay Hill to grab a piece of second place just 1 shot back, and Jiyai Shin did it at the Kia to grab a 1-shot lead.

And then Saturday nearly gave us another parallel storyline. Until he bogeyed the 15th and 16th at Bay Hill, Spencer Levin was neck-and-neck with Martin Laird, and the two would have been separated from the field. As it stands, Laird is 2 strokes ahead of Levin, who is 2 strokes ahead of Bubba Watson and Steve Marino.

At the Kia, Jiyai Shin had separated herself by 2 strokes from Sandra Gal before an unexpected duck hook on the 18th put Shin in the water hazard. She had to settle for bogey, but the best Gal could do was par. Now Shin stands at -15, one stroke ahead of Gal, who is 5 strokes clear of Na Yeon Choi. (Hmmm... K.J. Choi drops from contention and Na Yeon Choi moves up... we trade one Choi for another. Parallels, parallels.)

So what will Sunday serve up? If winning counts for anything, Shin and Laird should both come out on top. (Perhaps they could celebrate together. Imagine a celebration with both haggis and kimchi -- a meat dish made from sheep innerds and a fermented vegetable dish, both of which I'm told are "acquired tastes.") But we've also got two players seeking their first wins -- Gal and Levin -- and both are proving to have pretty good nerves. We could end up with similar endings to both tournaments as well.

Fortunately NBC and Golf Channel aren't airing them at the same time, so I won't need parallel TVs to watch them both! ;-)

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