My, how quickly things can change! But, as we learned during the Presidents Cup, Royal Melbourne is a skittish lady. And apparently, she's ready for a catfight with the best women players in the world.
At the time I'm writing this, the cut is hovering around +7 and moving back. (Remember that down under in Australia, they're nearly 16 hours ahead of us -- the eastern United States, that is.) Cristie Kerr and Morgan Pressel are struggling. Both are several strokes over par for the round and sitting right at the cutline -- Cristie just inside, Morgan just outside. Fortunately both still have about half the round to go.
Even the Empress herself is struggling. Yani's 4-over for the day, dropping all the way back to +1 (T19). She's still got half a round to go as well, but it's not looking well; she's lost ground as I've written this post.
You might think the wind is up or the weather's bad, but I can't find anything about it. It appears that the ladies are just struggling with the toughness of the course. Most of them -- except the leaders, that is -- are shooting even or over par.
And that makes the leaderboard kinda interesting.
Leading -- at least while I'm writing this -- is one of the first round leaders, Stacy Lewis. According to LPGA.com's first round report:
"Stacy Lewis said that she fell in love with Royal Melbourne the first time she played the Composite Course this week. Of course it didn’t hurt that she got a few tips from honorary Royal Melbourne member Greg Norman before her trip."She's still got a handful of holes to play, but she looks good at this point -- -3 for the day, -7 over all.
Her closest pursuers -- one and two strokes back respectively, and already in the clubhouse -- are So Yeon Ryo and Hee Kyung Seo. If those names sound familiar, they should. Ryo won last year's Women's US Open over Seo, "the Supermodel of the Fairways," in a playoff. Ryo shot -4 in her second round and Seo blew the field away with a -7 to hop up the leaderboard.
Mel Reid from England is T4 in the clubhouse one more stroke back. She's had two -2 rounds. The rest of the T4 group is a Who's Who of the women's game -- Jessica Korda, Julietta Granada, and Sandra Gal -- but these 3 are still on the course.
Brittany Lincicome is in the clubhouse at -1. Jiyai Shin (where has she been lately?) is in at even par. Lexi Thompson is +3 (4 above the projected cut) with holes left to play. And Ryann O'Toole's +5 in the clubhouse.
It's shaping up to be an interesting first tournament of the year. Maybe we'll get some idea who's going to challenge Yani for the right to rule this year.