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Friday, September 14, 2012

Just a Little Weather...

But just a little. The wind got up but not as much as expected and some of the holes were set up to play a bit short, so the afternoon wave played less than a stroke higher than the morning wave -- an unexpected turn of events. Still, the winds were tricky; the 2nd shot on the par-4 17th was typically longer than the 2nd shot into either the 16th or 18th -- both par-5s. Short-hitting Morgan Pressel actually hit her 2nd shot over a par-5 green!

My prediction that the long hitters might actually be at a disadvantage turned out to be pretty accurate on Day 1. The leaderboard is overwhelmed with short- and medium-length hitters. Ironically, Thursday's round had the highest average score since the Ricoh became a major... and Karrie Webb said it was "the nicest day of the week by far."

Here's how my picks did (par is 72):
  1. So Yeon Ryu, -2 (T1): Obviously I'm not surprised. Despite how well she's played this year -- she's #13 in the Rolex Rankings and leading the Rookie of the Year race by a wide margin -- she's still flying under the radar.
  2. Lydia Ko, even (T12): It's her first time seeing the course -- her first time in an Open Championship -- and she's doing just fine, thank you. She got to -2 at the turn but fell back (she started on the 10th and the front 9 is harder).
  3. Paula Creamer, +1 (T29): Paula played extremely well from tee to green. If she had putted worth anything, she'd be in the lead. (I know her stats say she only took 31 putts, but I saw her putt several way past the hole and miss some shorties. Despite that, she shot -2 on the back 9 -- she also started on the 10th.)
  4. Catriona Matthew, +4 (T74): This one's a shocker. A double on the par-5 5th killed an otherwise decent round. She's not out of it by any means -- Ricoh winners have come from as far back as 7 after the first round... but it's still a shocker.
  5. Laura Davies, +8 (T125): I said Laura was a flier, and she's certainly looking that way after the first round. But I'm encouraged by the fact that, although she only hit 5 fairways (the rough is horribly thick), she still managed to hit 10 GIR. In addition, she took 36 putts which is her weak spot. Just a decent putting round would have kept her fairly close. If she gets hot in Friday's round, she's still not out of this... expecially since more wind is expected today. That may hold the lead where it is or even drop it a bit.
Yani posted at even, along with Cristie Kerr, Inbee Park, Morgan Pressel, and Beatriz Recari, among others. Karrie Webb, Jiyai Shin, and both Miyazatos all got in at -1. Michelle Wie managed +3 (T55), a better position than some of the favorites like Suzann Pettersen, Lindsey Wright, and Mel Reid. And 4 amateurs are in at +1 or better, led by Charley Hull at -1.

BTW, there was a change in the broadcast schedule. It'll be on ESPN2, not ESPN, this morning from 9am ET until noon. If they do it the way they did Thursday, there'll be one hour of tape-delayed play from the morning wave followed by two hours of live golf.

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