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Monday, September 17, 2012

The Limerick Summary: 2012 Ricoh Women's British Open

Winner: Jiyai Shin

Around the wider world of golf: Luke Guthrie won the Albertsons Boise Open on the Web.com Tour; Willie Wood got his 2nd win in 3 starts at the Pacific Links Hawaii Championship on the Champions Tour; Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño won the BMW Italian Open on the ET; Mi Hyang Lee won the Symetra Classic on the Symetra Tour; and Gaganjeet Bhullar (he's from India) won the Yeangder Tournament Players Championship on the OneAsian Tour. And of my "5 to Watch" for the Ricoh, two of my choices did pretty well. Paula Creamer finished 3rd and So Yeon Ryu got a T5. (UPDATE: I forgot to add a third pick, Lydia Ko, who won Low Amateur. She's now won LowAm in 2 majors this year!)

Jiyai raises her 2nd Women's British Open trophy

With the PGA Tour off this week, it only made sense to do the Summary about the last LPGA / LET major of the year, the Ricoh Women's British Open. But this one had an extra dimension to it, one that made me believe this tournament was more deserving of the Summary than any of the other events being staged.

I don't use this word often, but Sunday it certainly fit. Jiyai Shin's play was nothing short of Tiger-esque. And the particular performance I have in mind is Tiger's amazing victory at the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

It's not just that Jiyai blitzed the field by 9 strokes in a major. Cristie Kerr did that at a major a couple of years ago, winning by 12 and prompting players to ask if they could play the same course she was playing. And Tiger won at Pebble by 15 strokes. Large wins happen every so often.

It's not that Jiyai, like Tiger, was the only player under par when the tournament ended.

It's not even that the weather was so darned horrible. Part of what made Tiger's victory so impressive, in case you don't know, was the winds he had to play through. (Here's a link to the Sports Illustrated story that appeared after he won, in case you're too young to remember it clearly.)

No, and that's the irony of the term. What makes it so Tiger-esque is something that ISN'T the same. You see, Tiger simply overpowered the course in bad weather. He had shots in his bag during that major that nobody else had even dreamed of yet.

In Jiyai Shin's case, she underpowered the course. According to her scoring page, for the week she averaged under 250 yards off the tee... and only 190 yards for the final round! Karrie Webb has won the British Open 3 times, yet her two Sunday rounds were 68-82, compared to Jiyai's 71-73. And in the final round only 2 players scored better -- both Paula Creamer and Lexi Thompson managed par 72s. If anybody has ever exhibited the sheer strength of will that Tiger is known for, Jiyai showed it on Sunday.

Perhaps I should coin the term Tigress-esque to describe her.

Since Jiyai's last win in 2010 she'd had eye surgery, back problems, and missed two of this year's majors because of wrist surgery. But now, with a T3 and back-to-back wins in her last three starts, it looks like Yani and Stacy just might have a little company in the Rolex Race for #1!

So this week the Limerick Summary salutes the one known as "Final Round Queen," the sovereign who ruled Hoylake with an iron sceptre... or maybe it was a hybrid. To be honest, the driver and putter were pretty good too...
On a long day of golf, Royal Liverpool
Rudely taunted: "When golf makes you shiver, who'll
Find the fire deep inside?"
That's when Jiyai – with pride –
Grabbed its throat and refused to be ridiculed.
The photo came from PGA.com's news page. Isn't it strange that the LPGA doesn't have a picture up yet... and it was their tournament?

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