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Friday, April 2, 2010

I'm Still Watching the Kraft Nabisco...

...instead of the Shell Houston Open. It's nothing against Houston -- in fact, I'm keeping up with the scores and I'll be writing the customary Limerick Summary about it on Monday. But the ladies are playing a major, for Pete's sake! It deserves my attention.

And there are certainly attention-drawing things going on Rancho Mirage. Suzann Pettersen is leading at -5; this is no surprise, as she has been close to winning this one for the last 3 years. What may be a surprise is that Lorena Ochoa, missing in action most of this year, is right behind her at -4.

There's been a lot of talk in the comments on other blogs that Lorena may have "lost her fire," and my occasional comment that her recent marriage and "inheritance" of 3 kids may have affected her haven't been taken too seriously. One new piece of information I learned today is that Lorena has also moved from her home in Guadalajara to Mexico City, and that she said this has messed up her training somewhat. At 5,138 feet above sea level, Guadalajara is some 2000 feet lower than Mexico City (which is 7,349 feet at its lowest point). Yeah, I think the thinner air could affect her training until she gets used to it, at which point she may end up as the fittest player on the Tour; we'll see. At any rate, I'll be watching how she does this week.

A few other names jumped out at me as well: Karrie Webb is at -3, as is Karen Stupples, and Yani Tseng and defending champ Brittany Lincicome are at -2. That's 4 major champions near the lead, which is always interesting. As it stands, I think Webb bears the most watching. She hasn't done much in the last month, but she does have that LET win earlier in the year, she won here in 2006, and she was T8 last year.

One of my faves, Juli Inkster, is at +5 and probably out of it. Like Phil Mickelson, she appears to be fighting her putter.

Several other good players are at even or better; I want to see the 2nd round scores before making any guesses at which of them might be contenders this week, so I'll be watching again today. Again, I think Karrie Webb is the one to watch right now. She had 4 birdies and 1 bogey in round one, and she hit my magic 67% in Driving Accuracy and GIR (12 each), with 27 putts. She's shorter than the other two off the tee, but if she can pick it up a bit in GIR, she can win this one.

Ochoa had 6 birdies, 2 bogeys, 6 fairways, 13 greens, and 28 putts. That 33% in the fairway stat is bothersome; she's been hitting over twice that many so far this year. I think this has to improve for her to win.

And Pettersen had 5 birdies, no bogeys, 12 fairways, 13 greens, and 26 putts -- clearly the best so far. Plus she's hitting it out there with Lincicome -- BIG advantage! If she continues to play this way, she'll get her 2nd major this week.

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