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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Missing Links

What happened to Car-nasty? Whoever heard of double-digit scores under par after only two rounds? Caroline Masson is 11-under, and both In-Bee Park and Meena Lee are tied at 10-under. Two players -- In-Bee Park and Se Ri Pak -- tied the Carnoustie scoring record with second-round 64s. Back in 1999 Jean van de Velde would have paid for those scores!

During interviews even the women sound disappointed. Yani Tseng said that majors aren't supposed to play this easy. Paula Creamer actually said she wanted some bad weather. And the other women echoed their thoughts. So what's happened to the Carnoustie we all love to hate?

Simply enough, the Scottish torture test has had a spell of bad weather -- well, bad for links golf. Mild winds and very little rain constituted "the bad side of the draw"; you could see Suzann Pettersen smile as she used the phrase. Carnoustie is set up 900 yards shorter than when the men play it, all in anticipation of the weather. Instead, all of the par-5s are reachable for almost all the women.

Just because the weather has been pretty good doesn't mean Carnoustie has played easy. Last week's winner Ai Miyazato didn't even make the cut. Yuri Fudoh, Juli Inkster, Wendy Ward, and Sherri Steinhauer are just a few of the good players and past champions of this event who couldn't make the cut even in clear weather. In fact, very few players have been able to string two good rounds together. Here are the players at the top of the leaderboard, along with their scores for the first two rounds:
-11, MASSON, Caroline, 68 - 65

-10, PARK, Inbee, 70 - 64
-10, LEE, Meena, 65 - 69

-8, PAK, Se Ri, 72 - 64
-8, CHOI, Na Yeon, 69 - 67
-8, SCHREEFEL, Dewi Claire, 70 - 66

-7, TSENG, Yani, 71 - 66

-6, MIYAZATO, Mika, 69 - 69
-6, HEDWALL, Caroline, 69 - 69
-6, LINCICOME, Brittany, 67 - 71
-6, YANG, Amy, 68 - 70

-5, CREAMER, Paula, 69 - 70
-5, GUSTAFSON, Sophie, 68 - 71
-5, WESSBERG, Linda, 73 - 66
-5, GIQUEL-BETTAN, Sophie, 71 - 68
-5, MATTHEW, Catriona, 70 - 69
-5, HURST, Pat, 70 - 69
Personally, I don't see why the R&A LGU doesn't just set the course a bit harder. If the winds and rains come, the scores will go up noticeably... and perhaps give the ladies a taste of the real Carnoustie.

As it is, it looks like this weekend will be a shootout rather than a survival test. Granted, that could change; the weathermen say it may finally toughen up a bit Sunday.

But don't tell Paula Creamer. I don't want to get her hopes up... ;-)

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