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Saturday, August 3, 2013

Inbee May Be Out of the Running

Today I'm heading out on vacation with friends. While I'll still be updating the blog with new material, I'll be traveling today and most of tomorrow, with the same schedule next weekend. As a result, I don't know exactly how much final-round golf I'll get to see, although I plan to keep up with the scoring. Don't be surprised if you see some photos from Disneyworld scattered throughout the week as well!

While Tiger was putting everybody on "59 watch" at the WGC-Bridgestone, a similar watch was out at the RICOH Women's British Open for Inbee Park -- not a 59 watch though; they were just trying to find her on the leaderboard. (And no -- like Phil earlier this year, Tiger fell short. He ended up just tying the course record of 61 and could only open up a 7-shot lead on the rest of the field. Ho-hum...)

It's not that Inbee is playing bad. She just ended up on the wrong end of the draw, as sometimes happens at the Open. Winds of 20+ mph hit the afternoon wave, and the best our major chasing star could manage was a round of 73, 1-over.

The problem is that she's now 8 shots off the lead. She's T22, not first or second after 36 holes as she has been in her previous three majors.

If you want to blame something, you can blame it on her final 8 holes of the first round. After going 6-under in the first 10 holes, she lost 3 shots on the way in -- a real no-no on a calm day when everybody was putting up low scores.

In her favor? More winds are predicted today but Inbee will go out early. If she catches a break and can post a 68 or 67 (par is 72 at the Old Course), she just might get herself back into it for the final round. And most of the good rounds on Friday were posted in the morning wave, before the winds came up.

Not in her favor? For one thing, her putter seems to have gone cold... but other players are heating up. The leader at 10-under, Na Yeon Choi, played in the afternoon wave as well and posted 67 in all that wind! Miki Saiki got it to 9-under in the morning wave, but did it on the strength of two hole-out eagles; she won't be able to count on that today. Morgan Pressel, at 8-under, also played the morning wave but finally seems to be in good shape after a couple of years of injuries. And two of the players at 7-under could be really dangerous -- Suzann Pettersen posted early and Nicole Castrale (who's playing with hip pain that will require surgery) played in even worse conditions than Na Yeon Choi.

Na Yeon ChoiPersonally, I think you have to consider Na Yeon the favorite now. She had only one bogey, and she shot 2-under on the back 9. Seven of the toughest holes were on the back 9! Plus she has a major under her belt -- the 2012 US Women's Open -- so she knows what kind of pressure to expect and, although she hasn't won yet this season, she has 6 Top10s and she's been steady at #4 in the Rolex Rankings.

But worst of all -- for the rest of the field, that is -- she doesn't seemed fazed by the wind and rain at all.

Inbee and Na Yeon are good friends and Judy Rankin said during the broadcast that Na Yeon really enjoys cooking. I suspect she'll have to whip up something really special for Inbee if she keeps playing like this!


  1. So sad that Inbee didn't make it but might as well be happy for Stacy Lewis.

  2. I know what you mean. Six wins in one season, three majors in a row... it's a little hard to be TOO disappointed for Inbee! ;-)