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Friday, April 4, 2014

A Wie Bit of Excitement

Don't groan at my jokes! I could have gone all Queen on you and called this post Wie Will, Wie Will Rock You.

Michelle Wie

The first day of a major always gives us a few surprises. The first day at the Kraft Nabisco was no different.

First, the 'chalk' picks -- Inbee Park, Stacy Lewis, and Lydia Ko -- all struggled, as did a number of other name players. I was personally shocked to see Beatriz Recari -- who has admittedly had a rough year so far -- shoot +9 to tie for last place. Likewise, Gerina Pillar -- who has played well this year -- shot a +5. Given how calm the weather was, these two were huge shocks.

Some of the players at the top are no big surprise:
  • Shanshan Feng is leading but has played pretty well so far this season. Her position is no surprise at all.
  • Cristie Kerr hasn't won but has been trending upward.
  • So Yeon Ryu and Chella Choi have both been playing well and, sitting at T9, are about where I might have expected them after Round 1.
But more than a few of the Top10 (actually 13) are a bit shocking:
  • Michelle Wie has been playing very well this season, her best in quite a while. In fact, her stats are noticeably better than Chella Choi's. Among other things, Wie is #5 on Tour in scoring average. But I didn't expect to see her at the top of the leaderboard (just 1 off the lead) after 1 round.
  • Likewise, Se Ri Pak is a pleasant surprise. (Remember, she's 36 so most of the media wrote her off years ago, along with Karrie Webb. HA! Take that, gullible media people!) Tied with Michelle for second, she looked as good as she's looked for a long time.
  • Amateur Angel Yin was a huge surprise -- to me, anyway. She's a sponsor invite and only 15 years old. She's tied with Amy Yang for fourth, just 2 shots off the lead.
  • Jennifer Rosales and Jiyai Shin are tied with Kerr for 6th at -3. J-Ro has only played 2 events and missed the cut in both; Shin has only played the HSBC and finished T24. I wouldn't have guessed that either would be in the top half of the field.
  • And neither Tiffany Joh or Haeji Kang have placed better than T25 this season. Yet both are T9 (-2) along with Ryu, Choi, and Morgan Pressel.
I know it's only been one round, but it appears that Judy Rankin was right. This may be the most open KNC we've seen in several years.

Of course, the big news Thursday has to be the play of both Wie and Pak. This is the major where Wie has probably played her best and it's the one major that Se Ri never won (remember, Evian wasn't a major for most of her career). If either one of them can pull this off, they will get some serious play in all the major news outlets, not just the sports channels.

I know what you're thinking: If I think Se Ri is just as newsworthy as Michelle, why did Michelle get the post title? Simple... it's hard to come up with as good a play on Se Ri's name as it is on Michelle's, so Michelle gets the "title role" in this post. Live with it. ;-)

Remember, GC's new coverage starts today at 11:30am ET with the pregame show. They'll show a repeat of Thursday's round before that, and the new coverage (morning in CA) starts at noon and the afternoon coverage starts at 6pm ET. Lots of live LPGA golf this week... finally!


  1. Mike: Sadly you missed the opportunity to pun Yin and Yang. 8-)

  2. How true, Diane, how true. However, GC did so on Friday's broadcast so at least somebody got some mileage out of it. ;-)