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Friday, April 18, 2014

Angela Stanford Blew Away the Field Then the Wind Finished the Job

It's not the full force gales that hit the PGA Tour in 2013 -- remember Dustin Johnson winning the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in a mere 3 rounds? -- but the LPGA LOTTE Championship is seeing some pretty strong winds.

Michelle Wie

I'm sure you wonder why you see Michelle Wie's picture instead of Angela Stanford's. It's simple -- the LPGA hasn't posted any photos from the 2nd round yet! Michelle is in 2nd place, one shot back, so I posted her pic because I found one. (If you wonder why it's hard to find pics of the other leaders, it's partly because Kapolei is her home so she gets even more attention than usual this week. But it doesn't help that the leaderboard basically flip-flopped since Wednesday either.) As I'm writing this, the LPGA hasn't even posted a 2nd round report yet. There should be something up by the time you read this.

It's a shame that it's taking so long though. Angela's 8-under 64 was far and away the best round of the day. The wind has been blowing pretty hard since before the first round and, although Michelle told GC that the wind wasn't quite as bad as Wednesday, it picked up again during the later part of the round. The morning groups had the best of the draw.

Nevertheless, only Angela's 64, Cristie Kerr's 66, and Michelle's 67 stood out during the pre-broadcast rounds. (Haru Nomura had the best round of the late times; she also posted a 67 and is in the Top10 on the leaderboard.)

The damage from the first round was terminal for many of the big names. The cut came at +4 and a number of favorites simply couldn't recover, Anna Nordqvist being the most obvious. (She shot 76-77 to miss the cut by 5.) Paula Creamer barely kept her cut streak alive, making the cut by one (+3).

I need to mention a couple of really great rounds that were played in the afternoon wave. Amateur So Young Lee posted a 70 to reach -4 at the halfway point -- she's not even as old as Lydia Ko (who is only at -1 after 2 rounds). And rookie Jaye Marie Green shot an 80 in the first round and somehow managed a 68 in the wind to make the cut right on the number!

So here's the Top11 on the leaderboard at the halfway point:
  • -8: Angela Stanford
  • -7: Michelle Wie
  • -6: Cristie Kerr, Inbee Park, So Yeon Ryu, Hyo Joo Kim
  • -5: Ha Na Jang, Se Ri Pak
  • -4: Haru Nomura, Katie Burnett, So Young Lee
The weather report for the last two rounds calls for the wind to change direction slightly (NE to ENE) but to stay around 15mph both days. Should be fun... for us viewers!

If you want to see it, remember that GC is showing 4 hours of live golf starting at 6:30pm ET tonight.

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