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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Leaders VS Chasers

The way things are playing out at the RICOH have got me thinking about one of the most-asked questions in golf:

Is it easier to lead or to chase?

During the third round we discovered that most of the leaders going in had trouble leading. Mo Martin, So Yeon Ryu, and Beatriz Recari all shot 3 to 6 over par and, though they aren't out of the tournament -- they're all only 3 back -- it won't be as easy as it might have been with the lead today.

And then again, maybe it will be. Would they rather lead or chase?

For Inbee Park's sake, I hope she prefers leading. Especially since Saturday was her birthday and she gave herself the lead as a present.

Inbee Park

There's no doubt which Stacy Lewis prefers. She told, "I like coming from behind versus having the lead. I think the lead’s harder when those conditions get hard.”

And I don't know which Suzann Pettersen prefers, but she'll probably shoot at most of the pins anyway.

The face of the tournament has really changed with the emergence of these three players. They all have pedigrees; they've all done this more than once; they all know how to close out the big ones. And while Shanshan Feng has only won a single major, she has demonstrated an ability to close out tournaments as well -- especially when she's chasing.

The wild card now is Charley Hull. That ridiculously low 66 she posted yesterday has put her only 3 off the lead as well... and she seems to be a natural chaser. had this to say about her:
The 18-year old fired a 66 to move up to 1-under par and from 49th to start the day to a T-7th heading into the final round. Her aggresive play and the fact she mixed in nine birdies, including twos on each of the four par-3’s helped her to get back in the tournament, just as she predicted the night before to her dad.
“I said I’m not out of this championship.” Hull recalled of the conversation. “I said to my dad: I can still win it if I have a good day tomorrow. If the wind gets up tomorrow (Sunday), even par could win it.”
There was a moment today during the press conference immediately following her round today, when she was asked if she ever doesn’t play aggresively.
“Well, I don’t know.” Hull said. “I don’t realise that I play aggressive golf but I probably do. But I suppose I do sometimes. I just hit it. If it’s a stupid pin, I’m not going to take it on, but if it’s reasonable, I just go for it.”
"If the wind gets up Sunday, even par could win it.” It appears Charley is a prophet as well as a bomber. I checked the forecast and it looks like the winds will be somewhere close to 20mph today.

The field hasn't done all that well while Royal Birkdale has been calm.

So do you go with the leader or one of the chasers? My money's on the leader, Inbee Park.

If one of the chasers don't catch her, that is.

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