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Sunday, November 20, 2016

But Let's Not Give Her the Titles Yet

On Friday, Lydia Ko seemed unbeatable. As I noted in my blog yesterday, the inconsistencies in Lydia's game seemed to be fixed.

And then Saturday happened. Charley Hull, who struggled at Tiburon last year, roared through the pack from five strokes back to take the lead. Brittany Lincicome and So Yeon Ryu took their spots one stroke off her lead, and Ariya Jutanugarn shot a 65 to regain the lead in the CME Globe and Rolex Player of the Year races.

Charley Hull

And what did Lydia do? Simply put, the unthinkable. The normally clear-minded teen made an uncharacteristic mistake at the 18th and dumped her 7-iron shot into the water. She shot a 1-over 73 and let at least 16 other players back into the tournament.

What happened? Judy Rankin suggested that, regardless of what her brain told her, Lydia simply couldn't resist going at the 18th flag when it was just a 7-iron. It wasn't a conscious decision; rather, it was one of those "oh my god, why did I do THAT?" moments.

Personally, when I watched the replay of the shot, I thought she tried to hit a fade -- the divot flew far to the left of her target -- and she just closed the face of the club too much. If she was trying to hit it hard and create a lot of spin, it would be an easy thing to do.

But regardless of the reason, Lydia Ko has gone from a solid chance to sweep the LPGA titles that are up for grabs -- the tournament, the CME Globe, the Player of the Year and the Vare Trophy -- to possibly losing them ALL. If you only have to avoid a hot round from one player, that's one thing. But potential hot rounds from 16 players? That's not a position you want to be in.

It appears that ABC hit the lottery. They'll be broadcasting the final round -- LIVE, by the looks of it -- at 1pm ET today. And the final round of the LPGA season looks to be a nail-biter. At least they're going out with a bang!

The question is, will that bang be the door slamming on Lydia's hopes of victory?

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