Reignwood LPGA Classic Sunday: Can Stacy Lewis Do It?

Japan Women’s Open Sunday: Can 20-Year-Old Ai Suzuki Win Her 2nd JLPGA Major in a Row? Can Ji-Yai Shin Win for the 5th Time in her Last 10 Starts?

Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic Friday: Paula Reto Goes Low Again, Takes 4-Shot Lead on Stacy Lewis

Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic Thursday: Strike While the Iron Is Hot!

Evian Championship Saturday: A Tale of 2 Moving Days

Evian Championship Friday: Hyo Joo Kim Opens Door; Who Will Make up Ground on Her?

Canadian Pacific Women’s Open Saturday: So Yeon Ryu Opens Door Early; Will Anyone Kick it Down?

Canadian Pacific Women’s Open Friday: So Yeon Ryu, -15, Sets High Bar for Field

Wegmans LPGA Championship Saturday: Who Will Make a Move as the Rains Move in on Pittsford?

Wegmans LPGA Championship Friday: Lydia Ko Gets to -5; Will Anyone Else Be There at the End of the Day?

Well, I’m back in Pittsford after failing to qualify for the New York State Mid-Amateur–and failing miserably.  Feel free to skip the next 2 paragraphs if you don’t come here to hear me moan about my game.  And count yourself lucky it’s as short as it is–I entertained myself on the ride here from Tuscarora by composing much longer and meaner posts in my head.  Obviously doing so didn’t completely get the round out of my system….  Maybe the next paragraph will…or the one after that.

I was -3 after 3 holes and just missed a 30-foot birdie try on the 618-yard par-5 4th, then managed to miss the 4-foot comebacker and the 18-incher right after that for my 1st 4-putt of the year and 1st of 4 doubles on the day.  Even after double #2 on the next hole, a shorter par 5–from 12 feet away from the hole in 3, just off the green, no less–I hung in there and managed to shoot a 40 on the front when I avoided my 3rd double of the side on the 9th hole thanks to my 6th 1-putt of the side.  But I fell apart on the back, hitting only 1 fairway (and doubling that par 5, too, to add insult to injury) and ending up at the bottom of the pack.

It was a true Jekyll and Hyde round.  I was E for 9 holes and +15 for 9 holes.  In addition to my 4-putt, I had 3 3-putts (all on the back, and all due to badly-judged and/or -executed approach shots that left me facing monster putts with mega-undulations or hills to deal with), but I also had 7 1-putts and made all kinds of pressure putts to save 2-putts.  Tuscarora easily had the fastest greens of any I’ve played all year–and unlike last year I made a point to regularly play courses with fast greens this year, so I can’t say I wasn’t used to it.  But it was really my inability to handle the pressure of needing to put together a solid back 9 and absolutely butchering 3 short par 4s in a row to start it that killed me today.  For some reason I couldn’t figure out how to avoid pull-hooks all day and I didn’t do a great job clubbing myself, either.  Oh well, for what will probably be my last round of 2014, it was pretty representative of the good and the bad in my game this season.  Glad to put it out of its misery.

Given my mood, let’s start my focus on the 2nd round of the Wegmans LPGA Championship with more bad news.  2 of my favorite golfers, Ai Miyazato and Mika Miyazato, will be missing the cut.  They battled all day, but a couple of late bogeys for each of them did them both in.  I’m also sad to see Amy Yang and Jeong Jang missing the cut.  It’s not looking good for other faves like Moira DunnPaula Creamer, or Morgan Pressel, and rookies like Yueer Cindy Feng and Amy Anderson are on the wrong side of it at +3 right now.

On the bright side, Lydia Ko fired a 6-birdie 69 to move to -5 for the week, Tiffany Joh a 4-birdie 70 to get to -2, and Danielle Kang a 5-birdie 73 to hang in there at -1.  Plus Ya Ni Tseng, Jennifer Song, and Ayako Uehara will make the cut.  There are others golfers I particularly root for out on the course right now whom I don’t want to jinx, so enough said about them for now.  The big question obviously is whether the bomb squad of Brittany Lincicome and Lexi Thompson will be able to continue threading the needle at Monroe Golf Club and finish the halfway point of the tournament ahead of Ko.  And whether the fighting Lees (Meena and Ilhee) will be able to finish their rounds ahead of last week’s winner Mirim when all is said and done today.  And whether Inbee Park will be able to bounce back from losing to Lee as well as Suzann Pettersen did today.  Actually, there are a whole lot more questions than that, but I have to burn off this negative energy by following Chie Arimura as she finishes her round.  More later!

[Update 1 (7:41 pm):  Well, Lincicome played fantastic golf today, eagling the par-5 14th to get to -9 and staying there over her last 4 holes.  Lexi didn’t play quite as well, but she did birdie the par-5 3rd to get back to -7 after finishing the back (her front) bogey-bogey.  Unfortunately, she bogeyed the par-3 6th and couldn’t birdie 8 or 9, so she’s tied with freakin’ Inbee Park, who birdied 3 of her 1st 4 holes on the front and parred in to match Lexi and Meena Lee’s 66s from yesterday.  But it’s Julieta Granada who holds the 18-hole record at Monroe GC for this tournament, as she fired a bogey-free 65 today!!  She’s tied with Pettersen, Shanshan Feng, Mirim Lee, Beatriz Recari, and Jennifer Johnson at -4.  And how about her fellow Park, Jane, who birdied 3 of her last 7 holes (on the front) to catch Ko at -5?!]

[Update 2 (7:54 pm):  I’m pleased and saddened to report the Mostly Harmless jinx is only at half strength today.  Pleased for Chie Arimura, who bounced back from a devastating double on the tough par-3 13th with 5-straight pars to make the cut on the number.  And saddened for Reilley Rankin, who scrambled her butt off after making a tap-in birdie on 10 to get to +2, but couldn’t get the last up-and-down she needed on 18 and missed it by a shot.

I hate to say it, but that was among the easier attempts Rankin had coming home.  On 14, she swiped her 2nd shot right and it ended up in dirt near a green-side tree.  After maybe-purposely exploding it from the dirt (she looked concerned about a root and conferred with her caddie to be sure how she wanted to play the shot) and coming up short of the green, she punched a nice wedge to 4 feet and made the tester.  Then she left what looked like a 25-footer on 15 3 feet short and sank another key par save.  Then she was between clubs–3-hybrid or 4-hybrid–and chose the longer one while the wind was gusting.  But it died during her swing and she powered it through what was left and almost bounced it onto the 17th tee.  She played a classic Texas wedge to 3 feet and made it to stay on track.  Then on 17 she pulled her approach badly but was lucky enough to fly it a foot past Death Valley (that really deep trap left of the green that must be 20 feet below its surface).  She made another good chip, but it ran about 8 feet by and she made the putt to stay alive.  Then on 18 she left it in the front-right fringe and misjudged her putt up the gully or swale or ditch or whatever you want to call it that runs diagonally up the green, leaving it barely halfway to the pin tucked in the back-left corner of the lower tier.  That left her at least 18 feet, but the putt died left and low in the last foot or so.  And just like that, she was done for the week.

Of course the club pro Alison Curdt had a tough time out there, but she hit a lot of good shots and made several good chips and putts.  I got to see her make 2 of her 3 birdies on the day (on 10 and 14), plus she parred 13, so she shouldn’t feel bad about her 79.

I’m devoting a separate post to Arimura’s game, but 1st I have to grab something to eat you-know-where!]

[Update 3 (11:31 pm):  Home sweet home!  Finally!  Entertained myself on the ride home thinking of tweets I could do with #thisisyourbrainongolf as the hashtag.  As in:

  • disaster flashback and/or premonition in middle of downswing #thisisyourbrainongolf
  • Someone screamed “boo!” in the middle of my downswing. Oh. It was my brain. #thisisyourbrainongolf
  • Never point to the sand trap that would have cost you your 3rd double of the 9 after saving bogey with a 15-footer and mouth “FU” to it. #47onback9 #thisisyourbrainongolf
  • “Dear God, why do I have to suck so hard at a game I love so much?” #thisisyourbrainongolf

Don’t know if all would stay at or under 140 characters, but you get the picture!  Why don’t you tweet your own?  Let’s vent together!]

[Update 4 (8/16/14, 12:36 pm):  Yes!  Mina Harigae made the cut!  Xi Yu Lin gets to play with Laura Davies later today!  Mo Martin and Kristy McPherson get to show the world how precision players handle moving day!  And the Jane Park is paired with Lexi.  So many good pairings to follow tomorrow.  I think I’ll spread the Mostly Harmless jinx around by only following folks for 3 or 6 holes at a time.  First victims (if I wake up in time):  Salas, Arimura, Uehara.]

International Crown Sunday: It All Comes Down to This!

Play has just started on day 4 of the International Crown, with Inbee Park 1-up on Caroline Hedwall through 2 and Pornanong Phatlum and In-Kyung Kim all-square through the 1st.  I’ll be not-quite-live blogging every half-hour or so until the Golf Channel coverage starts.  In the meantime, check out my previews of each Sunday singles match.  I’m very interested in seeing how the under-22 crowd in the field–Ariya Jutanugarn, Moriya Jutanugarn, and Mamiko Higa–handle the pressure!  Oh, and if you get a chance to watch Stacy Lewis’s interview from Morning Drive, I guarantee your respect for her will go even higher, no matter how high it was before the interview.

[Update 1 (12:37 pm):  Here’s how the matches stand thus far.

1. Caroline Hedwall vs. Inbee Park

Inbee is now 2-up through 5.  She won 2 and 3, lost 4, and won 5.  Too bad the scorecard is traditional match-play format, with no scores on the cards.  Would be nice to get a hint of whether eagle, birdie, par, or bogey won a hole!

[Update 1.a.1 (1:08 pm):  Inbee won the par-3 6th and lost the par-4 7th, so she is now 2-up through 8.]

[Update 1.a.2 (2:02 pm):  Inbee won 11 to go back to 3-up.]

[Update 1.a.3 (2:20 pm):  Inbee is 3-up with 5 holes to go.]

[Update 1.a.4 (2:36 pm):  Judy said that Caroline’s been burning a lot of edges.  That won’t do it against Inbee.]

[Update 1.a.5 (2:37 pm):  Inbee makes the 3-footer to be dormie with 3 to play.]

[Update 1.a.6 (2:51 pm):  Inbee gets the job done with another wedge on 16!  Caroline pitched to the fringe and fails to make birdie.  She concedes Inbee the birdie.  Inbee wins 4&2.  Korea now has 8 points.]

2. Pornanong Phatlum vs. In-Kyung Kim

Pornanong just won the 4th hole to go 1-up.

[Update 1.b.1 (1:10 pm):  Inky won the par-3 6th but Pornanong bounced back with a win on the par-4 7th, and she is now 1-up through 7.]

[Update 1.b.2 (2:03 pm):  Pornanong won 8 to go 2-up but Inky won 10 to go 1-down.]

[Update 1.b.3 (2:47 pm):  If Korea is going to win this thing, Inky has to saddle up.  She’s 2-down with 4 to play.]

[Update 1.b.4 (3:03 pm):  Pornanong is 2-up with 3 holes to go.]

[Update 1.b.5 (3:12 pm):  Inky needs to make this putt on 16!]

[Update 1.b.6 (3:29 pm):  She blasted it through the break after getting a great read from Pornanong, who’s now dormie.]

[Update 1.b.7 (3:33 pm):  Pornanong misses the 17th green short but dry with a 5-iron.  Inky has a hybrid in her hands and lofts it to the front of the green.  Maybe 30 feet for a birdie.]

[Update 1.b.8 (3:39 pm):  Too aggressive a chip from Pornanong leaves her with a 15-foot putt to win the match.  She couldn’t make it.  Now Inky has a 3-footer to force the match to 18.]

[Update 1.b.9 (3:41 pm):  Inky made it and they go to 18.]

[Update 1.b.10 (3:46 pm):  From the right side of the fairway to a front-right pin, Inky just carries her iron far enough to stay on top of the shelf guarding the front of the green.  Not as extreme as on 16, but the bank kept her shot from bouncing forward right to the pin.  She’s on the fringe.]

[Update 1.b.11 (3:47 pm):  Pornanong uses the shelf past the pin to bring her 8-iron back to about 8 feet.  Great shot!]

[Update 1.b.12 (3:55 pm):  Inky can’t get her birdie try to the hole.  She’s in for par.  Pornanong needs to 2-putt to win the match.  Rolled it 18 inches by.  Conceded.  Pornanong wins 1-up.]

3. Ariya Jutanugarn vs. Pernilla Lindberg

Pernilla won the 1st hole and remains 1-up through 3.

[Update 1.c.1 (1:11 pm):  Pernilla won the par-4 5th and is now 2-up through 6.]

[Update 1.c.2 (2:03 pm):  Pernilla won 7 and 10 to go 4-up.]

[Update 1.c.3 (2:22 pm):  Pernilla is now 5-up with 7 holes to play after winning 11.]

[Update 1.c.4 (2:35 pm):  Pernilla is now dormie and putting from the fringe on 13 to win the match.  6 inches short.  Ariya has to make her putt to extend the match.]

[Update 1.c.5 (2:37 pm):  Pernilla wins 6&5.  Now Sweden has 9 points.]

4. Carlota Ciganda vs. Na Yeon Choi

Carlota won the 1st hole and remains 1-up through 2.

[Update 1.d.1 (1:11 pm):  Carlota is taking it to NYC, with wins on 3, 4, and 5 to go 4-up.]

[Update 1.d.2 (2:04 pm):  Carlota won 6 to go 5-up and 9 to go 6-up.]

[Update 1.d.3 (2:22 pm):  Carlota is 6-up with only 8 left to play.]

[Update 1.d.4 (2:26 pm):  Carlota is dormie with 7 to play!]

[Update 1.d.5 (2:41 pm):  NYC misses a makeable birdie putt and concedes Ciganda the shorter birdie putt.  Ciganda wins 8&6.  Spain now has 9 points.]

5. Sakura Yokomine vs. So Yeon Ryu

So Yeon won the 1st hole and Sakura the 2nd, so they’re all-square through 2.

[Update 1.e.1 (1:12 pm):  Sakura won the par-3 3rd and is 1-up through 4.]

[Update 1.e.2 (2:05 pm):  Sakura is now 1-up through 8.]

[Update 1.e.3 (2:25 pm):  Sakura is now 2-up through 9.]

[Update 1.e.4 (2:56 pm):  So Yeon won 10, but got her approach shot buried in a bunker on the par-5 12th and barely got it out; anyway, Sakura eagled the hole anyway to go back 2-up.]

[Update 1.e.5 (2:58 pm):  Hold on.  They updated the scoreboard.  So Yeon won 10 and 11 to briefly bring the match to all-square.  So Sakura’s eagle only puts her 1-up.]

[Update 1.e.6 (3:07 pm):  So Yeon put it just past pin-high after Sakura went over on the par 3, but after a fantastic chip and a So Yeon miss, Sakura has 3 feet to halve the hole.  She missed it right.  I’ve seen that miss several times the last few days.]

[Update 1.e.7 (3:14 pm):  After So Yeon used the left bank on the 14th green to put a 4-hybrid about 25 feet past the pin, Sakura took it just right of the pin and left it about 10 feet away for birdie.  Great match!]

[Update 1.e.8 (3:35 pm):  Nice 2-putt save by So Yeon after “a rush of blood to her head” on the birdie try.  Wonder why they didn’t show the birdie attempts on the coverage?]

[Update 1.e.9 (3:42 pm):  Sakura puts it right in the middle of the 15th green.  So Yeon was much closer to the green, but her approach didn’t hold, either, and she ended up about 2 feet farther from the hole than Sakura.]

[Update 1.e.10 (3:48 pm):  Both make routine 2-putts.  Now they’re heading into the 16th, where So Yeon made one of the most important birdies of her life last night!]

[Update 1.e.11 (4:00 pm):  So Yeon goes for the green in 2 and just carries it to the top of the shelf, right in the same neck that blocked Lexi twice yesterday.  She’s on the fringe with an eagle putt ahead of her.]

[Update 1.e.12 (4:02 pm):  Yokomine laid up just into the left rough.  With the pin back, she had plenty of room to bounce it up to the green, but she just carried it too far and it went to the back fringe or 1st cut.]

[Update 1.e.13 (4:06 pm):  Amazing lag from So Yeon from maybe 80 feet almost went in.  Easy birdie after all!]

[Update 1.e.14 (4:07 pm):  Can Sakura bring the magic again on this chip?  Nope.  So Yeon is 1-up with 2 to play.]

[Update 1.e.15 (4:10 pm):  Dammit, So Yeon put it in the water on 17.  Don’t get me wrong, I want Sakura to win, but I want it through great shots.  Oh well, Sakura guarded so much against the pond she went left of the cart path into the dining area!  So Yeon’s still in this hole!]

[Update 1.e.16 (4:15 pm):  Yokomine did what she had to, lofting it over the trap and letting it roll out to the edge of the green.  She has about 30 feet for par and So Yeon has about 8 for bogey.]

[Update 1.e.17 (4:16 pm):  Maybe some more magic for Sakura here?  She needs it, as she’s showing So Yeon the line on her par attempt.  Just missed it, right.  Now the pressure’s on So Yeon to halve the hole and become dormie heading into 18.]

[Update 1.e.18 (4:17 pm):  So Yeon’s taking a long look.  HUGE putt for her!]

[Update 1.e.19 (4:17 pm):  So Yeon’s drive was leaking right but stayed at the edge of the fairway.  Nervous moment as the creek was only a few yards right of where she ended up.  Sakura got almost no roll on her drive; she’s in the right side of the fairway.]

[Update 1.e.20 (4:30 pm):  Sakura hit a nice shot from about 150 out, putting it maybe 8 feet past the pin on 18.  So Yeon’s approach went a little longer and a little lefter.  She’ll have about 20 feet to close out the match.]

[Update 1.e.21 (4:38 pm):  Can’t believe Golf Channel didn’t show So Yeon’s lag.  She’s in for 4.  So Korea will get 2 points if Sakura misses and each team will get 1 if she makes.  She just missed on the left side.  So Yeon wins 1-up.]

6. Beatriz Recari vs. Mikaela Parmlid

Beatriz and Mikaela halved the 1st hole, so they’re all-square through 1.

[Update 1.f.1 (1:13 pm):  Beatriz won the 2nd and 3rd and is 2-up through 4.]

[Update 1.f.2 (2:06 pm):  Beatriz won 5, Mikaela won 6, and Beatriz won 8 to go back to 3-up.]

[Update 1.f.3 (2:23 pm):  Beatriz is now 4-up with 9 holes to go.]

[Update 1.f.4 (3:04 pm):  Mikaela wins 11 to get back to 3-down.]

[Update 1.f.5 (3:10 pm):  2 in a row for Mikaela!  Only 2-down now with 6 to play.]

[Update 1.f.6 (3:51 pm):  Too bad!  Parmlid can’t get the 18-foot par putt to drop to halve the 14th.  Back to 3-down.]

[Update 1.f.7 (4:22 pm):  Parmlid couldn’t make the 6-footer on the par-5 16th to extend the match.  Recari wins 3&2.]

The remaining matches have not yet completed a hole as of the 1st update.]

[Update 2 (1:14 pm):  See above for updates on matches already in progress at last update!

7. Mamiko Higa vs. Anna Nordqvist

Anna won the 3rd to go 1-up through 3.

[Update 2.a.1 (2:07 pm):  Mamiko won 4 and 5 to go one-up, but Anna brought it back to all-square by winning 7.]

[Update 2.a.2 (2:20 pm):  Anna makes it 2 holes in a row to go 1-up through 8.]

[Update 2.a.3 (2:49 pm):  Mamiko won 9 but couldn’t sink a 12-footer to halve 10.  Nordqvist is still 1-up.]

[Update 2.a.4 (3:01 pm):  Great putt by Nordqvist on 11 for birdie to go 2-up.]

[Update 2.a.5 (3:36 pm):  Another great mid-range putt from Nordqvist for another win, this one on 12.  She’s 3-up.]

[Update 2.a.6 (3:44 pm):  Just when you thought she might be on the ropes, Mamiko makes a 20-footer for birdie on the par-3 13th to go back to 2-down.]

[Update 2.a.7 (3:59 pm):  Anna’s too much for Higa–and probably anyone–today.  With Higa in the bunker on 14, Anna calmly bounces 1 in to 8 inches.  Higa needs to make like Ai-sama just to halve the hole.]

[Update 2.a.8 (4:10 pm):  1st tentative stroke I’ve seen today from Anna, but she halves the hole and goes dormie with 3 to play.]

[Update 2.a.9 (4:33 pm):  Anna had 2 putts from 10 feet on the fringe to win the match, and she cozied the 1st right up there.  She wins 3&2.]

8. Belen Mozo vs. Moriya Jutanugarn

They’re all-square through 2.

[Update 2.b.1 (2:07 pm):  Moriya won 4 and 6 and Belen won 5, so Moriya is 1-up.]

[Update 2.b.2 (2:28 pm):  Belen won 7 and 8 to go 1-up.]

[Update 2.b.3 (2:44 pm):  A par is enough for Mozo to make it 3 in a row.  She’s 2-up through 9.]

[Update 2.b.4 (2:52 pm):  Nice shot and nice bounce for Moriya on 10.  Let’s see if she can make the 6-footer.]

[Update 2.b.5 (3:11 pm):  Moriya made it on 10 and then Belen missed a makeable 10-footer on 11, so Belen remains 1-up.]

[Update 2.b.6 (3:49 pm):  Belen makes a tap-in birdie on 12 to go 2-up.]

[Update 2.b.7 (3:53 pm):  After a lot of discussion, Belen goes to the back-left of the pin on 13.]

[Update 2.b.8 (4:04 pm):  Nice lag from Mozo on 13 to halve the hole.]

[Update 2.b.9 (4:47 pm):  Golf Channel’s been ignoring this match until they got to 16 and because I had to talk to a man about a tree (literally), I’m still behind on the DVR, so haven’t looked online to see the results.  They finally realized that Belen can clinch it for Spain and showed her hitting a good lay-up on the par-5 16th.  She’s 2-up and Moriya needs to make something happen!  She backs off from her fairway wood.  She restarts her routine and then lands it too far short of the top of the bank, so she rolls back down the hill.  If Belen can get up and down, she not only wins the hole and the match, but also the crown!]

[Update 2.b.10 (4:49 pm):  Nice approach from Belen, hitting it just past the pin and spinning it enough to stop it before it ran down to where Yokomine ended up on this hole earlier.]

[Update 2.b.11 (4:50 pm):  Great pitch from Moriya.  Now it’s a putting contest.]

[Update 2.b.12 (4:52 pm):  Mozo sinks it!!!  Now Moriya needs to make hers to extend the match.]

[Update 2.b.13 (4:54 pm):  Moriya misses low side.  Mozo wins 3&2.  The crown is Spain’s!]

[Update 2.b.14 (4:58 pm):  When you think about how high was on day 1 and how low they were on day 2 after Team USA swept them, the way they played on the weekend is even more impressive.  Carlota destroying NYC really set the tone for them today and Beatriz and Belen responded against opponents they knew they had a good chance to beat.  Bottom line is they did what they had to do.  Great job!]

9. Mika Miyazato vs. Onnarin Sattayabanphot

They’re all-square through 2.

[Update 2.c.1 (2:08 pm):  Mikan won 4 and 5 and is 2-up through 6.]

[Update 2.c.2 (2:27 pm):  Mikan wins 7 to go 3-up.]

[Update 2.c.3 (2:38 pm):  Nice putt on 8 by Onnarin to get back to 2-down.]

[Update 2.c.4 (3:30 pm):  Mikan sticks it on 11 to tap-in range.]

[Update 2.c.5 (3:33 pm):  Onnarin halves the hole with a fantastic 20-footer for birdie!]

[Update 2.c.6 (4:12 pm):  Thought Mikan had the birdie putt from the back fringe on 13, but it veered left on the last roll.]

[Update 2.c.7 (4:13 pm):  Onnarin has about a 5-footer to save par and she makes it dead-center, halving the hole.  She’s still 2-down with 5 to play.]

[Update 2.c.8 (4:32 pm):  Mikan’s birdie try on 14 seemed to wobble its way around the hole.]

[Update 2.c.9 (4:36 pm):  Yikes.  Mikan missed her tap-in to fall back to 1-up.]

[Update 2.c.10 (4:51 pm):  Mikan has a 4-footer to win 15.  Hits the right corner of the cup and spins out.  Still 1-up, now with 3 to play.]

[Update 2.c.11 (5:03 pm):  Great approach by Mikan on 16.  She’s in that same range she’s missed from the last 2 holes, but this time for birdie.]

[Update 2.c.12 (5:07 pm):  Onnarin took a run at her birdie putt, assuming Mikan will make hers.  Now if she misses the comebacker Mikan won’t have to putt.  Onnarin makes the 4-foot par putt, though.  Can she dodge a 3rd bullet in a row?  Mikan’s little water bottle ritual is getting a lot of humorous commentary the last few holes!  She makes it and goes dormie with 2 to play.]

[Update 2.c.13 (5:14 pm):  Onnarin concedes a long par putt to Mikan on 17.  Mikan wins 3&1.]

10. Ai Miyazato vs. Azahara Munoz

Aza won the 1st hole.]

[Update 2.d.1 (2:09 pm):  Ai-sama won 4 and 5 to go 1-up.]

[Update 2.d.2 (2:30 pm):  Aza won 7 to square up the match.]

[Update 2.d.3 (3:02 pm):  Great 12-footer by Aza to halve 9.  Still all-square.]

[Update 2.d.4 (3:37 pm):  Aza sticks it on 11!  Pressure’s on Ai-sama!  She gets it in birdie range–maybe 8 feet short right of the cup.]

[Update 2.d.5 (3:40 pm):  Yikes, both players missed!  Ai-sama must feel like she dodged a bullet.]

[Update 2.d.6 (4:07 pm):  Ai-sama didn’t miss the tap-in for birdie on 12, so she’s 1-up!]

[Update 2.d.7 (4:18 pm):  Fantastic 15-footer for birdie by Aza.  Back to all-square through 13 now.]

[Update 2.d.8 (4:43 pm):  Aza made a nice try from about 20 feet on 14.  Looked good all the way but rolled about 2 feet by the cup.]

[Update 2.d.9 (4:59 pm):  Aza made a great birdie on 15, again from medium range, right after finding out her team had won the crown.  She’s 1-up with 3 to play.]

[Update 2.d.10 (5:01 pm):  Great drive by Aza on 16, dead center.  Good one from Ai-sama, to the right side of the fairway.]

[Update 2.d.11 (5:04 pm):  Bad lay-up by Ai-sama with a fairway wood.  Deep in the right rough.]

[Update 2.d.12 (5:09 pm):  Ai-sama’s 121 out with Aza in perfect position.  The rough closed her club face and the ball rolled into the front-left trap.  Munoz is about half the distance from the hole and puts it about 2 feet outside where Mikan had left hers.  Munoz can win the match on this hole.]

[Update 2.d.13 (5:11 pm):  After a bad bunker shot, Ai-sama rolls in the 25-footer to make a huge par save.  Rueful smile and raised eyebrows from Ai-sama say it all.  Big let-down.  I’ll bet she’s hoping Aza makes the putt.]

[Update 2.d.14 (5:12 pm):  Aza’s putt rolled by the right edge of the cup at a snail’s pace.  They halve the hole and Aza remains 1-up with 2 to play.  Sorry, she would have been dormie if she had made it.]

[Update 2.d.15 (5:18 pm):  Good shot by Aza, landing it front-left on the green and letting it roll out to almost pin high.  Not a good shot by Ai-sama, leaving it on the front-right fringe.  The atmosphere here would be totally different if Sakura could have put her approach on 17 on the green, eh?]

[Update 2.d.16 (5:21 pm):  Good speed, bad line for Ai-sama.  3 feet right.  Aza has maybe 20 feet to win the hole and the match.  18 inches short.  Ai-sama concedes and Aza doesn’t.  Wonder if Ai-sama will be concentrating on this one.  Nope.  Aza wins 2&1.]

[Update 3 (1:19 pm):  At times, I’ll try to sum up where the teams currently stand.

Japan (8): up in 1, all-square in 1, down in 2
Spain (7): up in 2, all-square in 1, down in 1
Sweden (7): up in 1, down in 3
Thailand (7): up in 1, all-square in 2, down in 1
Korea (6): up in 1, down in 3

Wish they had flags by the players’ names on the scoreboard!]

[Update 4 (2:11 pm):  Here’s how the teams stand right now:

Japan (8): up in 3, all-square in 1
Spain (7): up in 2, all-square in 1, down in 1
Sweden (7): up in 1, all-square in 1, down in 2
Thailand (7): up in 2, down in 2
Korea (6): up in 1, down in 3

Can’t wait for the tv coverage to start!]

[Update 5 (2:32 pm):  Here’s how the teams stand right now:

Japan (8): up in 2, all-square in 2
Spain (7): up in 3, all-square in 1
Sweden (7): up in 1, all-square in 1, down in 2
Thailand (7): up in 1, down in 3
Korea (6): up in 1, down in 3

K, it’s tv time!]

[Update 6 (2:40 pm):  Here’s how the teams stand right now:

Sweden (9): won 1, all-square in 1, down in 2
Japan (8): up in 2, all-square in 2
Spain (7): up in 3, all-square in 1
Thailand (7): up in 1, down in 2, lost 1
Korea (6): up in 1, down in 3

Tightening up!]

[Update 7 (2:43 pm):  Here’s how the teams stand right now:

Spain (9): won 1, up in 2, all-square in 1
Sweden (9): won 1, all-square in 1, down in 2
Japan (8): up in 2, all-square in 2
Thailand (7): up in 1, down in 2, lost 1
Korea (6): up in 1, down in 2, lost 1

Tightening up!]

[Update 8 (2:54 pm):  Here’s how the teams stand right now:

Spain (9): won 1, up in 2, all-square in 1
Sweden (9): won 1, up in 1, down in 1, lost 1
Japan (8): up in 2, all-square in 1, down in 1
Korea (8): won 1, down in 2, lost 1
Thailand (7): up in 1, down in 2, lost 1

Tightening up further!]

[Update 9 (3:57 pm):  Here’s how the teams stand right now:

Spain (9): won 1, up in 2, all-square in 1
Sweden (9): won 1, up in 1, down in 1, lost 1
Thailand (9): won 1, down in 2, lost 1
Japan (8): up in 1, all-square in 2, down in 1
Korea (8): won 1, all-square in 1, lost 2

Tightening up even further!]

[Update 10 (4:23 pm):  Here’s how the teams stand right now:

Spain (11): won 2, up in 1, all-square in 1
Sweden (9): won 1, up in 1, lost 2
Thailand (9): won 1, down in 2, lost 1
Japan (8): up in 1, all-square in 1, down in 2
Korea (8): won 1, up in 1, lost 2

It’s looking like Spain right now!]

[Update 11 (4:35 pm):  Here’s how the teams stand right now:

Spain (11): won 2, up in 1, all-square in 1
Sweden (11): won 2, lost 2
Thailand (9): won 1, down in 2, lost 1
Japan (8): up in 1, all-square in 1, down in 1, lost 1
Korea (8): won 1, up in 1, lost 2

It’s still looking like Spain!]

[Update 12 (4:39 pm):  Here’s how the teams stand right now:

Spain (11): won 2, up in 1, all-square in 1
Sweden (11): won 2, lost 2
Korea (10): won 2, lost 2
Thailand (9): won 1, down in 2, lost 1
Japan (8): up in 1, all-square in 1, lost 2

It’s more and more looking like Spain!]

[Update 13 (4:55 pm):  Here’s how the teams stand right now:

Spain (13): won 3, all-square in 1
Sweden (11): won 2, lost 2
Korea (10): won 2, lost 2
Thailand (9): won 1, down in 1, lost 2
Japan (8): up in 1, all-square in 1, lost 2

It’s Spain!]

[Update 14 (5:15 pm):  Here’s how the teams stand right now:

Spain (13): won 3, all-square in 1
Sweden (11): won 2, lost 2
Korea (10): won 2, lost 2
Japan (10): won 1, down in 1, lost 2
Thailand (9): won 1, lost 3

They’re just playing for position now!]

[Update 15 (5:22 pm):  Here are the final results:

Spain (15): won 4
Sweden (11): won 2, lost 2
Korea (10): won 2, lost 2
Japan (10): won 1, lost 3
Thailand (9): won 1, lost 3

Congratulations to Team Spain!]

International Crown Saturday: Either Team USA or Team ROK Won’t Be Playing for the Crown Tomorrow

It’s playoff time in the International Crown!  To see how we got to the point where Team USA and Team ROK are in a playoff for the 5th and last spot in Sunday’s singles play, check out my play-by-play post.  Either the #1 or #2 seed will be out of the race for the crown in a few minutes.  Who will it be?  Time to go back to not-quite-live-blogging!

[Update 1 (7:18 pm):  Here’s the deal with the playoff:  they switch to hi-lo, where both balls count, and play until somebody wins.]

[Update 2 (7:21 pm):  Correction, it’s only hi-lo in the sense that if the low balls tie, the high ball loses the match.]

[Update 3 (7:22 pm):  As expected, it’s Inbee Park and So Yeon Ryu vs. Lexi Thompson and Cristie Kerr.  They’ll start on the par-5 16th.]

[Update 4 (7:28 pm):  Team USA has the honors.  Kerr puts her drive in the right-center of the fairway.  Lexi puts hers about 20 yards past Cristie.  Ryu puts hers about 10 yards and a little right of Cristie’s.  Inbee hits it low and straight, but maybe 20 yards shy of So Yeon.]

[Update 5 (7:34 pm):  Inbee lays up even with trap on the right side of the fairway.  So Yeon goes for the green but flies it right into the neck’s hill guarding the front of the green.  Cristie tries to draw a 5-wood in and it kicks off the backstop at the back of the green hard left and roll back to the front-middle-left of the green.  Lexi has a 5-iron and lands maybe an inch short of the top of the bank, almost hangs there, but rolls back down to where she was earlier in the day.]

[Update 6 (7:35 pm):  Looks like Lexi will get to chip before So Yeon.  Let’s see what Inbee can do with her approach.]

[Update 7 (7:36 pm):  From 70 yards, she spins one back to maybe 7 feet past the pin.]

[Update 8 (7:38 pm):  Lexi decides to putt it and barely makes it past the top of the hill and maybe makes it to the edge of the fringe.  Cristie’s next.]

[Update 9 (7:40 pm):  Let’s see if Cristie can hit as nice a lag here and now as she did a little while ago.  Almost as nice.  Maybe 3 feet for birdie.]

[Update 10 (7:41 pm):  So Yeon is looking to bump a wedge up the hill.  Nice touch, maybe 3 feet by the hole on the high side.]

[Update 11 (7:43 pm):  Lexi has a longer birdie try than Inbee.  But it’s uphill.  After everyone who’s allowed to looks at it, Lexi putts and has it a tiny bit left the whole way.  If Inbee and So Yeon can both make their putts, they defeat Lexi and Cristie!]

[Update 12 (7:46 pm):  They’re taking a long time to look at Inbee’s putt.  She puts it in the left-center of the cup with perfect speed!  Now Cristie has to match Inbee’s birdie.  Dead center for Cristie.  Up to So Yeon to seal the deal now.]

[Update 13 (7:47 pm):  And she makes it.  Team ROK knocks out Team USA!]

[Update 14 (7:48 pm):  Cristie is a great teammate.  She’s absolutely right that Lexi’s par was not the problem.  Day 1 was.]

[Update 15 (7:54 pm):  The playoff was designed for a fast resolution, but I’m wondering about other formats.  The teams tied, so why not send out all players on each team out in singles matches?]

[Update 16 (7/27/14, 5:34 pm):  If you’re not reading Staying in the Short Grass, you should.  Here’s an example of why!]

International Crown Saturday: The Plot Thickens

All the matches are under way on day 3 of the International Crown and already there have been fireworks galore!  Check back here for updates throughout the afternoon and evening.  And feel free to check out Ron Sirak’s and Randall Mell’s twitter feeds as they’re live-tweeting this thing!

Sweden vs. Australia

Anna Nordqvist has birdied 4 of her 1st 6 holes to lead teammate Caroline Hedwall (2 birdies) to a 2-up lead on Minjee Lee (2 birdies) and Karrie Webb (1 birdie).

Pernilla Lindberg and Mikaela Parmlid have picked up right where they left off, with 4 team birdies in the 1st 5 holes to go 2-up on Katherine Kirk and Lindsey Wright.

[Update 1 (2:06 pm):  Hedwall birdies the 7th to bring Sweden’s A-team 3-up.]

[Update 5 (2:14 pm):  Nordqvist birdied the par-4 7th; they’re now 4-up.  Kirk and Wright both bogeyed the 7th to fall 3-down.]

[Update 12 (2:53 pm):   Lindberg birdies 9 to bring her team to 4-up!]

[Update 21 (3:25 pm):  Hedwall just misses eagle on the par-5 12th with a fantastic sand shot, while Lee leaves her 20-foot eagle attempt 6 inches right of the hole.  Still a 4-up lead there.]

[Update 26 (3:33 pm):  Parmlid made her 3rd birdie of the day and Kirk couldn’t follow it up, so Team Sweden is now 5-up!]

[Update 42 (3:56 pm):  Ouch, GC is showing Wright and Kirk’s approaches on 12 and reminding us all this is where things started to go bad for them yesterday.]

[Update 43 (3:58 pm):  Forgot to mention Lindberg birdied 12, so she and Parmlid are 6-up.  I really thought Kirk and Wright would be stronger than Sweden’s B-team before the week started!]

[Update 46 (4:06 pm):  Parmlid and Lindberg played their last 31 holes in -16 and win 7&5 to get 2 points for Team Sweden!]

[Update 47 (4:09 pm):  Webb and Lee have to win out to force a halve in the match and then they need Team Japan to sweep Team Korea, but even then I think the tie-breaker is the original seeding, so it looks to me like Australia has been eliminated.]

[Update 50 (4:13 pm):  Nordqvist has a birdie putt to win the match, but it rolls 3 feet by after Hedwall failed to make her par save.]

[Update 52 (4:17 pm):  It’s automatic for Nordqvist and they win 4&3.  Sweden finishes pool play with 7 points.  They now lead Pool B.]

Spain vs. Taiwan

Azahara Munoz and Carlota Ciganda have combined for 2 birdies in the 1st 3 holes against Ya Ni Tseng and Phoebe Yao and won the par-5 4th when the Taiwanese team both bogeyed it.  They are now 3-up.

Meanwhile, Teresa Lu started eagle-birdie but she and Candie Kung are only 1-up on Beatriz Recari and Belen Mozo, as Mozo responded with a birdie on the par-3 3rd.

[Update 2 (2:07 pm):  Spain’s A-team is now 4-up through 5 as they dropped a pair of birdies on the par 4.]

[Update 6 (2:15 pm):  Aza has made her 2nd birdie in a row to bring her team 5-up!]

[Update 7 (2:17 pm):  Recari birdied the par-4 5th to bring their match all-square.]

[Update 14 (3:08 pm):  Wow!  Munoz and Ciganda are now 6-up through 9 after Yao couldn’t save par from 12 feet.]

[Update 18 (3:17 pm):  Great approach by Lu to a tough pin on #9.]

[Update 22 (3:26 pm):  Lu follows it up with a fine putt to bring her team to 2-up.]

[Update 27 (3:35 pm):  Wow!  Great approach by Ciganda on 11–pulled the string and that’s what kept it from being an eagle!]

[Update 31 (3:39 pm):  Lu knocks it stiff as Tseng’s putt goes all the way around the hole and refuses to drop.  So Tseng and Yao are down 7 with 7 to play while Lu and Kung have a chance to go 3-up.]

[Update 33 (3:43 pm):  Missed seeing Lu win the hole while we got to see a bit by the Jutanugarn sisters.  Cute, but how about showing a match that could eliminate Team Spain?  Maybe after the commercial break?]

[Update 34 (3:44 pm):  Lu did make her 2nd birdie in a row but Mozo matched it.  Match stays at 2-up.  Sorry, I misread the leaderboard in the last update!]

[Update 41 (3:55 pm):  Another great approach from Lu.  She’s playing like on Thursday!]

[Update 44 (4:02 pm):  Recari makes birdie on 11 and Lu follows it up.  Ya Ni birdies 12 and both Munoz and Ciganda miss makeable ones to close the the match, so they’re “only” 6-up with 6 to play.]

[Update 51 (4:15 pm):  Yao makes the must-make to force Munoz to win the match with a 7-footer.  Money!  Just like the Solheim Cup!  Now Munoz and Ciganda, 6&5 winners, can go cheer on Recari and Mozo.  Spain is tied with Thailand with 5 points right now.]

[Update 66 (4:44 pm):  Mozo and Recari birdied 12 to get back to 1-down!]

[Update 72 (4:56 pm):  Recari cleans up par on 14 to bring the match to all-square with 4 to go!]

[Update 78 (5:06 pm):  4 birdie tries on 15.]

[Update 84 (5:15 pm):  No birdie for Recari.  Or anyone else.  Amazing we only got to see 1 putt on that hole!]

[Update 90 (5:30 pm):  Amazing pitch-in from heavy rough by Belen Mozo on 16!!!!  And great celebration with Beatriz!]

[Update 91 (5:31 pm):  Teresa Lu almost matched it from just off the green, but Mozo’s eagle brings them to 1-up with 2 to play.]

[Update 94 (5:37 pm):  3 on the green on 17, nobody super-close or super-far, but Recari’s on the stone border near the pond right.]

[Update 98 (5:43 pm):  Recari can’t get the tough up and down, so it’s going to be up to Mozo!]

[Update 99 (5:45 pm):  She can’t get the birdie, but she gets her par and forces Lu and Kung to make their putts to square the match.]

[Update 100 (5:46 pm):  No birdie for Teresa.]

[Update 108 (6:07 pm):  Wow, Mozo makes a long one to win the match 2-up, eliminate Taiwan, and move to the top of Pool A with 7 points!!!]

Korea vs. Japan

It’s pars galore as Inbee Park and So Yeon Ryu square off against the Okinawan giant-slayers, Mika Miyazato and Mamiko Higa.  They’re all-square through 3.

Na Yeon Choi and In-Kyung Kim dropped a birdie on Sakura Yokomine and Ai Miyazato on the very 1st hole, but the Japanese duo are used to coming from behind.  They’re 1-down through 2.

[Update 3 (2:08 pm):  Inbee Park made the 1st birdie of the day to lift her and So Yeon Ryu to 1-up.]

[Update 9 (2:20 pm):  Ryu birdies 5 to bring them 2-up.]

[Update 10 (2:41 pm):  The M&Ms respond with a pair of birdies on the par-3 6th to pull back to 1-down.]

[Update 17 (3:16 pm):  Looks like Ai-sama birdied the 7th to bring her and Yokomine all-square with NYC and Inky.]

[Update 20 (3:23 pm):  Park sinks a sweeping left-to-right 18-footer for birdie to take the 8th and bring her team 2-up.]

[Update 24 (3:31 pm):  Ouch–Yokomine missed a sliding downhiller 5-footer and they go 1-down to NYC and Inky.]

[Update 25 (3:32 pm):  Wow, great approach by Ryu on #9–maybe even better than Lu’s!]

[Update 30 (3:38 pm):  Ryu makes birdie to go 3-up.]

[Update 35 (3:47 pm):  Mikan pulls her approach short left of the green while Inbee pulls hers just past the pin on the green.]

[Update 45 (4:04 pm):  Yokomine eagles 10 and has the cutest reaction in the world!  NYC needs to jar it to halve the hole, but missed the green.  Inky takes her try and flies it a little past the pin.  The match is now all-square!]

[Update 49 (4:11 pm):  Higa couldn’t get her 16-footer to drop, so they lose the 11th to go 4-down with 7 to play.]

[Update 53 (4:19 pm):  Ai-sama hits it to a foot on 11.  This is about where she and Sakura came alive yesterday.  They’ll need a great push today to handle NYC and Inky!]

[Update 54 (4:23 pm):  Inky’s birdie try just slides by.  Ai-sama’s putt is conceded and they’re 1-up!]

[Update 58 (4:32 pm):  Higa with an eagle try from the left fringe on 12 breaks hard right and ends up 5 feet away.  Ryu has an eagle chance.]

[Update 59 (4:34 pm):  From the back fringe, Ryu leaves her 20-footer short and low, but closer than Mamiko.]

[Update 61 (4:35 pm):  Higa side-doors her birdie try–in!]

[Update 63 (4:38 pm):  Ryu answers it.  Still 4-up, now with 6 holes to go.]

[Update 65 (4:43 pm):  Higa uses the backstop on 13 and it rolls back almost all the way to the cup.  She’ll be conceded the birdie, so the pressure’s on Park and Ryu to answer.]

[Update 67 (4:49 pm):  Ryu answers with a delicate downhill 20 footer.  Behind them, Yokomine makes a 90-foot chip for eagle on 12!

[Update 68 (4:51 pm):  Then Sakura almost one-hands her finish and sticks it on 13!  Holy cow!]

[Update 71 (4:54 pm):  Inky responds by leaving it in tap-in range!]

[Update 74 (5:03 pm):  Ryu has 4 birdies in her last 5 holes.  Yokomine sinks her birdie putt on the right edge; good thing, b/c Inky really did have a tap-in.  Good halves all around!]

[Update 79 (5:08 pm):  Ryu just babies birdie try on 14.  Higa has a 3-footer to extend the match–and makes it.  Korea is dormie in the 1st match.]

[Update 82 (5:13 pm):  Great approach by NYC on 14.  9 feet for birdie!!]

[Update 86 (5:18 pm):  No F-in way!!!! Ai-sama holes out from bunker!  All of a sudden NYC needs to make her birdie try to avoid going 3 down!  And it just swerves right at the end….  Only 4 to play in this match.]

[Update 95 (5:39 pm):  Park and Ryu beat the Okinawan giant-slayers 4&3.  Just too much:  -7 through 15 holes!  Minutes later, Ai-sama has a putt from near the back fringe to win her match:  it stops right on line 2 feet short of the cup.]

[Update 97 (5:42 pm):  Whoa, maybe that’s 3 feet.  Looks longer after Sakura failed to make par.  But she knocks it in and they’re dormie.]

[Update 106 (6:03 pm):  Sorry, had to take a minute to wash some rice for dinner.  A lot easier for one cup than for three with The Full Metal Archivist, Onechan, and Imoto still in Japan for another month!  Speaking of Japan, isn’t it about time to see if they can close out their match?]

[Update 107 (6:06 pm):  Right on cue, Golf Channel goes to the 16th green.  And Yoko-meanie (sorry, Judy, 1st mispronounce of the day–then she goes to Yoko-mini!) just misses her birdie.  Nice mention of the Okinawa-centric nature of Team Japan.  Inky has a good birdie chance, about 12 feet, but it just veers off to the left in the last foot.  Now it’s up to NYC.]

[Update 109 (6:08 pm):  NYC can’t do it from the opposite side of the cup.  So Japan wins Pool B with 8 points and Korea has to go to the playoff for the last spot on Sunday.]

USA vs. Thailand

It’s pars all around on the 1st hole as Lexi Thompson and Cristie Kerr take on Moriya and Ariya Jutanugarn.

No scores in yet for the Stacy Lewis-Paula Creamer vs. Pornanong Phatlum-Onnarin Sattayabanphot match.

[Update 4 (2:10 pm):  Kerr birdied the par-4 2nd to bring her and Lexi 1-up, while Phatlum and Sattayabanphot both birdied the 1st to also go 1-up.]

[Update 8 (2:19 pm):  It’s birdies all around for Lewis, Creamer, Phatlum, and Sattayabanphot on 2 as they halve the hole.  Note:  Just found out from Golf Channel’s early coverage that Sattayabanphot snaked in a long one and Lewis matched it.]

[Update 11 (2:50 pm):  The Jutanugarns both bogey the par-5 4th to hand Kerr and Thompson a 2-up lead.]

[Update 13 (2:59 pm):  Nice stroke by Lexi on her 10-foot birdie putt to match the Jutanugarns’ birdie on the 5th!]

[Update 15 (3:09 pm):  Wow, sweet chip in by Sattayabanphot when it looked like Team USA would have 2 birdie putts to win the hole!]

[Update 16 (3:13 pm):  Stacy hit her 20-footer through the break and Paula just pulled her 7-footer enough for it to hit the corner of the cup and not fall.  Sattayabanphot and Phatlum go 2-up.]

[Update 19 (3:19 pm):  Lexi left a make-able downhill 10-footer a foot short in her bid to bring Team USA 4-up in their match.]

[Update 23 (3:28 pm):  Nice lag from the back of the green on the par-3 6th by Lewis.  Sattayabanphot has an uphill 8-footer and saves par.]

[Update 28 (3:36 pm):  Cristie’s putt broke the other way than Lexi’s, so now Ariya has a 16-foot chance to win the hole.  She blasted it by, so now the sisters will have to make some tough putts to halve the hole.]

[Update 29 (3:37 pm):  Moriya hits it through the break and doesn’t have an easy one for bogey.]

[Update 32 (3:41 pm):  No worries, as Ariya and Cristie clean up their pars.]

[Update 36 (3:48 pm):  Fantastic sand wedge from heavy rough by Lexi with the pressure on to about 16 feet by the pin.  Ariya does the same from a bit better lie to about 18 feet.]

[Update 37 (3:50 pm):  Stacy has a short downhiller for birdie to win the 7th and pull her and Paula within 1 hole of the Phatlum-Sattayabanphot team.  And she makes it!]

[Update 38 (3:52 pm):  With Moriya in for a bogey, Ariya tries to lag her putt but it rolls out 7 feet by the pin.  Now it’s Lexi’s turn:  and she hits the hole but the ball still rolls 6 feet by!  Now Cristie is closest with 4 feet for par.]

[Update 39 (3:53 pm):  Great putt by Ariya!  Now it’s Lexi’s turn.]

[Update 40 (3:54 pm):  Sweet follow-up by Lexi.]

[Update 46 (4:05 pm):  Big birdie putt by Paula on 8.  Phatlum hits it through the break and this match is now all-square!]

[Update 48 (4:10 pm):  Long birdie try from the back collar of the 9th green by Ariya ends up 1 inch to the right of the cup.  The hole is halved.]

[Update 55 (4:28 pm):  A pair of good birdie tries for Team USA on 10 while everyone needs to make tough pars saves on 9.  Cristie’s 20-foot try on 10 was a roll short and left, while Lexi has a 10-foot downhill sweeper for birdie, but can’t make it.  Halved.  Meanwhile, Phatlum saved par on 9 to keep their match at all-square.]

[Update 56 (4:30 pm):  Cristie hit a hybrid to the left corner of the fairway on 11 while Lexi puts an iron in the middle of the fairway.]

[Update 57 (4:31 pm):  Great explanation and visual of how Lexi went back to her old putting stance in 2013 and improved her putting as a result!]

[Update 60 (4:34 pm):  Moriya sticks one on 11!  Maybe she’s coming alive today!]

[Update 62 (4:37 pm):  Lexi answers it, about a foot closer to the pin!  Ariya is about 2 feet outside Moriya.  Cristie pulls her sand wedge about 12 feet left of the pin.]

[Update 64 (4:42 pm):  Cristie thought she had it, but it slid by.  Meanwhile, Phatlum sticks it inside other good shots on 10.  Ariya made her birdie try to put pressure on Lexi, but she also showed her the line a bit.  Looks like about 5 feet.  Money!  Another halve.  Still 2-up with 7 to go.]

[Update 67 (4:45 pm):  Paula uses the entire cup to force Phatlum to make her 3-footer.  Money.  Still all-square heading to the 11th tee.]

[Update 69 (4:52 pm):  Ariya just misses 12 short on her 2nd shot from a fairway bunker.  Judy Rankin points out it’s almost exactly where Yokomine just was.  Moriya puts her not far from where Ryu had put hers on the back fringe.]

[Update 70 (4:53 pm):  Announcers joking about Lexi having a 6-iron in instead of yesterday’s 7-iron.  It tracks right by the hole and stops about 3 feet away!!!]

[Update 73 (4:58 pm):  After Paula sticks it on 11 to 6 feet, Pornanong gets hers to about 9.]

[Update 75 (5:04 pm):  Cristie and Moriya make good birdie putts.  If Lexi can sink her eagle putt, Team USA goes 3-up.]

[Update 76 (5:04 pm):  Bang!  Lexi eagles 12 for the 2nd day in a row!]

[Update 77 (5:05 pm):  Phatlum makes a great birdie, but Paula got the read from her and…misses her birdie putt right.  Team Thailand is 1-up!!]

[Update 80 (5:09 pm):  The backstop wasn’t Cristie’s friend on 13.]

[Update 81 (5:12 pm):  It was for Lexi and the ball almost rolled back in the cup for a tap-in birdie.  Ariya pushed her approach.  Juli Inkster’s now talking about being Moriya’s LPGA mentor.  Wonder if she ever gave her any advice relevant to this situation?  “Mo” put it about 15 feet short right of the pin.]

[Update 83 (5:14 pm):  Whoa, Phatlum birdied 11 as Golf Channel goes to commercials to bring her team 1-up!]

[Update 85 (5:17 pm):  No birdie for Moriya.  4-down with 5 to play.]

[Update 87 (5:19 pm):  Phatlum hits 12 in 2 but Lewis uses the undulations and gets her 2nd to about 7 feet away!]

[Update 88 (5:27 pm):  Phatlum’s putt looks like 40 feet or more….  Described as downhill and sliding right.  Nice lag to 2 feet, right on line.  Now Paula will try to make her 25-footer to get the birdie in and show Stacy the line.  She burns the cup on the high side!  Now it’s up to Stacy to get this eagle!  She’s a very streaky hot putter, but she just hasn’t locked in this week yet.  Not anymore! Eagle to square the match!!]

[Update 89 (5:28 pm):  Paula sticks her 7-iron on 13 6 feet left of the pin.  Nice shot!]

[Update 92 (5:32 pm):  Stacy goes about 12 feet past pin high.  Pornanong, who beat Stacy in Dubai last December, hit it thin, right and long on the green.  Sattayabanphot can’t quite use the backstop to bring the ball as close as others have, but she has about 15 feet for birdie.]

[Update 93 (5:36 pm):  Moriya snakes in a long one on 14 to pull her sister within 3 holes with 4 holes to play.  Meanwhile, Phatlum’s snakes by the cup just left with near-perfect speed.]

[Update 96 (5:41 pm):  Stacy just can’t get the speed down on her birdie try, hitting it through the break.  Now it’s up to Paula to make her maybe 7-footer to win the hole.  And it tails off on the last roll….]

[Update 101 (5:48 pm):  Lots of good approaches on 14 and 15.  But Stacy dumps hers in the trap, reminiscent of her approach on 17 yesterday, as both Jerry Foltz and I thought at the same time.  Phatlum hits it the closest on 14.]

[Update 102 (5:52 pm):  Neither Ariya nor Moriya could make their putts, so it’s looking like Cristie and Lexi will go dormie.]

[Update 103 (5:53 pm):  Cristie Kerr is money!  I wrote that even before she made her 5-footer to take her team 3-up with 3 to play.]

[Update 104 (5:55 pm):  Paula’s maybe got a 15-footer.  Stops about 2 inches shy of the cup.  Can Thailand go 1-up?  It’s up to Phatlum.]

[Update 105 (5:56 pm):  Bang!  Never a doubt from the opposite side as Paula!  1-up with 4 to go.]

[Update 110 (6:10 pm):  So as the US-Thailand matches come down to the wire, Team USA would be in a playoff against Team ROK if the matches don’t change!]

[Update 111 (6:12 pm):  Phatlum sticks her approach on 15, just missing an eagle!!!!  Great chance to go 2-up in that crucial match as Team USA has one chance to match it with about a 15-footer for birdie.]

[Update 112 (6:14 pm):  Lewis can’t make the birdie and Team Thailand is 2-up with 3 to play!]

[Update 113 (6:17 pm):  Looks like Cristie and Lexi should close out Ariya and Moriya on 16.  Moriya flops it from the rough over the par 5 and lets it trickle down for an uphill birdie attempt.  Ariya’s above the hole in 3 after a tough chip position from short of the green.]

[Update 114 (6:19 pm):  Cristie just needs to lag her 25-footer and she did it to perfection.  Team USA wins the key match to ensure they’ll at least be in a playoff against Team ROK!]

[Update 115 (6:23 pm):  Wow, first Onnarin and then Paula hit terrible approaches on 16 when going for the green in 2 from the fairway.  Now it’s up to Stacy Lewis.  Lucky it stayed on the green after double crossing her approach to the lower left tier.]

[Update 116 (6:25 pm):  Pornanong layed up and didn’t hit a great approach.]

[Update 117 (6:31 pm):  Paula chopped it out from a terrible lie in the right rough and got it to the back tier.  Stacy leaves her–what, 80-footer?–about a foot short!  Amazing eagle try!!]

[Update 118 (6:32 pm):  Team ROK’s been waiting for a while.  Looks like Inbee and So Yeon will be carrying the flag in the playoff.]

[Update 119 (6:34 pm):  Phatlum got her par.  Sattayabanphot needs to make hers from the fringe (after an even better shot from the rough than Paula had).  It seemed to go airborne as it left the fringe for a fraction of a second and stayed barely left of the cup all the way.  Team USA 1 down with 1 to play.]

[Update 120 (6:37 pm):  Big approach shots coming up on the par-3 17th!  Here’s how the overall points stand for those teams we know are in:

8 Japan
7 Sweden, Spain

If Phatlum and Sattayabanphot hold on, Thailand will end up with 7 points.  And the USA and ROK would end pool play with 6.  If they halve, it’ll be Team USA with 7 and Thailand with 6.  If Team USA can win the last 3 holes in a row, they’ll tie Japan with 8 points!]

[Update 121 (6:41 pm):  Paula loses hers a little right but it lands on the fringe and bounces a little forward for a nice birdie chance.  Stacy hit her approach here yesterday in the water and ended up in about the same kind of position as Recari did a bit earlier today.  If either Phatlum or Sattayabanphot can stick it, the pressure’s really on Paula.  But Phatlum puts it in the water short right!  Now all the pressure’s on Onnarin!!!!  She’s speaking Japanese with her caddy, by the way!  OK, she put it in the back left corner, about 30 feet from the pin!]

[Update 122 (6:44 pm):  Good break for Stacy that the wire or whatever was up against her ball, so she got to remove it and replace her ball without any penalty.  She’s only about 20 feet from the pin, chipping off stone.  She’s gotta pop it out and hope!  But Sattayabanphot is away.]

[Update 123 (6:45 pm):  No, wait, it’s Stacy!  Oh, man, it checked up on her.  She’s got about 15 feet for par.  She kinda scraped it in instead of getting the ball clean.]

[Update 124 (6:47 pm):  Good putt by Onnarin, about 18 inches or so past the cup on the high side.  Paula needs to make it to win the hole!]

[Update 125 (6:49 pm):  Man, Paula’s putt dove at the end and she missed on the low side.  Sattayabanphot cleans up to bring Team Thailand dormie.]

[Update 126 (6:51 pm):  So Japan is guaranteed to be the top points-getter in pool play.  Now let’s see who’s got to face Park and Ryu in the playoff.]

[Update 127 (6:53 pm):  Nice drives by Paula and Stacy.  Phatlum outdrives Stacy.  Onnarin (who made the amazing putt to beat Ya Ni Yseng and Phoebe Yao team here yesterday) puts hers in the 1st left bunker.]

[Update 128 (7:00 pm):  Wouldn’t it be cool if Golf Channel had hired someone who speaks Korean (and others who speak other languages) to translate non-English conversations the mikes pick up?  Never mind.  What a great shot by Sattayabanphot to get hers to the front fringe!  Stacy misses the backstop and is about 25 feet above the pin.  Paula misses it by more and is about 10 feet further away than Stacy.  Pornanong misses the green long and left, with what looks like a bad lie.]

[Update 129 (7:02 pm):  Wow, after carrying her for a good part of the day, Pornanong is putting a heck of a lot of pressure on Onnarin in these last 2 holes!  But she makes up for her bad approach with a great pitch!  Maybe 3 feet for par?]

[Update 130 (7:09 pm):  Paula makes a good effort but can’t get it on the right line.  Onnarin is going to let Pornanong make what now looks like a 2-footer for par and she does (although she made her team nervous).  If Sattayabanphot can make her putt, this match is over.  Wow, her approach got much further onto the green than I thought it had!  She only has about 18 feet.  Nope.  Through the break.  Now it’s up to Stacy Lewis, the #1 player in the world to win the hole, halve the match, and force Thailand to face Korea in the playoff.]

[Update 131 (7:11 pm):  OK, Thailand’s in with 7 points.  New post for playoff coming right up!]

[Update 132 (7:11 pm):  Here’s the link!]

Ricoh Women’s British Open Sunday: Down to the Wire…

The final round of the Ricoh Women’s British Open is underway and early scoring is not pretty.

  • Ariya Jutanugarn took a 9 on the 1st hole, Harukyo Nomura suffered a 5-6-7 start, Brittany Lang opened with a double and 3 bogeys in her next 4 holes and Jeong Jang and Kristy McPherson started with 3-hole bogey trains.  So far, with half the field underway, Thidapa Suwannapura has the lone birdie on #1.
  • I wouldn’t put too much stock in the 1st completed rounds; most players would just want them over as quickly as possible.  So Becky Brewerton’s 85, Hee Young Park’s 79, Hannah Jun’s 77, Ji Young Oh’s 76, Lexi Thompson’s 75, and Valentine Derrey’s 74 are not necessarily bellwethers.  And yet, usually you play quicker when you take fewer strokes and these are professionals playing for money in still-benign conditions, so you’d think they’re not that much worse than average for the day.  We’ll see.
  • Alena Sharp and Ayaka Watanabe have been the only 2 players so far to shoot even-par 35s on the front.  Nobody has been under par for the entire 9, although amateur Emma Talley is -1 through 8.
More not-quite-live-blogging all morning!

[Update 1 (6:20 am):  Anna Nordqvist opened bogey-double, but has been -1 since.  Nomura is -2 over her last 13 holes and bogey-free since her awful start.  So there are some scoring opportunities out there in the middle of the round.  As usual, the par-5 6th is giving up a fair number of birdies.]

[Update 2 (6:24 am):  Talley parred 9 for the 1st 34 of the day.  Chella Choi made a rare par on 1 but followed it up with a triple on 2.  Ilhee Lee came in with a 79 and Austin Ernst with a 78.]

[Update 3 (6:25 am):  Mika Miyazato is E through 6, making her -4 over her last 40 holes.]

[Update 4 (6:28 am):  Alena Sharp already has 2 birdies on the back, but also a bogey and a double, so she needs a birdie on 18 for the 1st even-par round of the day.]

[Update 5 (6:30 am):  27-hole leader Ayako Uehara is +4 through her 1st 5 holes today, bringing her to +7 for the week.]

[Update 6 (6:32 am):  Suwannapura is +6 over her last 9 holes.  She hasn’t been able to follow up on her opening birdie as of yet.]

[Update 7 (6:33 am):  Sharp doubled 18 for a 75.  Still waiting for that 1st E round of the day.  Ayaka Watanabe is +1 with 3 holes to go.]

[Update 8 (6:38 am):  Par Watch continues.  Mikan bogeyed 7 to drop to +1.  Talley bogeyed 10 to fall to E.  Lee-Anne Pace is E through 8.]

[Update 9 (6:41 am):  Disaster Watch continues.  Beth Allen shot an 85, Vikki Laing an 80, Christina Kim a 77.]

[Update 10 (6:42 am):  Paula Creamer is E through 5.  Rikako Morita started bogey-birdie.]

[Update 11 (6:50 am):  Man, Pace bogeyed 9 for a 36.  Thought she’d have the 3rd 35 of the day on the front!]

[Update 12 (6:52 am):  Creamer has 2 birdies in a row and is -1 through 6.  Only 7th player of the day to make back-to-back birdies thus far!]

[Update 13 (6:53 am):  2 of her predecessors did it on 6 and 7, so maybe Creamer can be the 1st to make it 3 in a row!]

[Update 14 (6:55 am):  Nomura hung in there for a 76 after going +6 over her 1st 3 holes. Jee Young Lee shot a birdieless 79.]

[Update 15 (6:57 am):  Mikan doubles 8 to go to +3 on her day.  Xiyu Lin took an 8 on that hole and there have been plenty of doubles there already.]

[Update 16 (6:59 am):  Talley bogeyed 11, too.  Now +1 on her day.  Only 3 shots up on Georgia Hall for low amateur.  Hall has 2 birdies in a row with only the 18th left to play.]

[Update 17 (7:02 am):  Giulia Sergas has birdied 10 and 11 to fight back to +1 on her day.  Pace has bogeyed 9 and 10 to drop to +2.  Nordqvist now only +1 through 10 after +3 start on 1st 2 holes.  Creamer still only player under par thus far in her final round.]

[Update 18 (7:05 am):  I picked Lydia Ko to win this week.  She’s bogeyed her 1st 3 holes in a row to fall to +4.]

[Update 19 (7:07 am):  So Yeon Ryu pars 1 to stay at -1.  Still 13 players under par.]

[Update 20 (7:10 am):  Dori Carter posts 77.  Only 1 golfer has broken 75 thus far today!]

[Update 21 (7:13 am):  Alison Walshe matches Lexi’s 75.  Chella Choi +5 through her 1st 4 holes.]

[Update 22 (7:13 am):  Georgia Hall and Ayaka Watanabe match Derrey’s 74 for low rounds of the day thus far!]

[Update 23 (7:17 am):  Belen Mozo “only” +3 with 17 and 18 to play.  Can she make like Ji Young Oh on the last 2 holes and get the low round of the day?]

[Update 24 (7:19 am):  Ko got off her 3-hole bogey train.  Morita is on one right now.]

[Update 25 (7:22 am):  Hall finished at +9.  Talley is +6 with 5 to go.  Low am within reach….]

[Update 26 (7:25 am):  Ryu doubles 2 to drop to +1 on the week.  Hull’s par on 1 keeps it at 7 golfers under par right now.]

[Update 27 (7:27 am):  Amy Yang doubled 1 to drop to +1.  Stacy Lewis, Eun-Hee Ji, Beatriz Recari, Gwladys Nocera, and Mo Martin all bogeyed 1 to fall to E.]

[Update 28 (7:32 am):  Amelia Lewis doubled 1 to fall back to E.  Now 6 players under par.]

[Update 29 (7:34 am):  Here’s a crazy thought.  Laura Davies is “only” +5 with 7 to go.  If she goes on a closing birdie barrage, she could win this thing and earn those last 2 points she needs to make it into the LPGA Hall of Fame!]

[Update 30 (7:39 am):  Hull bogeys 2.  Now only 5 over par.]

[Update 31 (7:41 am):  Ahn doubles 1 to drop to -1.]

[Update 32 (7:42 am):  Creamer bogeys 9 to post 35 and drop to +3.  Talley still has only under-par round on front.]

[Update 33 (7:44 am):  Mozo posts 4th 74 of day.  Pornanong Phatlum “only” +3 with 2 to play.]

[Update 34 (7:46 am):  Disaster Watch continues.  45 for Ariya on front.  81 for Lin.]

[Update 35 (7:49 am):  Phatlum birdies 17 to move to +2.  Can she get low round of the day with birdie or better on 18?]

[Update 36 (7:50 am):  80 for Sarah Kemp a tough end to 2 weeks of pretty darn good golf.]

[Update 37 (7:51 am):  Pettersen doubles 1 to fall to -1.]

[Update 38 (7:52 am):  Granada doubles 2 to fall to E.  Only 4 under par now.]

[Update 39 (7:59 am):  Here’s the leaderboard as ESPN’s coverage starts:

Inbee Park -4 through 1
Shanshan Feng -3 through 1
Sun-Ju Ahn and Suzann Pettersen -1 through 1
Amy Yang E through 4
Julieta Granada E through 2

Time to talk to the ladies in Japan!]

[Update 40 (8:10 am):  Phatlum shoots 5th 74 of the day and is leader in the clubhouse at +8.]

[Update 41 (8:11 am):  Talley bogeys 16 to move to +7, 2-up on Hall for low amateur.]

[Update 42 (8:13 am):  Nordqvist +1 on the day with 3 to play, +6 overall.]

[Update 43 (8:14 am):  Davies +2 on her day with 4 to play, +5 overall.]

[Update 44 (8:15 am):  Creamer E on her day with 6 to play, +3 overall.]

[Update 45 (8:18 am):  Talley birdies 17 to move to +6!]

[Update 46 (8:19 am):  Inbee pulls 6-foot par save on 2 to fall to -3.]

[Update 47 (8:19 am):  Great approach by Ahn on 3 after 3 doubles in a row dating back to her penalty on 18 yesterday.]

[Update 48 (8:21 am):  Ji-Yai Shin birdies 9 to post 36 on front, +3 overall.]

[Update 49 (8:22 am):  Jessica Korda fights back after double on 2 with birdie on 7 to post 36 on front.  +2 overall.]

[Update 50 (8:25 am):  Carlota Ciganda birdies 2 of her last 4 holes to match Phatlum with 74/+8 finish.  Co-leader in clubhouse!]

[Update 51 (8:27 am):  Sergas +2/+7 heading into 18.]

[Update 52 (8:30 am):  Great lag by Inbee on 3.  Stays at -3]

[Update 53 (8:32 am):  Pettersen misses birdie chance.  Still 2 back.  Nobody else under par outside final group.]

[Update 54 (8:33 am):  Recari erased her double on 5 with birdies on 6 and 7.  +1.]

[Update 54 (8:34 am):  73 by Talley is low round of the day, just as her 34 on the front has been low round there.  She’s low amateur and leader in the clubhouse at +6.]

[Update 55 (8:36 am):  Laura Davies birdies 15 to move to +1/+4!]

[Update 56 (8:40 am):  Another pull from Park.  She’s now +2/-2.]

[Update 57 (8:40 am):  Nice sandie by Pettersen.  1 back.]

[Update 58 (8:41 am):  74 by Sergas tied for 2nd-best round of the day, but at +7 she’s 1 behind Talley.]

[Update 59 (8:42 am):  Dammit.  Dame Laura Davies bogeyed 16.  +2/+5.]

[Update 60 (8:44 am):  Ji-Yai Shin bounced back from a triple on 11 with a birdie on 12.  She’s now tied with Davies at +5.]

[Update 61 (8:45 am):  Sweet birdie by Feng on 5 gets her within 1 of Park. Watch out for Gwladys Nocera.  Her 36 on front puts her at +1 for the week, but she’s in rough on 10.]

[Update 62 (8:46 am):  Creamer’s got to make something happen on last 4 holes.  She’s E on day, +3 overall.]

[Update 63 (8:49 am):  Nocera missed long par chance at 10.  +2/+2.]

[Update 64 (8:50 am):  Amelia Lewis leaves eagle putt on 6 in heart, 6 inches shy.  Good birdie, though.]

[Update 65 (8:51 am):  Creamer bogeys 15 to drop to +1/+4.]

[Update 66 (8:52 am):  Anna Nordqvist birdies 18 for low round of the day, a 72 that leaves her at +5.  We have a new leader in the clubhouse!]

[Update 67 (8:54 am):  Great bounce for Feng on approach on par-5 6th.]

[Update 68 (8:55 am):  Korda bogeys 12 to go to +2/+3.]

[Update 69 (8:57 am):  Side-door birdie for Feng for 2nd in a row.  Tied at -2 with Park for lead.]

[Update 70 (8:58 am):  Birdie for Ahn gets her back to E, only 2 off lead!]

[Update 71 (8:59 am):  Great approach on 9 by Beatriz Recari!]

[Update 72 (9:00 am):  Great 3-wood by Park allows her to hit 6th in 2.]

[Update 73 (9:02 am):  Davies needs to birdie 18 to be solo leader in clubhouse.]

[Update 74 (9:03 am):  Angela Stanford birdies 11 to go back to +2/+2.]

[Update 75 (9:04 am):  Nice lag on eagle try by Inbee!  Good bunker shot from Feng a hole ahead.]

[Update 76 (9:05 am):  Pettersen’s putt from valley to left of 6 comes up about 20 feet short.]

[Update 77 (9:06 am):  Mo Martin’s solid 36 on front leaves her at E with 9 holes to go.  Great birdie putt by Pettersen!]

[Update 78 (9:08 am):  Feng missed par save on 7.  Park birdies 6 to take solo lead at -3.  Pettersen -2.  Feng -1.  Martin E after side-door par on 10.  Ahn also E.]

[Update 79 (9:09 am):  Great approach by Pettersen on 7!]

[Update 80 (9:10 am):  Nocera bogeys 11, Korda bogeys 13, Creamer bogeys 16–all 2nd in a row.  Too late for these kinds of mistakes.]

[Update 81 (9:13 am):  Erina Hara’s 75 makes her low Japanese golfer in the clubhouse at +7.  Rikako Morita at +6 with 6 to play, Ai Miyazato having terrible day, +9 through 11 and +10 overall.]

[Update 82 (9:15 am):  Pettersen missed another birdie attempt.  Martin hits 11 in regulation.  Ahn hits 8 in regulation.]

[Update 83 (9:15 am):  Park cans pressure putt to save par on 7.]

[Update 84 (9:17 am):  Charley Hull hanging tough, but bogeys 9 to drop to +3/+2.]

[Update 85 (9:18 am):  Nice 2-putt for Martin on 11, which she 4-putted yesterday.]

[Update 86 (9:19 am):  Korda birdies 14 to get back to +2/+3.  Great lag on 8 by Ahn.]

[Update 87 (9:21 am):  Mika Miyazato +7 in last 10 holes after going -4 over previous 40.]

[Update 88 (9:22 am):  Mina Harigae hangs in there for 75 to finish at +9.  She’s having a pretty good 2014!]

[Update 89 (9:24 am):  Pettersen chunked her wedge on 8, just like she did on 5, both times after great drives.  Frustrating!]

[Update 90 (9:26 am):  Great shot by Hull from effectively 225 yards out!]

[Update 91 (9:28 am):  Davies birdied 18 for a 73 that leaves her at +4.  New leader in clubhouse!]

[Update 92 (9:31 am):  Bogey on 8 by Park drops her back to -2.  Let’s see if Rikako Morita at +6 can make a move over the last 4 holes.]

[Update 93 (9:32 am):  Pettersen’s putt for par pulled badly from 3 feet.  She’s now -1 with Feng.  Mo Martin looking good at E with 6 to go.]

[Update 94 (9:33 am):  Morita birdies 15 to go to +5 for the week!]

[Update 95 (9:37 am):  Creamer goes bogey-bogey-double to go +5 over last 9 holes after fighting back to +2 for the week.]

[Update 96 (9:42 am):  Fantastic approaches by Pettersen and Park on 9.]

[Update 97 (9:43 am):  Stanford bogeyed 14 to drop to +3 on the week.  Coming back to Davies!]

[Update 98 (9:45 am):  Huge 9-foot birdie attempt for Inbee on 9 for 36.  Can she do it?  Bang!]

[Update 99 (9:46 am):  Nice birdie by Granada on 10.  She’s +4 on day, +2 overall.]

[Update 100 (9:55 am):  Martin +1 with 4 to play.]

[Update 101 (9:57 am):  Azahara Munoz finished birdie-birdie for 75 to join Nordqvist at +5.  Davies still leader in clubhouse with only 12 players ahead of her.]

[Update 101 (9:58 am):  Clutch par save by Stanford on 15 keeps her at +3 for the week.]

[Update 102 (9:59 am):  Inbee goes from bad to worse in heavy stuff left on #10!]

[Update 103 (10:03 am):  Julieta Granada’s ball was blown almost in a circle on 11 green.]

[Update 104 (10:05 am):  Inbee got out of the heavy stuff to front of #10 green, but left 100-footer 15 feet short right for bogey.]

[Update 105 (10:06 am):  Great save by Granada!  Now Amelia Lewis’s ball appeared to move on 11.]

[Update 106 (10:08 am):  Inbee’s putt got stopped by the wind and she has a tester for double.  Pettersen babied her par putt.  Now E.]

[Update 107 (10:09 am):  Nice bogey save by Amelia Lewis on 11.  Park stopped her putt for double at end of backswing!  Then she makes it.  Now -1, tied with Feng for lead.]

[Update 108 (10:12 am):  Davies now in top 10!]

[Update 109 (10:13 am):  Korda now tied with her at +4 after bogeying 17.]

[Update 110 (10:17 am):  Feng didn’t set putter on ground when ball moved and then makes 7-foot par save on 11.]

[Update 111 (10:18 am):  Great shot by Stacy Lewis on 14.  Can she get something going from +4?]

[Update 112 (10:19 am):  Great approach by Pettersen on 11!  Great par save by Granada on 12!]

[Update 113 (10:23 am):  More evidence (as if it’s needed!) that it’s tough out there:  80 by Chella Choi and 79s by Ji-Yai Shin and Jenny Shin today!]

[Update 114 (10:25 am):  Wind blowing Inbee’s chip on 11 farther away.  Korda hits 18’s back fringe in 2.  Can become leader in clubhouse with 1- or 2-putt.]

[Update 115 (10:27 am):  Rikako Morita was trying to become leader in clubhouse herself but she took a triple on 17.  Meanwhile, Park misses par save on 11.]

[Update 116 (10:27 am):  Great lag on 12 by Feng.]

[Update 117 (10:29 am):  Park loses lead with bogey on 11.  Ahn doubles 12 to fall to +4. Korda birdies 18 with fantastic 12-footer to finish at +3.  Mo Martin +1 with 2 to play.]

[Update 118 (10:32 am):  HUGE birdie by Julieta Granada at 13!  She’s now +1.]

[Update 119 (10:34 am):  Awesome bunker shot from Inbee on 12!]

[Update 120 (10:39 am):  Nice par saves by Inbee and Suzann on 12.  Great approach by Shanshan on 13.]

[Update 121 (10:43 am):  Nice approach on 17 by Martin.  Great wedge from behind the 14th green by Julieta Granada.  Good par by Feng on 13.]

[Update 122 (10:46 am):  Another money putt by Granada!  Great par!]

[Update 123 (10:47 am):  Nice green in reg from Shanshan on 14.  Also by Inbee on 13.]

[Update 124 (10:49 am):  Nice birdie by Stanford on 18 to join Korda at +3.  75 makes her co-leader in clubhouse.]

[Update 125 (10:50 am):  How tough was it out there today?  Ai Miyazato shot an 83 and Lydia Ko an 80!]

[Update 126 (10:51 am):  Erina Hara at +7 ends up being low Japanese golfer in field.]

[Update 127 (10:53 am):  Terrific chipped hybrid by Pettersen on 13.  Good par putt by Feng on 14.  Great birdie from 20 feet on 13 by Park!  Now tied for lead!]

[Update 128 (10:54 am):  Pettersen’s bogey save dives at end, taps corner, doesn’t fall.  Double moves her to +2.]

[Update 129 (10:56 am):  Mo Martin broke the ESPN feed as she rolled ball onto green in 2 and hit flagstick at speed it could have dropped!  Eagle putt coming up!]

[Update 130 (11:01 am):  Martin sinks eagle to tie Feng and Park for lead!  What a last hole–what a finish!  Her 72 is tied for low round of the day!]

[Update 131 (11:04 am):  Gotta give credit to Marina Alex for sinking that birdie putt right before Mo made her eagle.  Great +4 finish for her this week!]

[Update 132 (11:10 am):  Too bad for Amelia Lewis to take that triple on 15.  Feng sticks approach on 15.]

[Update 133 (11:12 am):  Somehow I missed Julieta’s bogey on 15.  Anyway, maybe having someone to chase rather than not fall back to as leader in  clubhouse will motivate last groups differently.]

[Update 134 (11:13 am):  Tentative stroke on 4-foot birdie try by Feng on 15 keeps Martin tied for lead.  Huge miss.]

[Update 135 (11:15 am):  83s wild for Japanese golfers today.  Ayako Uehara and Miki Saiki matched Ai-sama’s disastrous finish, Saiki with a walkoff 9.  Ugh.]

[Update 136 (11:20 am):  Missed Inbee’s bogey on 14.  She’s now E.  Great interview with Mo by BBC!]

[Update 137 (11:27 am):  Somehow Pettersen ended up in heavy stuff after 2nd shot on 15 and had to chop out to front of green.  Inbee was in great position and hit a great wedge on her 3rd shot, but hit her birdie putt through the break.  Pars for both.  Still 1 and 3 back of Martin and Feng.  Meanwhile, Shanshan pulled her approach on 16 and hit chip 10 feet left of pin.]

[Update 138 (11:32 am):  Feng misses par save to right.  Martin is alone under par.]

[Update 139 (11:37 am):  More big final round numbers from big names.  So Yeon Ryu and Beatriz Recari 79.  Stacy Lewis and Charley Hull 78.  Gwladys Nocera 77.  Eun-Hee Ji 76.  How great was Martin’s 72?!  What a different finish this would have been without her walkoff eagle!]

[Update 140 (11:38 am):  Bad 3-putts by Granada on 15 and 16 take a win out of the question for her.  How did Pettersen’s wedge not drop?!  Wind blowing in right direction….  Not gonna happen.]

[Update 141 (11:41 am):  Feng plays smart layup on 17.  Needs to get a wedge to the right level.  Good birdie try by Inbee on 16, but also hit it through the break.]

[Update 142 (11:43 am):  Pettersen needs to make an eagle and a birdie to catch Martin.  Let’s see if she can do what she did on moving day!]

[Update 143 (11:45 am):  Pettersen put it in the higher rough to the right.  Inbee needs to go -2 over her last 2 to pass Martin.  Crunch time!]

[Update 144 (11:47 am):  Looks to me like Shanshan is standing over her putts a little longer than usual and looking up during downstroke a little.  Not a good birdie try on 17.]

[Update 145 (11:47 am):  Feng needs to match Martin’s walkoff eagle to beat her.  Birdie to tie.]

[Update 146 (11:48 am):  Good lie but bad angle from right side on 17 for Park’s approach.]

[Update 147 (11:50 am):  80 by Amy Yang today.  Good drives by Sun-Ju and Shanshan on 18.]

[Update 148 (11:52 am):  Pettersen runs her 2nd on 17 into front-right bunker.]

[Update 149 (11:53 am):  Tough finish for Amelia Lewis, ends up with 80 to finish at +6.  Park’s approach bounds past pin.  Now she has to deal with edge of tier on her birdie try.]

[Update 150 (11:54 am):  Great shot from Pettersen from bunker gives her an uphill birdie try from about 8 feet.]

[Update 151 (11:56 am):  Ahn misses 18 to right.  Feng has 209 in.  Catches front-right bunker.]

[Update 152 (11:57 am):  Park misses 20-footer a few inches to right.]

[Update 153 (11:58 am):  Side-door birdie for Pettersen brings her within 2 of Martin.]

[Update 154 (11:59 am):  Park makes par putt.  Needs eagle to win, birdie to tie.]

[Update 155 (12:01 pm):  Feng’s sand shot checks up on her.  15 feet or so short.  Perfect drive by Pettersen on 18, but Park missed hers into heavy stuff right.]

[Update 156 (12:03 pm):  Feng put a good stroke on it, but missed 2 inches left.  She can’t win.]

[Update 157 (12:04 pm):  Ahn misses birdie putt to finish with a 79.  Shanshan finishes at E.]

[Update 158 (12:08 pm):  Inbee had trouble even identifying ball.  Hung up in grass short of bunker.  Pettersen has 191 to front with left-to-right helping wind.]

[Update 159 (12:09 pm):  Another front-right bunker for Pettersen.]

[Update 160 (12:12 pm):  Inbee had to chop out from a bad lie and put it in same bunker as Pettersen.  79 by Sun-Ju Ahn, 78 by Stacy Lewis.  How great is Martin’s 72 looking?!]

[Update 161 (12:14 pm):  Pettersen goes 1st from raked area.  Puts it 3 feet left of pin, but never had a chance.  Now it’s Inbee’s turn from pristine part of trap.  Not even close.  Martin wins!!!!!!]

[Update 162 (12:15 pm):  Another great interview from Martin.]

[Update 163 (12:21 pm):  Pettersen birdied to tie Feng for 2nd, 1 shot back of Martin.  Both shot 75s.  Inbee ended up with a 77 to finish 2 back.]

[Update 164 (12:22 pm):  Great to see T-Joh so happy for Mo!]

[Update 165 (12:26 pm):  Who would have thought Mo would be the American to make it 3 in a row for the USA in LPGA majors?!  Congrats!!!]

[Update 166 (12:29 pm):  I never saw this coming, I’ll tell you that.  I had Martin 27th among those without an LPGA victory at the start of this season and didn’t even put her in my top 40 of those without an LPGA major.  Amazing!]

[Update 167 (1:21 pm):  With her victory, Martin moves from #77 to #28 on my list of best performers in LPGA majors since 2000.]

[Update 168 (1:28 pm):  Mo-linkage via Tony Jesselli, Shane Bacon, and I’m sure more coming!]

[Update 169 (3:38 pm):  Stephanie Wei interviewed Martin and Feng.]

[Update 170 (6:47 pm):  Martin gets the Golf Babes treatment!]

Ricoh Women’s British Open Saturday: Fasten Your Seatbelts!

It’s moving day at Royal Birkdale and a lot’s been happening in the Ricoh Women’s British Open while we in the States have been sleeping!

  • Charley Hull started bogey-bogey to fall to +7 on the week, but responded with 8 birdies over her next 14 holes.  She bogeyed 17 and is now playing 18, which she has gone bogey-double on, both times with great saves.
  • Marina Alex has made 5 birdies in her 1st 12 holes and fallen back to E for the week with a bogey on 13.
  • Lydia Ko opened with a 4-birdie 32 to move back to +1.
  • Rikako Morita fired a 5-birdie 68 to fight back to +2 for the week.
  • Inbee Park has opened with a pair of consecutive birdies to move to -2 for the week.
So stay tuned.  I’ll be doing some not-quite-live blogging this moving day morning!

[Update 1 (7:26 am):  Add Stacy Lewis to the under-par crowd!  She birdied 5 to join Alex at E.  Meanwhile, Hull birdied 18 for a 66, the low round of the week!]

[Update 2 (7:31 am):  Nice 70 by Mika Miyazato!  She’s +4 on the week now.]

[Update 3 (8:21 am):  Got a call from the lovely ladies in Chiba!  Watching the coverage on DVR, so won’t update until I catch up to live.  Hope what happened to Ayako Uehara on the back yesterday when she started missing fairways doesn’t happen to Mo Martin today after she missed the 1st 2 fairways of her round….]

[Update 4 (9:30 am):  Glad to see Martin steadying the ship!  If Ahn were putting better, she’d be in the lead!  Ryu is looking like a champion!]

[Update 5 (9:31 am):  Ko parred out on the back for a fine 69.  Good to see Paula Creamer shooting a 71 and moving back to +3.]

[Update 6 (9:32 am):  Wish we were seeing more of Inbee Park’s round.  It would also be nice to see how Stacy Lewis’s hot start cooled off.  Clear that ESPN has a limited budget for today’s coverage.]

[Update 7 (9:33 am):  Another player we should be seeing more of is Suzann Pettersen.  After just missing her 4th birdie in a row, she hasn’t been on tv at all.]

[Update 8 (9:34 am):  Ah, seeing her now getting into trouble on 15!]

[Update 9 (9:36 am):  Very impressed by the way Amelia Lewis is playing the last 2 weeks.]

[Update 10 (9:38 am):  Love how Ryu has been aggressive off the tee the last several holes!]

[Update 11 (9:41 am):  There have been no bogey-free rounds in the 1st 2 days, but Shanshan Feng is -1 and bogey-free heading into 15-18!]

[Update 12 (9:45 am):  Nice 70 from Meena Lee and 71 from Ji-Yai Shin to join Morita at +2.]

[Update 13 (9:50 am):  Great closing birdie from Laura Davies!  Back to +3!]

[Update 14 (9:52 am):  Love how Beatriz Recari is turning around her year this week!  Great approach shot on 10!]

[Update 15 (9:53 am):  Angela Stanford just birdied 17 to fight back to +1 for the week.]

[Update 16 (9:54 am):  Still no mention that Feng is bogey-free.  Is this like a pitcher in the midst of a no-hitter?]

[Update 17 (9:55 am):  Sweet birdie putt from Mo on 10!  Bad miss from short range for birdie by Feng, but keeps bogey-free run going.]

[Update 18 (9:56 am):  Nice birdie by Recari!]

[Update 19 (9:58 am):  Chella Choi’s 72 keeps her at +2.  Nice birdie from Ai Miyazato on 16 to get back to +2, too!]

[Update 20 (10:00 am):  By the way, Marina Alex ended up with a great 68 and is E through 54!]

[Update 21 (10:04 am):  Eun-Hee Ji bounced back from her lone bogey of the day with a birdie on 16 to fight back to E.]

[Update 22 (10:05 am):  Stanford finished birdie-birdie to get back to E!]

[Update 23 (10:06 am):  Amy Yang is having a roller-coaster round, but she has just birdied 2 holes in a row to fight back to E for the week with 5 holes left to play today.]

[Update 24 (10:08 am):  OMG.  Recari’s shot went backwards on 11 right after Ryu went from left to way left on 13!]

[Update 25 (10:09 am):  Great comebacker by Recari.  Hope she makes the 10-footer!  Oooh–great approach by Ahn on 13!]

[Update 26 (10:11 am):  Nice that Ayako Uehara birdied 18 to post a 72 and stay at +4.  Even nicer that I don’t have to listen to Terry Gannon finding a way to mispronounce her name every single try!]

[Update 27 (10:12 am):  Dammit, how did Ryu find that tiny creek?!]

[Update 28 (10:12 am):  Fantastic bogey save by Recari!]

[Update 29 (10:12 am):  Whoops, Yang just bogeyed the par-3 14th like Park before her.]

[Update 30 (10:16 am):  Ouch, Martin just 4-putted 12 for a double!]

[Update 31 (10:17 am):  Ryu just missed her bogey save, a 35-footer that looked in until the final 6 inches.]

[Update 32 (10:18 am):  Nice birdie by Ahn.  She’s -3 with Park!]

[Update 33 (10:19 am):  Eagle on 17 by Suzann Pettersen!  -2 and right in this thing!]

[Update 34 (10:21 am):  Another smart approach shot on 14 by Ahn!]

[Update 35 (10:22 am):  Ryu safely on the green, too.]

[Update 36 (10:23 am):  Lewis birdies 18 to join Hull at -1.]

[Update 37 (10:25 am):  BTW, Sophie Giquel-Bettan had made an 8 on 15 but bounced back with a birdie on 18 for a 73 that leaves her at +2 for the week.  Jenny Shin’s 73 was less volatile, but she’s also at +2.]

[Update 38 (10:27 am):  Ariya Jutanugarn birdies 15 to claw back to E on a roller-coaster day and week!]

[Update 39 (10:29 am):  Another terrible long eagle try from Shanshan.  Barely made it to the ledge halfway there.  But she calmly sinks the 8-foot birdie putt to get to -2 on her day and for the week!  Finally Terry Gannon mentioned that she’s bogey-free!]

[Update 40 (10:31 am):  Ai-sama birdied 18 to get to +1 for the week and remain low Japanese golfer.  Morita’s 1 back of her, Uehara 2 behind, and Mikan, Miki Saiki, and Erina Hara 3 off her pace.  Forgot to mention yesterday that Ayaka Watanabe also made the cut.  After a 75 she’s now +7.]

[Update 41 (10:33 am):  Ahn side-doors her par save to stay at -3, but Inbee birdied 17 to take the lead at -4.  Martin had earlier bogeyed 12.]

[Update 42 (10:34 am):  Awesome to see Julieta Granada playing well.  She birdied 15 to get to -2.]

[Update 43 (10:36 am):  Nice eagle-birdie finish by Pettersen to move to -3!  And Eun-Hee Ji joins Hull and Lewis at -1 with a walkoff birdie.]

[Update 44 (10:37 am):  That’s a 68 by Pettersen.  I didn’t think she’d be a contender this week, but she may well be the 54-hole leader when today’s done!]

[Update 45 (10:38 am):  Well, that may be an overstatement.  Inbee’s -4 and 18 is one of the easiest holes on the course….]

[Update 46 (10:42 am):  Shanshan got her pace down on her last eagle try.  Tap-in birdie for bogey-free 69!]

[Update 47 (10:44 am):  Nice birdie by Ryu on 15!]

[Update 48 (10:45 am):  Martin made a great out from a tough spot in the trap short of 13 green, but couldn’t sink the par putt and goes +4 over her last 3 holes.  Meanwhile, Ahn birdies 15 to tie Park for the lead at -4!]

[Update 49 (10:49 am):  Amelia Lewis birdies 17 to get to -3!]

[Update 50 (10:50 am):  Inbee had a great lag from the back of the 18th green and has 2 feet to get to -5.  She hit the right edge and missed!]

[Update 51 (10:51 am):  Another good approach shot from Ahn on 16.  She has a great chance to take the solo lead over the last 3 holes!]

[Update 52 (10:53 am):  Ouch, Ariya doubled 16!]

[Update 53 (10:56 am):  Ouch, 3-putt bogey from Martin on 14 after hitting front of green in regulation.  She’s -1 for the week still and still right in this thing if she can come back on the last 4 holes!]

[Update 54 (10:57 am):  Ryu is in trouble on 16.  Needs to make a toughie to save bogey.  Great par save by Recari on 14 to stay at E for the week.]

[Update 55 (10:58 am):  Ahn slam dunks birdie putt from 20 feet on 16.  That makes up for those earlier missed short ones!  She’s your solo leader at -5!]

[Update 56 (11:01 am):  Check out Elizabeth Bethel on Charley Hull!]

[Update 57 (11:03 am):  Ryu made both doubles on the back with wedges in her hand. Now down to -1 for the week.]

[Update 58 (11:05 am):  Wow, Inbee’s 68 could have been much lower!  She’s tied with Morita, Alex, and Pettersen for 2nd-low round of the day, though.]

[Update 59 (11:06 am):  Tough walkoff bogey by Amelia Lewis, but she’s the only golfer in the field at -2 right now.]

[Update 60 (11:07 am):  Ryu found the bunker off the right side on 17 and had to pop it out, even as Recari and Martin hit good approaches on 15.]

[Update 61 (11:08 am):  Ahn finds the greenside bunker on 17.]

[Update 62 (11:11 am):  Jessica Korda finished birdie-birdie to fight back to +1 for the week.]

[Update 63 (11:12 am):  Recari couldn’t keep her birdie try high enough.]

[Update 64 (11:13 am):  Great break for Ryu on 17, giving her an unexpected birdie chance!  Martin missed her short birdie try on 15.]

[Update 65 (11:15 am):  Ahn ended up on top of the shelf past the pin on 17; her bunker shot just squirted out a bit too hard to catch the slope and roll back toward the pin.]

[Update 66 (11:17 am):  Back at +2 are Jenny Shin, Azahara Munoz, and Ariya Jutanugarn.  They’re all T20.]

[Update 67 (11:19 am):  Ahn and Ryu both par 17.  Recari well over on 16.]

[Update 68 (11:20 am):  Gwladys Nocera doubled 15 but finished birdie-birdie to claw back to E.]

[Update 69 (11:24 am):  Yes!  Martin’s par save on 16 falls on last rotation!]

[Update 70 (11:25 am):  Nice up-and-down for Recari, too!]

[Update 71 (11:27 am):  Great drive by Martin on 17!]

[Update 72 (11:30 am):  Announcers wondering if Ahn built her stance in greenside bunker on 18.  She caught the shot clean and went well past pin.  She’s been -11 over her last 39 holes!]

[Update 73 (11:33 am):  Amy Yang birdied 18 to get to -1.  6 birdies and 6 bogeys!]

[Update 74 (11:36 am):  Good pars by Ryu and Ahn.  Hope Ahn isn’t penalized.  BTW, Granada had earlier birdied 18 to get back to -2, tied with Amelia Lewis.  Ryu’s 40 on the back leaves her at -1 for the week.]

[Update 75 (11:37 am):  I would say nobody in the top 20 is out of this thing, especially if the weather turns tougher on Sunday.]

[Update 76 (11:39 am):  Good little wedge by Martin on 17.  She can get right back in this thing with a birdie!  Recari just missed that eagle putt from the left side off the green.]

[Update 77 (11:41 am):  Misread by Martin on 7-footer.  But it’s still a par.]

[Update 78 (11:42 am):  Nice birdie by Recari to join Martin & Co. at -1.]

[Update 79 (11:47 am):  Emma Talley 2-up on Georgia Hall in race for low amateur.]

[Update 80 (11:50 am):  Recari and Martin getting punished for their slow play.  Only players to get rained on at this year’s WBO!]

[Update 81 (11:52 am):  Park and Morita hit every green today!]

[Update 82 (11:59 am):  Pars for Martin and Recari on 18.  Great comeback for Martin; missed opportunity for Recari.  2 shot penalty on Ahn for building stance on 18.  Now -3 and 1 back of Park.]

[Update 83 (12:00 pm):  Ko, Ai Miyazato, and Korda now only 5 off lead.]

[Update 84 (1:45 pm):  Hottest golfers heading into final round?  Ahn -9 over last 41 holes, Hull -8 over last 16, Park -6 over last 27, Pettersen and Feng -5 over last 32, Morita -5 over last 24, Mika Miyazato -4 over last 34, Ji -4 over last 23, Alex and Meena Lee -4 over last 22, Ko -4 over last 19.]

Kingsmill Championship Friday: Who Took/Will Take Advantage of a Soggy Course?

A huge storm system blew through the Williamsburg area this morning and delayed the start of the 2nd round of the Kingsmill Championship by three and a half hours.  With a much wetter course and much different winds than yesterday, the key question was who would adjust quickest to the changed conditions?  Stacy Lewis answered that question earlier today, firing a bogey-free 65 to move to -7 for the week, tied with Brittany Lang, who shot a 4-birdie 68 to get there.  So did Mariajo Uribe, whose 7-birdie 65 got her to -5.  But it was Hee Young Park whose 68 got her to the top of the leaderboard through the morning wave at -8.

With the afternoon wave unlikely to finish today, it’ll be interesting to see if any of them can do as well as the morning foursome–or the others who shot 68s, such as Katherine Kirk, Suzann Pettersen, Mina Harigae, Mo Martin, Anna Nordqvist, and Silvia Cavalleri.  So far, Lexi Thompson  and Lizette Salas are making runs at Park, while further down the leaderboard Line Vedel, Chella Choi, and Paz Echeverria are also playing good golf.  I’ll check in with an update a little later tonight!

[Update 1 (8:15 pm):  Shout-out to Jane Park for making the cut in her 1st start since injuries sidelined her months ago!  Also nice to see that Ya Ni Tseng has put together 2 under-par rounds in a row and is only 4 shots off the lead. I’m hoping Ai Miyazato can join her tomorrow morning–right now she’s +2 on her 2nd round with no birdies.]

[Update 2 (8:20 pm):  Speaking of players I like, I’m hoping the cut line rises to +2 so that Morgan Pressel can play on the weekend.  I’d also love to see Paula Creamer, Chie Arimura, and Tiffany Joh fight their way to the right side of that line tomorrow morning.  It’s too late for Laura Diaz (despite a fine 69 today), Jennifer Song, Harukyo Nomura, Se Ri Pak, Sun Young Yoo, and Moira Dunn, but I’m rooting for Louise Friberg, Amy Yang, and Christina Kim to make the cut.]

[Update 3 (8:22 pm):  Also nice to see Seon Hwa Lee make a cut.  It’s easy to forget she’s a 4-time winner on the LPGA!  Glad that Carlota Ciganda will be playing on the weekend, too.]

[Update 4 (8:25 pm):  It’s official.  2nd-round play is suspended due to darkness!]

[Update 5 (5/18/14, 5:00 am):  Yesterday was taken up by graduation and The Full Metal Archivist’s and my 11-year anniversary, so I only found out this morning that Paula Creamer’s made-cut streak came to an end on Saturday morning.  Knowing her, she’ll just start another one!  Glad to see Chie Arimura made it.  She’s too good to keep suffering like she has been on the LPGA thus far.]

Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic Thursday and Friday: Stacy Lewis Leaps Past Lydia Ko and Karine Icher

There’s an interesting trio atop the leaderboard at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic:  a former #1 (Stacy Lewis), a future #1 (Lydia Ko), and a 5-time LET winner still looking for LPGA win #1 (Karine Icher).

Let’s start with yesterday’s leader.  Icher opened with a bogey-free 66 but made only 1 birdie today as she dropped to -5 for the week.  My #8-ranked player without an LPGA victory is still 3 shots ahead of #3 Carlota Ciganda, #11 Haeji Kang, and #12 Jenny Shin, 4 shots ahead of #27 Mo Martin and #37 Christel Boeljon, 5 shots ahead of #26 Giulia Sergas and #30 Dewi Claire Schreefel, 6 shots ahead of #7 Jodi Ewart Shadoff, and (skipping a whole bunch of the winless) even further ahead of #2 Chella Choi, #6 Gerina Piller, and #17 Vicky Hurst (who are going to miss the cut), along with #4 Lizette Salas, #14 Caroline Masson, and #20 Xi Yu Lin (who have to hope the cut returns to +5–a pretty unlikely prospect right now).

The now-17-year-old Ko, meanwhile, hit 3 fewer greens and made 3 fewer birdies today than yesterday, but at -5 she’s also 3 shots ahead of her closest fellow under-22 star, Hyo Joo Kim, 7-up on Ariya Jutanugarn, and well ahead of Harukyo Nomura and Mi Hyang Lee (who will make the cut) as well as Jessica Korda and Charley Hull (who won’t).

But it’s Stacy Lewis who might well be the most interesting of the 3 leaders right now.  With world #1 Inbee Park charging (she birdied 3 holes in a row to post a 68 and move to -3 for the week) and #2 Suzann Pettersen playing amazingly well for someone recovering from a serious back injury (she’s -2 after going 70-72), Lewis has a great chance to make a huge statement from the #3 position in the Rolex Rankings.  With Michelle Wie and Anna Nordqvist at E and Karrie Webb at +3, the Big 3 of 2013 can put themselves back on the map in 2014 this weekend.

I’m also really excited to see how well Mika Miyazato is scrambling around Lake Merced.  After doubling her 5th hole of the tournament, she’s played the next 31 in -5.  It would be great to see Mikan keep it going on moving day!  It was shocking that Maria McBride went 68-81, but she still may live to play another day, as the cut line could still go to +5.  Ai Miyazato’s been having trouble hitting greens, but at +4 will definitely get a chance to straighten out her iron play.  Maybe being forced to scramble more than usual will get her putter going.  More when all the scores are in!

[Update 1 (11:00 pm):  Ya Ni Tseng and Amy Yang will be missing the cut, but there’s a chance those at +5 will make it.  All that has to happen is that neither Jaclyn Sweeney nor Maria Hernandez birdie their final hole.  Northern CA natives Juli Inkster and Paula Creamer are safely on the right side of the line, but they will need to play perfect golf the rest of the way to have a chance to contend.  BTW, I just read on twitter that Inbee Park had food poisoning today!]

[Update 2 (11:03 pm):  Hernandez parred and Sweeney bogeyed the 9th, their final hole, to make it 82 golfers at +5 or better….]

JTBC Founders Cup Weekend: Can Lydia Ko Secure Her 1st Win as a LPGA Member and on U.S. Soil?

Lydia Ko fired a 67 on moving day to take the lead at the JTBC Founders Cup by 1 shot over fellow rookie Mi Rim Lee (70) and Jessica Korda (66) and by 2 shots over Sun Young Yoo (68).  Cristie Kerr shot the low round of the week to date, an 8-birdie, 1-eagle 63, to move to -11, 5 shots off Ko’s pace, while Azahara Munoz and Paula Creamer put together matching 64s (although Munoz’s was bogey-free and Creamer’s included 9 birdies and a bogey) to pick up where they left off 2 weeks ago in Singapore and move to -13 and -12, respectively.  There are 22 golfers within 5 shots of the lead, including So Yeon Ryu, Amy Yang, Michelle Wie, and Chella Choi with Munoz, Stacy Lewis and Morgan Pressel with Creamer, and Inbee Park, Laura Davies, Lexi Thompson, Lizette Salas, Pornanong Phatlum, and Jaye Marie Green with Kerr, so you know it’s not going to be easy for Ko today.  And with Karrie Webb at -10 and Hee Young Park, Hee Kyung Seo, and Mika Miyazato at -9, you know there’s a slim chance one of them can put themselves into the mix, as well.

I’ll be checking in on scores periodically today!  Stay tuned!

[Update 1 (11:04 am):  Hope you’re remembering to check out Eye on the Tour‘s coverage from Phoenix!]

[Update 2 (1:04 pm):  I’m seeing a good number of birdies on the opening par 5s (2nd and 5th holes), as well as a smattering of birdies on just about every other hole on the front.  Looks like today’s pin positions might be a little more accessible on the front than they were before the weekend!  So far Hee-Won Han and Jeong Jang have the lowest rounds of the day going, both at -2, Han through her 1st several holes, and Jang on the front.]

[Update 3 (7:36 pm):  Before I get into Founders Cup not-quite-live-blogging, let me offer congratulations to Yueer Cindy Feng for her victory on the Symetra Tour today!]

[Update 4 (7:43 pm):  Well, well, well!  Jang ended up posting a bogey-free 67, but Han went off and shot a bogey-free 63 to finish the week at -14!  It won’t be enough to win–or even get her a top 10–but it’s tied for the lowest round of the week with Cristie Kerr from moving day…and Karrie Webb today!  Yup, the Hall of Famer has most definitely put herself in the mix, as her 10-birdie 63 moved her to -19 for the week and right into 1st place….]

[Update 5 (7:47 pm):  Whereas Han shot her 30 on the front, Webb did it on the back.  And it looks like the rest of the field is having trouble catching up to her.  Pornanong Phatlum gave it the old college try with 7 birdies in her 1st 16 holes to climb to -18, but after a bogey on the par-3 17th (her 2nd in a row on that hole), she finished 2 shots behind Webb.  There are now 6 players on the course within 3 shots of Webb.]

[Update 6 (7:50 pm):  Stacy Lewis is 3 back with 2 to play, so barring a miracle finish, she’s not a legitimate threat.  Amy Yang got it to -18 through 11 holes but like Phatlum made her 1st bogey of the day at an inopportune time, on the par-4 12th.  Unlike Phatlum, she has time to make up the 2-stroke deficit.  She’s playing the par-5 15th now.]

[Update 7 (7:52 pm):  Lydia Ko birdied the 2nd through 5th holes to get to -20, but then went on to bogey 6, 9, and 11 to fall 2 shots behind Webb.  She’s still got 6 holes to catch or pass her.]

[Update 8 (7:53 pm):  So Yeon Ryu birdied 3 of her 1st 10 holes and still has a bogey-free round going, but she’s 3 down with 3 to play.]

[Update 9 (7:54 pm):  Azahara Munoz birdied 7, 10, and 13, but needs to keep her 34-hole bogey-free run going and make 3 more birdies in her last 4 holes to catch Webb.]

[Update 10 (7:56 pm):  Mi Rim Lee has had a roller-coaster round, with 5 birdies, 2 bogeys, and a double that leave her 3 back with 4 to play, as well.]

[Update 11 (7:58 pm):  Speaking of roller coasters, Jessica Korda took a quad on the par-4 7th, then bounced back by going birdie-birdie-eagle on 9 through 11 to return to -16, but just bogeyed the par-4 12th to fall 4 back with 6 to play.]

[Update 12 (8:04 pm):  What about those who are done?  Inbee Park shot a 67 to finish at -16 for the week, but 2 bogeys on the back killed her chances for victory.  Caroline Masson opened with a bogey-free 30 to get to -15, but stayed there with 1 birdie and 1 bogey on the back.  That allowed Lizette Salas (68) to catch her.  Back at -14, Jenny Shin only birdied her last 5 holes in a row and posted a 29 on the back, but her 64 got eclipsed by Han’s 63!  You can play great and not come very close to winning on the LPGA….]

[Update 13 (8:07 pm):  Back to the action:  Lewis birdied 17 and needs an eagle on 18 to tie Webb; Ryu is now 3 down with 2 to play; Korda is 4 down with 5 to play; Lee and Munoz are 3 down with 4 to play; Yang is 2 down with 4 to play; Ko is 2 down with 5 to play.]

[Update 14 (8:10 pm):  In case you were wondering, Chella Choi and Sun Young Yoo are having bad days, while Paula Creamer and Michelle Wie aren’t quite stuck in neutral, but it must feel that way.]

[Update 15 (8:11 pm):  Lewis birdied 18 to finish at -18, alone in 2nd.]

[Update 16 (8:12 pm):  Yang birdied the par-5 15th to catch Lewis at -18.]

[Update 17 (8:13 pm):  Ko is 2 down with 4 to play.  Ryu needs a hole in 1 on 18 to catch Webb.  Munoz birdied 15 to pull within 2 of Webb.]

[Update 18 (8:17 pm):  Morgan Pressel and Lexi Thompson both battled back from doubles to shoot even-par 72s today, but it’s not what they were looking for.  They could have used something on the order of Pernilla Lindberg‘s bogey-free 66 or Suzann Pettersen‘s 6-birdie 67.]

[Update 19 (8:19 pm):  Lee failed to birdie the par-5 15th.  She’s 3 down with 3 to play.]

[Update 20 (8:21 pm):  Cristie Kerr birdied 6 of her last 14 holes to finish at -16.  Her putter really woke up over the weekend!  If it weren’t for that 40 she shot to open the tournament….]

[Update 21 (8:22 pm):  Yang is 1 down with 2 to play.]

[Update 22 (8:23 pm):  Ryu didn’t get that hole in 1 she needed, but she did birdie 18 to tie Phatlum at-17.]

[Update 23 (8:24 pm):  Munoz birdied 16 to join Yang and Lewis at -18!]

[Update 24 (8:25 pm):  Ko birdied 15 to make it 4 at -18!]

[Update 25 (8:25 pm):  Korda also birdied 15, so she’s now 3 down with 3 to play.]

[Update 26 (8:26 pm):  Lee birdied 16, so she’s now 2 down with 2 to play.]

[Update 27 (8:29 pm):  While we’re waiting for the leaderboard to update, it’s worth noting that Eun-Hee Ji and Karine Icher posted 66s today and Katie Futcher a 67.  You know a lot of the players within 5 shots of the lead at the start of the day would have killed for rounds like those!]

[Update 28 (8:29 pm):  Yang parred 17, so she’s 1 down on the 18th tee.]

[Update 29 (8:32 pm):  Munoz also parred 17, so ditto for her.]

[Update 30 (8:35 pm):  Korda’s birdied 2 in a row and is now 2 down with 2 to play!]

[Update 31 (8:36 pm):  Ko parred 16 so remains 1 down now with 2 to play.]

[Update 32 (8:37 pm):  Lee birdied 17 so she’s now 1 down with 1 to play!]

[Update 33 (8:42 pm):  Yang couldn’t birdie 18, so she’s tied with Lewis for 2nd right now at -18.]

[Update 34 (8:43 pm):  Ditto for Munoz.]

[Update 35 (8:44 pm):  Ko parred 17.  Needs birdie on 18 to force playoff with Webb.]

[Update 36 (8:45 pm):  Korda needs an eagle on 18 to get to -19.]

[Update 37 (8:49 pm):  Lee couldn’t birdie 18.  Webb escapes another challenge.]

[Update 38 (8:54 pm):  If you’re following this on tv or twitter, you know Ko has a putt about half the length of Paula Creamer’s playoff bomb in Singapore to tie Webb.]

[Update 39 (8:56 pm):  So the answer to my title’s question is “no, not this week!”  Ko couldn’t get the putt to fall.]

[Update 40 (8:58 pm):  And Korda finishes with a par, as well.  Webb is your winner for the 2nd time in 2014 and 41st time on the LPGA!]

[Update 41 (9:05 pm):  With Rikako Morita winning on the JLPGA and Cristie Kerr finishing strong this weekend in Phoenix, I’d say Team Japan and Team USA are pretty set for the LPGA International Crown.  But Team Korea, Team Thailand, and Team Australia are still pretty much up for grabs.  There, that’s 41 updates for 41 LPGA wins by the amazing Karrie Webb!  She’s officially the comeback queen of 2014!]

Lalla Meryem Cup Sunday: Charley Hull Forces Playoff with Gwladys Nocera

Charley Hull made a huge Sunday charge at the Lalla Meryem Cup with 4 birdies and an eagle on the front for a 30 that brought her within reach of 3rd-round leader Gwladys Nocera, then followed that up with 3 more birdies on the back for a 62 and a -15 finish for the week.  But the LET veteran stayed strong, making 5 birdies in her 1st 13 holes and taking a bogey-free round and a 1-shot lead into the final hole.  Hold the presses, though!  Nocera bogeyed the par-3 18th and we have a playoff at -15!!

[Update 1 (11:05 am):  The outcome of the playoff will determine if today will be a better day for the English or the French.  Nocera’s countrywoman Sophie Giquel-Bettan finished at -11 for the bronze, and Lee-Anne Pace (66, -10, T4) and Stacy Lee Bregman (67, -6, T10) represented for South Africa, but it’s England as far as the eye can see (at least in the top 10):  Hannah Burke (66, -10), Sophie Walker (68, -8), Holly Clyburn (69, -8), Trish Johnson (68, -7), Laura Davies (69, -7).  Tough day for Team Thailand, as defending champion and 2nd-round leader Ariya Jutanugarn submitted to the Mostly Harmless jinx with a 72-73 weekend, tying countrywoman Titiya Plucksataporn (72) and France’s Joanna Klatten (69) at -5.  If Hull can pull this off, it’ll be a huge day for England!]

[Update 2 (11:20 am):  Charley did it with a birdie on the 1st playoff hole!]

[Update 3 (11:26 am):  I’m guessing that Hull’s 1st LET victory will get a little more attention than Yuki Ichinose’s 2nd on JLPGA earlier today!  This is why Asian golf needs the LPGA’s International Crown….]

[Update 4 (11:44 am):  I want to formally apologize to Ariya Jutanugarn for my part in calling down the wrath of the Mostly Harmless jinx on her!]

[Update 5 (12:20 pm):  Hull’s made it onto Golf Babes!  Not for the 1st time, I’m sure, but the 1st time with a major professional tour victory under her belt!]

[Update 6 (12:28 pm):  On the anniversary of Annika’s 59, here’s how Hull described her win on twitter!]

[Update 7 (12:36 pm):  Brent Kelley has the Charley Hull story on about.com’s golf page!]

[Update 8 (2:58 pm):  With so many folks focusing on Charley and her dad, it’s worth noting that English golfer Karen Stupples has been blogging about her early days in the game and her dad’s support and influence, most recently yesterday.]

[Update 9 (10:18 pm):  The LET has an interview with Hull posted on youtube, but I’m not finding her 4-iron to 4 feet from the playoff.]

HSBC Women’s Champions Sunday: Paula Creamer and Azahara Munoz in Playoff!

Yesterday I asked if Karrie Webb (-11) and Angela Stanford (-10) would further separate themselves from the field or come back to it in the final round of the HSBC Women’s Champions–and today it was the latter, with the Hall of Famer shooting a 74 and the American a 75.  The chief beneficiaries of the veterans’ struggles are Paula Creamer (69, -10) and Azahara Munoz (70, -10), who are locked in a playoff even as I write.  More on how they got there and what happens in it soon!

[Update 1 (2:50 am):  Disaster struck Stanford 1st, as she bogeyed 1 and 5 and double bogeyed 6 to drop to -6.  She fought back with 3 birdies in her next 6 holes to get to -9, but it seemed that Webb had the tournament well in hand by that time.  After a bogey on 2, she had birdied the next 2 par 5s (the 4th and 7th holes) and stayed at -12 all the way through the 12 hole.  By that point, she lead Munoz by 4 shots and Stanford and Creamer by 3.  Munoz had bogeyed her 1st 2 holes to drop to -6 but fought back to -8 with back-to-back birdies on 4 and 5; Creamer, meanwhile, had gotten off to a great start with 3 birdies in her 1st 12 holes of bogey-free golf, but had fallen back to -9 with a bogey on the par-4 13th.]

[Update 2 (2:55 am):  Creamer was playing in the threesome ahead of Webb, Stanford, and Munoz, so she was the 1st in the clubhouse to double digits under par, as she birdied the par-4 15th and parred every other hole.  With bogeys on 13 and 15, Webb rapidly fell back to -10, as Munoz birdied the par-3 14th to join Stanford at -9.  She followed it up with another birdie on a par 3, this time on the 17th, as Stanford bogeyed 16 and 17 to fall out of contention.  So with 3 players at -10, 1 in the clubhouse, the final threesome played the par-5 18th.]

[Update 3 (2:56 am):  I’m not sure how Munoz parred it and Webb bogeyed it, but that’s how we got to this playoff.  More details when I find them out!]

[Update 4 (3:00 am):  So at this point I went to twitter, and here’s how it played out down the stretch.  Both Creamer and Munoz hit the fairway off the tee of the par-5 18th, while Creamer stayed in it on her second shot and Munoz barely found the right rough.  Both hit the green, with Munoz missing her birdie putt 1st on the low side and Creamer sending them back to the 18th tee.]

[Update 5 (3:02 am):  Creamer has just hit the par 5 in 2, while Munoz laid up and put herself in good position for her approach.]

[Update 6 (3:05 am):  OMG, Webb had tried to hit a rescue club from a fairway bunker on her 2nd shot on 18 and left it in the trap!  She then needed to get up and down from 100 yards out to stay at -10.  Ouch!  She had 32 putts today, easily her worst putting day of the week, too.]

[Update 7 (3:07 am):  The wait is over!  Paula wins with a massive eagle putt!  I can’t believe it!!!]

[Update 8 (3:08 am):  That’s LPGA victory #10 and her 1st since the U.S. Women’s Open in 2010.  Not that anyone’s counting right now!]

[Update 9 (3:14 am):  I think So Yeon Ryu (bogey-free 66), Inbee Park (bogey-free 68), Suzann Pettersen (4-birdie 70), and Morgan Pressel (3-birdie 71), who tied Stanford in 4th at -7, just got officially overshadowed.  As it undoubtedly should be!]

[Update 10 (3:16 am):  Stanford also had her worst putting day of the week by far today.  Creamer actually did, too, but she hit 16 greens and that made all the difference in regulation.  Turned out she was just saving up her putting heroics for the playoff!]

[Update 11 (3:23 am):  On the down side, Teresa Lu fell out of contention early and finished with a 75 today (she did tie Michelle Wie for 9th), Stacy Lewis’s top-10 streak ended at “13” (I would have called it over when she WDed late last season), Na Yeon Choi (who I picked to win this thing) ended up just outside the top 10 with Chella Choi at -4, Caroline Hedwall tumbled all the way to T16 with a closing 75, Ji-Yai Shin (74) and Anna Nordqvist (75) barely made the top 25, former #1s Cristie Kerr (73) and Ya Ni Tseng (74) finished in T35, Shanshan Feng joined Lewis at T40, and Ai Miyazato, Jessica Korda, and Lizette Salas finished near the bottom of the pile.]

[Update 12 (3:25 am):  Meanwhile, Mika Miyazato was low Japanese golfer at +3.  At least she was 6 of 8 in sand saves and had a walkoff birdie.  And she was among the 1st to congratulate Paula Creamer on twitter.  It looks like she’s headed back to Okinawa for the JLPGA season-opener, along with Ji-Yai Shin and Teresa Lu (and I think Shanshan Feng).]

[Update 13 (9:30 am):  Here’s the putt on Golf Channel video:

 http://www.golfchannel.com/media/creamer-wins-10th-lpga-title-dramatic-fashion/

Awesome!]

[Update 14 (11:06 am):  Paula’s putt made SportsCenter!  And it got the Brent Kelley treatment, too!]

[Update 15 (11:21 am):  Paula made it onto Golf Babes, too.  (As if there was a doubt!)]

[Update 16 (3:24 pm):  Tony Jesselli‘s excited!  (Surprisingly, even more than onechan!)]

[Update 17 (7:26 pm):  As always, bangkokbobby comes through with videos, photos, and personal observations.]