Manulife Financial LPGA Classic Friday: Going Low and Going Home

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It was truly the best of times and the worst of times at Grey Silo during the 2nd round of the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic, which only ended a few minutes ago this morning, thanks to Thursday’s big storm and Friday’s big race to the finish, which saw all but 7 players complete their rounds as play was called for darkness at 9:22 pm. 

On the bright side, many golfers had great rounds Friday, including from the morning wave (when conditions were a bit easier) Stacy Lewis (bogey-free 64), Brittany Lang (65), and Nicole Hage (65), from the afternoon wave leader Inbee Park (64, -9), So Yeon Ryu (bogey-free 65), Karrie Webb (65), and Victoria Tanco (bogey-free 65).  In all, 13 players have gone sub-70 twice already, 28 have 2 sub-par rounds in a row, and 58 are under par for the tournament thus far.  There are 27 players within 5 shots of Park’s lead, including Shanshan Feng, who’s looking to make it 2 wins in a row, Hee Kyung Seo, who’s looking to come back from the disappointment of giving up a 3-shot lead with 5 holes to play at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, Brittany Lang, who’s looking to turn her 2012 around, and huge names like Lexi Thompson (-7), Lewis (-6), Paula Creamer (-5), Suzann Pettersen (-4), and Amy Yang (-4), and Angela Stanford (-4).  Heck, Michelle Wie even made the cut!  (I’m particularly pleased to see one of my favorite golfers, Seon Hwa Lee, in the top 20 after 2 rounds, along with Jeon Jang!)  Even for those not tearing up Grey Silo as of yet, the cut line, which had been bouncing between E and +1 all day, ended up at +1, letting 79 golfers play into the weekend.  Among those saved were 3 Canadians, Lorie Kane, Alena Sharp, and Rebecca-Lee Bentham!

On the down side, many of my favorite golfers missed the cut, chief among them Ai Miyazato (74-75), Tiffany Joh (73-72), Hannah Yun (70-75), and Moira Dunn (69-76).  Moira took a quad and a triple on Friday and left the 9th green so frustrated she didn’t even recognize me.  The normally voluble and upbeat T-Joh could barely bring herself to shake my hand before heading back to the clubhouse with her group on the long cart drive back to the clubhouse after averaging 32.5 putts per round at Grey Silo and failing to birdie a single par 5.  (More on Ai-sama’s and Hannah’s rounds a little later.)  Other players for whom Waterloo turned out to be their Waterloo included Azahara Munoz (despite a Friday 68), Hee-Won Han, Pat Hurst (who opened with a 68), Christina Kim, Caroline Hedwall, Ryann O’Toole, Pernilla Lindberg, Jenny Shin, Mitsuki Katahira, and Samantha Richdale.  (More on O’Toole and Katahira later.)

OK, so I want to get to the 1st tee by 9:20 am to follow Na Yeon Choi, Mina Harigae, and Hanna Kang.  If I’m jinxing them, I can drop back to Momoko Ueda, Meena Lee, and Angela Oh behind them, or Morgan Pressel, Mindy Kim, and Anna Grzebien after them.  The key later group I want to follow is the Amy Yang, Seon Hwa Lee, and Angela Stanford trio at 11:30.  Given the state of my back and blisters and the fact that I’ve taken in enough sun the last 2 days to be radioactive–not to mention I need time to write up, like, a thousand posts–I’m going to be heading back to the media center to watch Golf Channel’s coverage from 3-6 pm.  So:  another long day.  Got to get ready to face it now!

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