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Sandra Gal fired her 2nd-straight round in the 60s at the CME Titleholders as many in her lead chase pack moved backwards in a big way. The 37th-ranked post-2004 rookie ended the day with a 3-shot lead on Sun Young Yoo, who shot a bogey-free 68 to move 2 shots ahead of Gerina Piller (67), Pornanong Phatlum (68), and Cristie Kerr (69). Others making nice moves up the leaderboard included Morgan Pressel (68, -5, T6), Azahara Munoz (68, -4, T9), and Amy Yang (68, -3, T15)–all the more impressive given how badly Brittany Lincicome (79), Ai Miyazato (78), Ilhee Lee and Jane Park (77), Paula Creamer and Brittany Lang (76), Carlota Ciganda and Eun-Hee Ji (75), and Lexi Thompson and Shanshan Feng (74) scored today. With Inbee Park (72, -4), So Yeon Ryu (71, -3), Lydia Ko (71, -2), Mika Miyazato (73, -1), Suzann Pettersen (72, E), Stacy Lewis (73, E), Na Yeon Choi (74, +1), and In-Kyung Kim (74, +2) not putting on much of a show (and Pettersen not putting up much of a fight for the Vare Trophy), the top of the leaderboard lacks a little bit of star power and the tournament lacks a whole lot of drama. Even the Rookie of the Year race isn’t that exciting; with Caroline Masson at +9, all Moriya Jutanugarn (-2) has to do is stick relatively close to Ayako Uehara (-3) over the last 36 holes of the season to glide into 1st (and not even that close if Uehara can’t chase down Gal and outpace everyone else on the weekend).
Still, I’ll take a little anticlimax to 2013 with a smile on my face because of the great news on the 2014 schedule (ably summarized by Tony Jesselli). More on the schedule next week, though. For now, I’m hoping that moving day will tighten up the leaderboard just a little bit more and that my faves will try to end the season with a bang, not a whimper!
[Update 1 (11:27 pm): Maybe the prospect of fighting for a spot on their International Crown team between now and the end of March 2014 will be a motivator!]
[Update 2 (11/23/13, 12:48 am): Brent Kelley offers more context on the 2014 LPGA schedule.]