Karrie Webb collected her fifth victory of 2006 at the Mizuno Classic. Her final round of 66 carried her to a four-shot margin over JLPGA player Kaori Higo (-10). Annika Sorenstam, Brittany Lang, Aree Song and Jeong Eun Lee finished tied for third at -9.
Having started about a dozen groups ahead of the leaders, Higo completed her round of 65 to get in the clubhouse at -10. At the turn, Webb was at -9 (-1 on the day) with several players bunched together near the top of the board. Karrie proceeded to birdie four of the next five holes to seize command. Lang, who was -8 through the front, triple-bogeyed 10 to torpedo her chances. She salvaged a good finish by birdying four of the last eight. Five-time defending champion Sorenstam never got on track – four birdies were offset by two bogeys and 70 wasn’t good enough to challenge for the “six-pack”. Aree Song played her third straight solid round (a bogey-free 70) and Jeong Eun Lee had an up-and-down 70. Second-round leader Momoko Ueda struggled to a 74 and finished tied for ninth.
In my pre-tournament post, I either underestimated the Japanese players or I underestimated the chances of a group of 35 players finishing high in a tournament of 78 total players. Probably a bit of both. Five JLPGA players finished in the top 11 and nine finished in the top 24. Rolex #9 Shiho Ohyama finished T17, #12 Yuri Fudoh did not play and #18 Akiko Fukushima also finished T17. My jury is still out on how good these players really are. It’s difficult to compare players when they only play the same tournaments once or twice a year.
My picks took another beating this week. Annika didn’t win and she was my only pick to finish Top 10. Jeong Jang finished T25 and Gloria Park was T47. Have a safe trip home, ladies! We’ll see you in Mobile.