Angela Park, the early leader in the Rookie Of The Year race, leads the way at the Ginn Tribute after a round of 66. Five players are two shots back after opening with 68s: Lorena Ochoa, Paula Creamer, Pat Hurst, Lee Ann Walker-Cooper and Sun Young Yoo.
Surprise!! The big story from the first round was Michelle Wie. She withdrew after 16 holes with her score at +14. The lowlights included a 10 at the par-5 3rd hole and a triple-bogey 6 at the par-3 12th. In a storyline that sounded straight out of “The Young And The Restless”, word got out of an obscure LPGA rule that bans any non-Tour member who scores an 88 or higher for one calendar year. I’d be very interested to hear the story behind the creation of THAT rule. Why 88 and not some rounded-off generic figure like 90? Anyway, the Wie Corporation denied any knowledge of the rule (I believe them because nobody else seemed aware of it either, myself included), saying that Michelle withdrew when her ailing wrist became too much to bear. The rule is ridiculous, of course. All a player has to do to avoid violating it, is to do exactly what Ms. Wie did – withdraw before posting the 88 and they don’t have to sit out a year. Young amateur MacKinzie Kline, playing with a sponsor's exemption just like Wie, shot an 86 yesterday riding in a golf cart with an oxygen tank due to her heart condition. If she had taken two more strokes, do you think the LPGA would have officially banned her for a year? That would have been a great PR move!
Since the Wie-round didn’t really happen (it’s not on the board any more), let’s talk about what did happen. Annika Sorenstam had a so-so day, carding a 72 with five birdies and five bogeys. If not for two bogeys, Angela Park’s lead would be even bigger. The course is a fine lead-in for next week’s LPGA Championship. Good shots are rewarded and poor shots are severely penalized. And the greens are lightning-quick, especially at the end of the day. Other notable scores:
69 Nicole Castrale, Jeong Jang, Laura Davies
70 Sarah Lee
71 Karrie Webb, Julieta Granada, Seon Hwa Lee, Sophie Gustafson
72 Angela Stanford, Young Kim, Sherri Steinhauer, Jee Young Lee
72 Shi Hyun Ahn, Cristie Kerr
73 Suzann Pettersen, Meaghan Francella
74 Mi Hyun Kim, Juli Inkster
75 Ai Miyazato, Se Ri Pak, Morgan Pressel
76 Stacy Prammanasudh
77 Grace Park
80 Brittany Lincicome, Natalie Gulbis
The second round has started as I write this, and Gulbis has withdrawn. So either she has an injury or she needs to spend more time working out with her new swing coach, the world-renowned John Gulbis. Sarcasm Alert! Yeah, I’d take him over Butch Harmon any day.