Her victory at the State Farm Classic was the eighth of Sherri Steinhauer’s career and her first of 2007. In 20 career appearances at the State Farm, Sherri’s previous best finish was a tie for fourth in 1997 but that was her only other Top 10. Six times she had missed the cut. Looks like she prefers Panther Creek to The Rail.
The Golf Channel commentators mentioned more than once that the course bore a resemblance to the British Open courses that Sherri has played so well on. The hard fairways, thin rough and increasingly firm greens forced the players into links-type shots which Steinhauer obviously has in her bag. I wonder - if the Springfield area gets a normal amount of rain prior to next year’s event, will Sherri fare as well?
Not to be nit-picky (isn’t that what I’m here for?) but I don’t agree with calling Steinhauer a “wire-to-wire winner” when for a few holes on Saturday, she was trailing Christina Kim. I guess the LPGA definition only cares about a player’s position at the end of the day.
Speaking of Christina, she was watching at the 18th green and applauded Sherri as she walked up to the green and again after the winning putt dropped. Much like Jeong Jang’s congratulations for Natalie Gulbis at Evian, you don’t often see great things like that at other sporting events. And anybody who tells you golf is boring needs to see a tape of yesterday’s finish.
For only the second time this year (Corning was the first), the average score for the event was under 72 – 71.973. By this time last year there had been six events under 72. However, the State Farm average was still 0.416 higher than last year’s average at The Rail. Oddly enough, the differential between 2006 and 2007 to this point in the season dropped very slightly, to 0.349. This happens because the 2007 State Farm score is more impressive relative to the 2007 average than the 2006 State Farm score was to the 2006 average. You got that?
What happened to Ai Miyazato? She started Sunday T17 at -5 and (according to TGC) hit three balls into the water on 7 and then withdrew. Lpga.com gives no official reason for the WD. Not like I know her personally, but it doesn’t sound like Ai to just quit once her chance at a Top 10 disappears.
This week’s Big Surprise award goes to Joo Mi Kim, who finished tied for seventh for her first Top 10 of the year. The Big Disappointment is Shi Hyun Ahn, who dared to miss the cut after I deemed her worthy of winning. Other shout-outs go to Stacy Lewis, the amateur from the University of Arkansas, and Moira Dunn. Both players finished T26, and Moira needed that $11,000 check to boost her money list standing. She entered the event ranked number 81 and should jump to 78th. I should also mention Michele Redman, who collected her second Top 10 of the season and her first since the Fields Open in February.