Christina Kim and Mi Hyun Kim lead the way after the first day of the ADT Championship. Juli Inkster and Paula Creamer are tied for third one shot behind.
Of course, the leaders won’t really be the story until Sunday. For now, getting into the top 16 is the thing. Here are all the scores, with the players ahead of 16th place bolded and the ones on the cut line in italics:
67 Christina Kim, Mi Hyun Kim
68 Juli Inkster, Paula Creamer
69 Catriona Matthew, Cristie Kerr
70 Lorena Ochoa
71 Nicole Castrale
72 Sophie Gustafson, Natalie Gulbis
73 Suzann Pettersen, Morgan Pressel, Laura Diaz
74 Annika Sorenstam, Shi Hyun Ahn, Sarah Lee, Seon Hwa Lee
75 Ai Miyazato, Jeong Jang
76 Karrie Webb, Jee Young Lee, Angela Park, Sherri Steinhauer, Reilley Rankin
77 Se Ri Pak, Stacy Prammanasudh, Angela Stanford
77 Meaghan Francella, Brittany Lincicome
79 Maria Hjorth, Laura Davies, Inbee Park
+2 is the current cut line – reach the cut line and you are at least in a playoff to advance to Saturday. All of the players worse than +2 still have a chance to make it, although the three at +7 will need a 67 or better to put themselves in the running. Winds were picking up as Thursday’s round was ending, and the forecast is for 15-25mph winds Friday. The players going out early may be able to make up some ground as it usually isn’t as windy in the morning. I get the feeling we will see another Friday playoff this year, probably between the players at +3. And don’t forget – whether you make the final 16 at +3 or -10 makes no difference. All the scores from Thursday and Friday are wiped out and the top eight scores from Saturday play on Sunday.
The bolded players all just need to avoid making big numbers Friday, like the quadruple-bogey 7 Lorena Ochoa took at 17. She dropped her tee shot into the hazard, then played her third from the drop zone into nearly the same spot. Her fifth finally landed on the green, and two putts made seven. Even after losing those four shots, Ochoa is still in a safe position – four strokes ahead of the cut line. She can thank her great play on the first 16 holes for that – a 45-foot birdie at 11 and a chip-in birdie at 15 were the highlights. I question the tournament’s decision to toughen up 17 by adding 15 yards to its length. It was already the toughest hole on the course – now it’s a disaster hole. Wouldn’t surprise me a bit to see the average score on this par-3 reach 4.0 unless they move the tee box up.
Christina Kim and maybe Cristie Kerr were the only positive surprise players Thursday. They were both playing reasonably well coming in, but there were others who had been playing better – like Maria Hjorth, Laura Davies and Stacy Prammanasudh, who all had disappointing days. Mi Hyun Kim would have held the outright lead except she lipped out from six feet on 18. Christina had the only eagle at 15 all day. Pettersen kept losing her shots to the right and couldn’t buy a putt on the back nine. Creamer birdied three of her first four, took 13 straight pars, then birdied 18.