Sunday, January 20, 2008

World Cup of Golf – Final Round

The Philippine team of Jennifer Rosales and Dorothy Delasin birdied six of the last eight holes, firing a 65 in four-ball play to win the Women’s World Cup of Golf. The Korean team of Ji-Yai Shin and Eun-Hee Ji finished second, two strokes behind, while Teams Japan and Taiwan tied for third, five shots back.

Beginning the day tied for first, the Philippines birdied 1 and 3 to take a two-shot advantage. The par-5 5th brought a three-shot swing, when Korea eagled while the Philippines took bogey. A birdie at 6 gave Korea a two-shot lead of their own, and this was the margin as the back nine commenced. South Africa, France, Japan and Taiwan were all four behind at this point. Taiwan would get within two a couple of times (Hung and Wei did miss several good birdie attempts), but none of these teams were able to reach the top two. Rosales birdied 11 from 12 feet and 12 from six to tie things up again. Ji had to save par from 12 feet at 12 to avoid dropping to second. At 14 Ji posted a birdie we did not see to regain the lead. I only know Ji made the birdie because we saw Shin playing her third out of the bunker. On Sunday afternoon, how does a TV production with any kind of golf experience fail to show a player/team take the lead at 14? We even saw Rosales make par on that hole and they couldn’t find space for Ji’s putt. Overall, this was one of the better foreign production/domestic edit jobs TGC has given us, but omitting that putt was ridiculous.

For the second straight day, the Philippine team caught fire down the stretch and this time Delasin did the honors. Dot birdied 15 from eight feet to re-tie them and chipped in from the second cut at 16 to take the lead. Ji failed to answer when her putt missed from 10 feet. At 17 none of the four reached the GIR. Delasin and Ji were both just off the back fringe about 20 feet away. After Ji chipped hers, Dot used the lift-clean-place rules to move her ball onto the fringe and proceeded to drain it to put the Philippines two-up with only one hole to play. 18 started to get interesting when both J-Ro and Dot drove way right. They both recovered to setup reasonable third shots. The Koreans needed eagle - Ji found the water with her second. Shin missed to the right with hers and hit the rocks, sending the ball sky-high and landing 30 feet LEFT of the flag. Rosales and Delasin both landed their thirds within 20 feet. Needing to make to have a real chance at a playoff, Shin missed left. Delasin rolled in her fourth straight birdie to provide the exclamation point.

There were at least a dozen teams I would have picked to win this thing before I would have started considering the Philippines. The last two years, Jennifer Rosales’ performances have been joke fodder – a WD here, a DNS there, everywhere an MC. Injuries were to blame at first but it seemed obvious last year that her heart wasn’t in it, not ever being in contention. Delasin has occasionally showed good form but hasn’t been able to sustain it for a full event for several years. This weekend, they both showed that they still have a little game left in them.

Japan tied for third when Miki Saiki stuck her second at the par-5 18th to three feet and made eagle. I was unaware that Maria Hjorth is diabetic but she was unable to start the round due to illness reportedly because of that condition. Gustafson played alone and registered Sweden’s early scores. Hjorth did eventually join the action as the Swedes finished 14th. The U.S. Team wound up tied for tenth, making a shambles of my pre-tourney picks. I saw J-Ro sneak a smoke during Friday’s coverage – such a lovely girl should shake that nasty habit. Alligators would probably affect me worse but if I were to arrive at the green and find a baboon sitting there, I would probably pick up.

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