Lorena Ochoa did one better Friday, firing a 65 to open up a seven-shot lead at the HSBC Women’s Champions. Annika Sorenstam, In-Kyung Kim and Paula Creamer are tied for second with Stacy Prammanasudh, Karrie Webb and Linda Wessberg tied for fifth one more shot back.
Today Ochoa took one bogey (at the par-5 13th, oddly enough) but more than offset that with eight birdies, four of them in a row on the front nine. She birdied four of Tanah Merah’s holes for the second day in a row (7, 9, 10 and 16). Sorenstam posted the second-best round of the day, a bogey-less 67, when she rolled off four straight birdies from 15 to 18. Still she lost two strokes to Lorena, who already has one foot in the winner’s circle with two rounds to play. While Ochoa has been known to occasionally come back to the field, seven is quite the cushion and I won’t predict her to blow it. If Annika or one of the other top eight posts 63 on Saturday, we might still have a tournament.
Stacy Prammanasudh and Natalie Gulbis made nice moves up the board with their sub-70 rounds. Ai Miyazato took a tumble with her 74 but it wasn’t a total disaster – she’s at -3 in a tie for tenth. Mi Hyun Kim is probably wishing there were a cut – after a Friday 77, she’s at +12 alone in 75th place. Cristie Kerr isn’t enjoying her Asian holiday either after her 75 put her at +7. Se Ri Pak managed a 71 to right her ship but she still resides at +6.
I watched the one-hour show on Golf Channel last night and it wasn’t bad. The first 15 minutes were highlights and the rest was the final holes of the first round. The Australian production company (and/or the GC editing crew) did a pretty good job with the time allotted. Tanah Merah has one huge problem, though. The Singapore airport is next-door, and every plane taking off must have flown right over the course. I haven’t heard that many jumbo jets per minute on a sportscast in my life, and I’ve watched plenty of Mets games at Shea Stadium. I saw Juli Inkster give a disgusted look overhead as one flew over her on the 18th green and I’ll bet she wasn’t the only player who had a problem with it.