Kelli Kuehne is the first-round leader at the season-opening SBS Open. Kuehne, who had to go back to Q-School to regain her exempt status, fired a bogey-free 67 to lead by one shot over Jacqueline Yang. Seven players are tied for third after rounds of 69 – Cristie Kerr, Sherri Steinhauer, Meena Lee, Lindsey Wright, Ji-Young Oh, Wendy Ward and Erica Blasberg.
With 34 players carding rounds under par, the scoring was fairly good. Turtle Bay’s winds were a little on the subdued side, although they picked up a little during the afternoon. Other scores of note:
70 Paula Creamer, Annika Sorenstam, In-Kyung Kim
70 Paige Mackenzie, Yani Tseng, Jane Park, Laura Diaz
71 Angela Stanford, Momoko Ueda, Ji-Yai Shin
72 Hee-Won Han, Jeong Jang, Pat Hurst
73 Natalie Gulbis, Morgan Pressel, Christina Kim
74 Seon Hwa Lee, Stacy Prammanasudh, Suzann Pettersen
74 Brittany Lincicome, Maria Hjorth
75 Jee Young Lee, Sophie Gustafson, Nicole Castrale
75 Angela Park, Eun-Hee Ji
76 Ai Miyazato, Grace Park, Louise Friberg
78 Jennifer Rosales, Michelle McGann
Both Creamer and Sorenstam suffered duffer moments at 17. From the middle of the fairway, Paula missed the green right and then chipped completely across the green. She wound up taking double-bogey. Annika nearly repeated a faux-pas I saw her commit a couple of years ago – from about the same spot as Creamer, she chipped up short and the ball rolled all the way back down the hill to her. Then she almost did it again, but this time the ball skipped a little forward and held on. She too took double-bogey at 17 but both players saved face with birdies at 18.
At the end of TV time, Paige Mackenzie was -4 and threatening to tie for the lead. Bogeys at 16 and 17 dropped her back. Stacy Prammanasudh played the last seven holes in +4 to ruin an otherwise good day. On the flipside, Jee Young Lee was staring a 77 in the face until she eagled her final hole (the 9th).
In her post-round interview, Kelli Kuehne mentioned that she doesn’t read any of her putts. Tracey Phillips, her caddy and short-game coach, does it for her. She also mentions that he is an expensive caddy, but it appears to me that he might be worth the money.
The Constructivist has been asking about pairings. For Round Two, the morning and afternoon groups have been switched as usual but the groups are rearranged. The unusual thing is, the TV groups (going off near noon from #1) are the afternoon players who are at the top of the leaderboard - Kuehne, Yang, Steinhauer, M Lee, Mallon, etc. I don't recall seeing them do that before. TC - I think the rule-of-thumb about pairings is, they are fair about morning/afternoon and give priority to higher-profile players but everything else is done at the whim of the tournament directors.