Annika Sorenstam went 17 months between LPGA victories, the longest such gap of her career. Her winless streak had reached 18 tournaments, the longest since she went 34 events before collecting her first ever victory in 1995. Since her first win, Annika's longest winless streak had been 17 (four events at the end of 1998 and the first 13 of 1999).
Angela Park was very upset by the slow play penalty she received at #10 and after the round was calling it unfair. Reportedly, she was timed as being too slow on three consecutive shots after being put on the clock so it sounds to me like the officials gave her a lot of leeway before assessing the two-shot penalty. The two strokes cost Park about $60,000 – the difference between a tie for fifth and solo second.
The Constructivist wrote a great piece summing up what we discovered this first LPGA weekend. The points I especially agree with: Annika is back, and there are at least three dozen players on Tour who are capable of winning. With only 33 events to go around and the likelihood that Ochoa and a couple of others will win more than once, that second point is rather hard to prove. But I believe that Saturday’s mad scramble of players within two of the lead will be the norm this season rather than the exception.
Russy Gulyanamitta (I just spelled that correctly without looking it up first! I am a true LPGA freak!) is not a rookie. She was in 2004 when she played 15 events. In 17 career tournaments before the SBS Open, Russy had only made two cuts and earned $4411. THAT would have been a Fluke Victory! She is fully exempt so she’ll be here all year. Oh yeah, she’s 31 years old and didn’t even start playing seriously until after she graduated college. She wins the first Big Surprise award of 2008, hands down.
Kelli Kuehne shot 66 yesterday, meaning she played Rounds One and Three in -11. Her overall -4 put her at T12. Hopefully Friday’s 79 was just a case of nerves and the other two unspotlighted rounds are the real indicator of how her 2008 will play out.
Ji-Yai Shin really got lost in the shuffle yesterday – other than Michelle Wie, when was the last time you saw a sponsor’s exemption finish as high as seventh? File this away – even if she doesn’t gain exempt status by winning an LPGA event this year, Shin will get exempt by earning enough money to make Top 90. She already has over $30,000.
Remember our Rookie of the Year discussions a few weeks ago? Momoko Ueda (my pick) finishes T5, Yani Tseng (my #2 and first-choice of others) finishes T8. Since when did mere bloggers get so wise?
I almost forgot to award the Big Disappointment - Brittany Lincicome missed the cut by three shots but I'm more disappointed by Jee Young Lee, who finished T68 after barely making it to the final round. Sorry, Jelly.