Friday, March 28, 2008

Safeway International – 1st Round

Angela Stanford fired a 62 – a course record and her career best round – to take a three-shot lead at the Safeway International. Lorena Ochoa is second after posting a 65 and Sherri Steinhauer is third with a 66. Yani Tseng, Jee Young Lee, Karen Stupples and Heather Young are tied for fourth, five shots behind the leader.

Ten birdies – six on the front nine and three on the last four holes – took Stanford to the top. By the end of the day Angela was shaking her head in amazement over her play, and told GC’s Mike Ritz that everything that could go right, did. Her second at the par-5 18th was a perfect example – she hit it a bit too low but the ball kept bouncing along, missed a bunker and ended up on the green with a reasonable eagle chance. Ok, not everything went right. She didn’t make eagle there but that birdie was her day in a nutshell.

With little wind and mid-80 temps, the only real obstacle to be faced was the quick greens (14 on the stimpmeter). But since they were rolling so true, the scoring was outstanding. 19 rounds in the 60s, 53 rounds under par. Notables:
69 Paula Creamer, Christina Kim, Annika Sorenstam, Jeong Jang
70 Hee-Won Han, Maria Hjorth, Stacy Prammanasudh
71 Catriona Matthew, Suzann Pettersen, Brittany Lincicome, Natalie Gulbis
71 Mi Hyun Kim, Nicole Castrale, Laura Davies, Moira Dunn
72 Louise Friberg, Laura Diaz, Angela Park, Ai Miyazato
73 Karrie Webb, Grace Park, Se Ri Pak, Jane Park
74 Seon Hwa Lee, Morgan Pressel, Cristie Kerr, Shi Hyun Ahn, Juli Inkster
75 Momoko Ueda
76 Sarah Lee
78 In-Kyung Kim

It was great to see Jee Young Lee and Mi Hyun Kim get off to good starts. Early in the day, Marisa Baena was lighting it up (-5 through 11 holes) but she stumbled down the stretch and posted 70. Apparently cortisone is the right medicine for Sherri Steinhauer – during her post-round interview she told Mike Ritz about the bursitis problem in her hips which required a couple of shots recently. She says she feels great and her score certainly reflects that.

A particularly outstanding quote from Lorena Ochoa during her post-round interview:

it was a day of many birdies.

May we all have days like that every once in a while.

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