Sunday, April 13, 2008

Corona Championship – Final Round

Lorena Ochoa cruised to an 11-shot victory at the Corona Championship, clinching entry into the LPGA Hall of Fame by winning in her home country. Song-Hee Kim finished second at –14, Inbee Park and Karine Icher tied for third at –13 while Carin Koch and Na Yeon Choi finished fifth at -12.

Ochoa made the turn at -24, within three of the LPGA record low of -27 set by Annika Sorenstam at the 2001 Standard Register Ping (the same event she shot 59). A triple-bogey 7 at 11 ended that possibility but birdies at 13, 14 and 16 recovered those three strokes in a flash and another at 18 totaled -25. Second place appeared to belong to Park, who was -17 through 11 holes. Bogeys at 13 and 16 opened the door and Kim birdied 18 to draw within one. A double-bogey at 18 by Park handed Song-Hee the runner-up slot and cost Inbee nearly $43,000.

Along with Koch’s blistering 66, good Sunday runs were made by Kristy McPherson (66 -9 7th) and Nina Reis (68 -5 T9). Sophie Giquel (76 -4 T11) and Jill McGill (77 +1 T29) slipped backwards. Brittany Lincicome (-2 T15) and Hee-Won Han (-1 T20) both wound up with pretty good finishes, but not what most of us expected from them in a weak field. Overcoming a couple dozen potential candidates, this week’s Big Surprise is Song-Hee Kim, whose great finish is the first Top 10 of her career. The Big Disappointment is difficult for the opposite reason – I’ll go with Minea Blomqvist (+7 T43), since I had her pegged for a Top 5 finish.

I’ll talk more about Ochoa’s accomplishment in tomorrow’s epilogue but wanted to point out something a few of us were discussing in the comments of this morning’s post. I’m not hammering you, Galley – somebody wrote something a few weeks ago and you read it. A “professional golf writer” or a “blogger in his mother’s basement” makes a statement that thousands of people are going to read, it ought to be true. Lorena piled up 27 points in 5+ LPGA seasons, and some of the sport’s less thoughtful scribes believe that means it has become too easy to qualify for the Hall of Fame. If it IS too easy an accomplishment, why are Laura Davies and Meg Mallon the only players currently within a dozen points of achieving it? Those other good-to-great players who started their LPGA careers in 2003 or just prior – Natalie Gulbis, Dorothy Delasin, Mi Hyun Kim – why are they not closing in on 27 if it is so easy?


diane said...

Since 2006, Lorena has totally dominated the LPGA. No one has even come close to matching her. She has enough points to qualify, but she still needs to put in another two years on tour to complete the qualifications. Barring injury or illness, that should be easy. Lorena has earned whatever she's gotten.

Speaking of easy (gawd I love a good segue), how easy was the course this week? Without the final round triple at eleven, Lorena would have been seven under for the fourth consecutive day. If the remainder of the top 25 been there, would they have shot similar scores? I'm going to suggest that Tres Marias is too easy for elite Tour players. Since three tour events in Mexico is probably one too many, maybe they could move the Corona to a more challenging course while other events are being shuffled.

The Constructivist said...

Isn't it a 10-year rule for entry into the HOF? Everything I've been reading suggests Ochoa must keep playing through 2012 to qualify.

Remember that Annika came in 2nd in Singapore by 11 shots. I didn't hear anyone suggesting that course was too easy! If the Corona moves, it'll be because of sponsorship issues, I'll bet.

sag said...

I generally prefer winners closer to -10 than -20, but I think it's OK to have a handful of birdiefests each year, like this one or Corning or Jamie Farr.

If the rest of the top 25 played, my guess is about three of them would have bettered Song-Hee Kim's score of -14. I doubt any of them would have made it to -20, much less Lorena's -25.

diane said...

Ooops. Somehow I had in my head that Lorena would qualify in 2010. Of course you're right, TC, it's 2012.