Thursday, June 05, 2008

LPGA Championship – 1st Round

Emily Bastel and Lorie Kane opened with 66s to lead after Round One of the McDonald’s LPGA Championship. Lindsey Wright is in third place one shot back while five players are tied for fourth, two shots behind.

While the first eight players aren’t household names (only Wright and Maria Hjorth are in my Top 30), most of those well-known players aren’t too far off the pace. The notable scores are:

68 Maria Hjorth, Rachel Hetherington, Nicole Castrale
69 Lorena Ochoa, Hee-Won Han, Inbee Park, Young Kim
69 Soo-Yun Kang, Ji Young Oh, Wendy Doolan, Kelli Kuehne
70 Annika Sorenstam, Se Ri Pak, Jee Young Lee, Song-Hee Kim
70 Louise Friberg, Brittany Lang, Sophie Giquel, Karine Icher
71 Suzann Pettersen, Paula Creamer, Karen Stupples
71 Christina Kim, Karrie Webb, Laura Diaz, Cristie Kerr
72 Angela Stanford, Jeong Jang, Mi Hyun Kim, Moira Dunn
72 Momoko Ueda, Jane Park, Catriona Matthew
73 Seon Hwa Lee, Yani Tseng, Morgan Pressel, Natalie Gulbis
74 Angela Park, Karin Sjodin, Reilley Rankin
75 Na Yeon Choi, Stacy Prammanasudh, Laura Davies
76 Teresa Lu, Taylor Leon, Carin Koch
77 Sophie Gustafson, Ai Miyazato, Na On Min

The course received 2.5 inches of rain over the previous two days, making an already long course play even longer. The par-5 11th hole is 596 yards, the longest hole ever played in LPGA competition. Ochoa’s second shot at 11 was 310 yards away from the hole! Yes, she layed up. The scoring was helped by the receptive greens and lift-clean-place rules. 77 players are at par or better.

Kane’s round of 66 is only her second round in the 60s this year (she shot 68 on Friday last week) out of 30 played. Bastel posted her career best round but it was the fifth time in 2008 she has scored under 70. Ochoa, Pettersen and Webb all made nice recoveries from poor starts – Karrie was +4 after three holes and -5 over the last 15, Lorena +2 after four holes and -5 over her last 14.

Serious kudos to Golf Channel. Three hours of coverage this afternoon, and tonight’s three hours is NOT a replay but a taped continuation from where they left off at 3:30. I have my highlights work cut out for me tomorrow morning (and evening if they do that again Friday). They also devoted a lot of airtime to Louise Friberg this afternoon. Admittedly, Lollo played in Creamer’s group but that hasn’t always been a guarantee of TV exposure. Dottie said Friberg could pass for Annika at a Halloween party but I don’t really see the resemblance beyond the blond hair and visor.

It’s probably too soon to be saying this, but I knew I should have chosen Lindsey Wright in my PakPicker this week and left out Sophie Gustafson. My hindsight is better than 20/20.

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