Yani Tseng didn’t just come out of the blue to win the LPGA Championship. She had already finished second twice this year, at MasterCard and at the Ginn Open, and her worst finish has been T28 at the Stanford International. The win puts her in command of the Rookie of the Year race with a 113-point lead over Na Yeon Choi.
Maria Hjorth has a great run going in major championships. She missed the cut at last year’s U.S. Open but since then has finished tied for second at the British, fourth at the Kraft Nabisco and second this week. She nearly became the second player in three weeks to win a tournament the week after missing the cut (Leta Lindley did that at Corning). I’ve researched back to the beginning of the 2006 season and have found no other cases where that has happened, although it must have occurred a few times prior to 2006.
This week’s Big Surprise is rookie Jimin Jeong, who finished T10 for the first Top 10 of her career. Honorable mentions go to Irene Cho, whose tie for sixth was her second career Top 10 – she finished T10 at MasterCard, a much weaker field than Irene competed against this week - and Kelli Kuehne, who also tied for sixth after having missed the cut in her last SIX events. Giulia Sergas also finished T10 for her third straight Top 20. Seon Hwa Lee’s 67 was Sunday’s round of the day, moving her to T10 as well. The Big Disappointment gets shared by Song-Hee Kim (whom I pegged for a top three finish) and Christina Kim, who both missed the cut by one shot.
Much was made of the high heat and humidity over the weekend and it took its toll on all the players. Sandra Gal checked into the hospital with heat exhaustion after Saturday’s round but came back to shoot 73 Sunday and finish T56.
Jee Young Lee doesn’t look anything like Lorena Ochoa but her career path so far certainly resembles the World Number One in her first three seasons on Tour – flashes of brilliance with a recurring history of faltering at the worst possible moments. Sports psychology is an overrated science in my book but Jelly needs it if anybody out there does.
Speaking of Ochoa - it was apparent to me from her body language down the stretch and her post-round interview that she had been confident in her ability to pull off the Senorita and Grand Slams, and the realization that her chance to accomplish them was disappearing hit her like a ton of bricks. Judge for yourself.