Sunday, June 22, 2008

Wegmans LPGA – Final Round

Eun-Hee Ji, a second-year player from Korea, fired a 67 to overtake Suzann Pettersen and win the Wegmans LPGA. Pettersen finished two shots back, alone in second place at -14 while Jeong Jang and Hee-Won Han tied for third at -12 and Cristie Kerr finished fifth at -11.

Beginning the day down by three, Ji birdied three of the first four to erase Pettersen’s lead but then gave one shot back with a bogey at 5. Suzann birdied 8 to go up by two and Eun-Hee birdied 10 to cut it again. Pettersen birdied 11 to reach -16 and then Ji bogeyed 12 to fall into a tie for second with Inbee Park, three shots behind with only six to play. Negative two-shot swings are the worst nightmare for any leader, and it happened twice today to Pettersen. At 13 she drove over 40 yards left of the fairway and recovered to a greenside bunker but couldn’t get up and down while Ji rolled in a 25-footer for birdie. Two holes later, Suzann three-putted from across the green and Eun-Hee dropped another birdie from eight feet to take her first lead of the week.

Trying to bounce back, Pettersen had a 10-footer for birdie at 16 but she missed it right. At 17 Suzann put the pressure on again by putting her third shot within eight feet for another birdie attempt. Ji had 12 feet for birdie from the front of the green and drained it to nearly slam the door shut. Pettersen made her birdie to remain only one back going to 18. Both players drove into the right rough, Ji getting a huge break with the much better lie. Eun-Hee landed her approach on the back shelf about 18 feet away. Suzann hacked her ball out but landed just short of the green. Essentially needing to hole it, Pettersen chipped up and missed just left, rolling about five feet past. Ji nearly made her fourth birdie in six holes as the ball stopped about an inch away. After Suzann missed her par attempt and sank the bogey, Eun-Hee tapped in for the victory.

As one of my
preseason Top 30 picks, Eun-Hee hadn’t shown much over the first four months of play but that pick looks pretty good today! We’ll see in a couple of weeks whether the win is enough to get her onto the chart for real. No one thing in particular led to Pettersen’s downfall - in playing the final six holes in +2, we saw a couple of missed fairways, a couple of indifferent approaches and that three-putt. Ji closed out great (-3 over those same six holes) but Pettersen helped make it happen.

Inbee Park and Ji’s paths diverged after they were tied following the 11th hole. Four bogeys over the last six (she hit a spectator with her tee shot at 18) dropped Inbee to T6 and -9. Morgan Pressel bogeyed four of her first six holes today to blow her chance to win. She shot 75 and finished T10.

1 comment:

svenson said...

Wonderful piece in today's NYT on Lorena Ochoa. What a great ambassador for the women's game!Thanks for the great writeup on the Wegmans.