Bienvenue! My name is Jamie and I like golf. I grew up playing tennis in eastern Massachusetts, but fell in love with the game after watching Se Ri Pak defeat Jenny Chausiriporn at the 1998 U.S. Womens Open. I studied Hospitality & Tourism Management (with a focus on Event, Tourism, and Convention Management) at the Isenberg School of Management, University of Massachusetts Amherst. Tennis is my first love, but golf is a very close second. I believe style should equal substance, and the latter is nothing without the former.

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"you can't make harmony, when everyone is singing the same note."

 

No Grace Under Fire

As I read through the (now deleted) tweets from Rolex Rankings #2 Stacy Lewis following her runner-up finish to Shanshan Feng at the Reignwood LPGA Classic, one picture immediately sprung to mind: The reaction of a then 17 year old Morgan Pressel, at the 2005 U.S. Women’s Open, after Birdie Kim miraculously holed out from a green side bunker to take the lead. The hands over the head, frustrated disbelief, and the overwhelming feeling that this championship was stolen from your fingertips. The spontaneous, graceless, and tactless reaction of a 17 year old amateur, Talented, and maybe petulant, but ultimately understandable. 

When you transfer that sudden emotional state from a teenage kid, to a a 28 year old woman, a former #1 ranked player in the world, the top ranked American for the past couple years, that feeling of understanding slips a bit. Or maybe a lot.

Btw what till you see the shot on 18 that won it! Lets just say it involved a rock and the flag stick…

— Stacy Lewis (@Stacy_Lewis) October 6, 2013

This quote surmises everything. Shanshan didn’t deserve it. She hit a lucky shot. No one who has ever won any golf tournament anywhere has won by getting a lucky bounce, or getting in the way of the flagstick. Shanshan should be ashamed. How dare you steal this away from Stacy Lewis. Bad Asian. Stop ruining the tour. 

Sure. That shot was lucky. Even Shanshan thought she missed it, but just like Morgan at the 05 Open, Lewis had an opportunity to tie the lead. She failed. There was no mention of frustration of how she played an approach shot poorly under pressure, and missed a chance to make Feng’s putt a must make for the win. 

In the end Lewis has deleted her twitter account, with a equally mortifying tweet of defiance."For those whose (sic) were actually supportive on twitter, sorry to say I will be signing off of here. I’m sorry I say what I believe."

Speaking your mind is not to run away when you’re being criticized. If that’s how you feel, be proud of it. So, what if it reeks of petulance, and shows your mind at it’s most vapid. The deletion is not an apology, it’s not from a feeling of remorse. So, what’s the point? 

Jessica Korda Captures Maiden Professional Win

When Jessica Korda joined the LPGA last season many eyes were pointed her way to be one of the contenders for Rookie of the Year. With a sparkling amateur career, and professional athlete pedigree (her father Petr was a top tennis player winning the Australian Open), it wasn’t a question of will she, but when she. It wasn’t her rookie campaign which saw her finish just inside the top 100 on the money list. While adjusting to the professional lifestyle, and trying to find some momentum is the sparse playing schedule for rookies last year, Korda never got anything going. It took her one week to turn that around.

Jessica Korda showed some nerves of steal when she birded the second playoff hole to knock out 5 other women in the sudden death playoff for the ISPS Handa’s Women’s Australian Open. Korda started the round magically with three birdies in the first 8-holes to get up to 7-under par. Then the wheels started to fall off. She doubled the 9th, broke even with a bogey/birdie duo on 10 & 11, before a 3-bogey stretch on holes 14-16. The mini-choke was truly just miniature, because she rebounded with a birdie on 17 to finish at 3-under, which lead to her impressive playoff victory.

The tough weekend scoring conditions saw them finish at just 3-under par, 3-shots worse than the 6-under par So Yeon Ryu posted to take the 36-hole lead.

For Ryu, it’s another troubling so close, but cannot close moments. She bogeyed her 72nd hole to fall back to 3-under. She lead for most of the weekend last week at the Australian Ladies Masters before closing with an even par 72 to fall one stroke short. Today she entered the final round one-behind Korda and again shot even par, which was enough to get in the playoff, but still equals the same result, a runner-up finish. Ryu got the reputation as a clutch competitor at the U.S. Women’s Open last year where she stared down Hee Kyung Seo in the aggregate playoff, but these type of runner-up finishes seem more accurate. Aside from the U.S. Open Ryu has only won one other time in the past two years, and has faltered down the stretch and was unable to win a single KLPGA End of Season award. While these back-to-back runner-up finishes are promising for the rookie, the manner in which she got there leaves some troubling feelings in my opinion.

It’s nice to see Julieta Granada secure a runner-up finish as well. After strong 2006 and 2007 seasons which saw her win the ADT Championships (and the million dollar payday) Julieta has struggled. She hovered around the 100 on the money list range for three years, before a mini-resurgence last year brought her into the top 70. This might be a nod to say Julieta’s back!

Stacy Lewis and Brittany Lincicome also found themselves in the playoff and look to continue to push Cristie Kerr & Paula Creamer out of the top of American golf. Hee Kyung Seo, the runner-up to Ryu at the US Open rounded out the 6 way playoff. Seo matched Ryu’s even par round, and also matched her 72nd hole bogey, to get into the playoff that would be won by Korda.

And what a way to win your maiden LPGA title by birdieing the second playoff hole to knock out 5 talented women out. Korda was a teenage prodigy, and had a mountain of expectations laid upon her last year. In just one week she’s tripled her career money won. Heck, even if she had lost in the playoff the share of runner-up money would’ve been more then she gained in 2011! Jessica Korda has always had the game to be one of the best, now that she has proven belief how far will she go?

Top 30 Predictions

1. Na Yeon Choi

2. Yani Tseng 

3. Suzann Pettersen

4. Critie Kerr

5. Jiyai Shin

6. Paula Creamer

7. I.K Kim

8. Michelle Wie

9. Hee Kyung Seo

10. Karrie Webb

11. Brittany Lincicome

12. Mika Miyazato

13. Amy Yang

14. Sun Young Yoo

15. Catriona Matthew

16. Azahara Munoz

17. Se Ri Park

18. Maria Hjorth

19. So Yeon Ryu

20. Anna Nordqvist

21.Meena Lee

22. Jee Young Lee

23. Jimin Kang

24. Lexi Thompson 

25. Mi Hyun Kim

26. Christel Boeljon

27. Seon Hwa Lee

28. Haru Nomura

29. Chella Choi

30. Candie Kung

Everytime I’ve done this I’ve always gone against the current #1. That’s not picking Lorena during her reign, and picking Na Yeon Choi over Yani Tseng now. I’ve never been right, butI figure I may as well keep it going. 

I’m expecting comebacks by Seon Hwa Lee & Jee Young Lee after some disappointing play of late. So Yeon Ryu & Lexi Thompson are the only rookies I picked to be in the top 30.

Boeljon Outduels Ryu for Australian Ladies Masters Title

In the fickle world of tournament golf, it’s all about what have you done for me lately. Christel Boeljon who hovered behind the lead for the majority of the Australian Ladies Masters wound up on top after birding the 72nd hole to avoid a playoff with U.S. Open Champion So Yeon Ryu, Diana Luna, and Ha-Neul Kim. Ryu, the 54 hole leader couldn’t find any of the form that saw her shoot an 11-under 61 in the second round.

When the tournament opened all eyes were on last week’s champion Lydia Ko, the 14 year old amateur from New Zealand. After the opening round Bo-Mee Lee lead by 1, but lurking behind were the 2011 U.S. Women’s Open playoff participants So Yeon Ryu and Hee Kyung Seo. Even in my post after the opening round I barely mentioned Boeljon, who shared the 2nd place spot with the two Koreans.

When Ryu shot a 61 on Friday to vault atop the leaderboard, the only question was would she have the post-awesome-round slump, or would someone be able to come close to such form on Saturday. Frances Bondad did with a 63 all her own, but Ryu still lead and looked to ride her great form into victory on Sunday. 

It wasn’t to be.

Boeljon’s 4-undr 68 was enough to out duel the field, and she had the awesome opportunity to have a birdie putt on the 72nd hole to take the crown. For Ryu, it has to be another disappointment in a career that could be a lot better. I remarked earlier about her near misses in the KLPGA’s season ending awards, and the U.S. Open was only one of two worldwide victories she’s had in the past 2 years. This tournament can be added to her growing list of near misses. Strange sight for a player who burst on the international scene with some of the clutchest shots ever during the end of the 2011 U.S. Women’s Open.

Boeljon who finished #6 on the LET Order of Merit in 2011 starts off her 2012 season in fine fashion.  She might not have been a headline coming into Sunday, but she grabbed the only one that really mattered.

So Yeon Ryu Shoots 61, leads by 4

Incoming rookie & 2011 U.S. Women’s Open So Yeon Ryu lit up the course on the Gold Coast shooting a 61 to take a 4 shot lead over Christel Boeljon. As Ryu finishes her preparations here for the first LPGA event as a tour member next week my thoughts are immediately turned to the potentially epic Rookie of the Year showdown between So Yeon & Alexis Thompson.

Both are joining the LPGA this year after posting non-member wins in 2011, with Thompson becoming the youngest winner ever on the LPGA when she cruised to victory at the Navistar LPGA Classic. While Thompson’s entrance in the world’s elite has been well documented, Ryu, who’ll be 22 later this year, started her career in Korea with a bang very similarly to her new rival.

Ryu was a decorated amateur in Asia earning a gold medal at the 2006 Winter Asian Games (an Asian equivalent of the Olympic Games), and aiding Korea in team wins at the same games and the 2007 Queen Sirikit Cup, which pits top amateurs from Asia and the Pacific. At the end of the year she turned pro at the age of 17. 

Turning pro before 18 is far more common in Korea, but it still doesn’t maker Ryu’s win at the KLPGA’s 2008 Sports Seoul Open any less impressive. Did I mention it was her first event on tour? 

Not to count out the other talented rookies in the 2012 class it would be shocking if the contest did not come down to these two talented ladies. Can Lexi continue to live up to the hype and pressure and continue to thrive in the LPGA microscope? Will Ryu cope with a year abroad adjusting to the American tour? Coming over for a three week span is one thing, but spending an entire season is entirely another.

Ryu, although a consistent top performer on the KLPGA, has never taken home any end of the year awards. In 2008, despite winning the first tournament she entered on the KLPGA, she still wound up #2 in their Rookie of the Year race. In 2009 despite at one point winning 3-events in a row she only finished second on the money list and player of the races to Hee Kyung Seo (the 2011 LPGA Rookie of the Year and runner-up to Ryu at the U.S. Open). Ryu only managed one win in 2010, but still finished 4th on the money list. Last year she lead the KLPGA money list for most of the 2011, but couldn’t find it at the end of the season and finished 3rd.

Despite her top 4 finishes or better, Ryu hasn’t shown that she can have it all for the entire year. Thompson’s stamina is untested as well as 2012 will mark her first full year on a professional tour. So, who has the edge?

I don’t have an answer, but I’ll grab the popcorn as it’ll be a great show to watch.

*Lexi Thompson shot a 2-under 70 in the second round and finds herself 10 strokes behind Ryu.

Bo-Mee Lee Leads at Australian Ladies Masters

Bo-Mee Lee In what could be a mini-preview of next week’s co-sanctioned ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, 2010 KLPGA player of the year Bo-Me Lee leads by a stroke after the opening round of the ALPG’s Australian Ladies Masters. Lee, who is not currently in the field for next week’s LPGA event, shot a 7-under 65 and leads two of her more well known contemporaries by a stroke: 2011 U.S. Open Champion So Yeon Ryu & the runner-up and 2011 LPGA Rookie of the Year Hee Kyung Seo (Christel Boeljon of the Netherlands joined them). Lee had 7 birdies & no bogies to take the early lead.

U.S. Teen phenom Lexi Thompson is only two behind after her opening round 67, further proving her position as one of the world’s best. For a change though, Lexi isn’t the youngest player of interest at the event. 14 year old Kiwi Lydia Ko is 5 shots behind after opening with a 70, which was marred by bogeying 2 of her final 4 holes. Ko became the youngest player to win a professional title last week when she won the 2012 Bing Lee/Samsung Women’s NSW Open also on the ALPG. 

LPGA members Christina Kim, Gwladys Nocera, Sophie Gustafson, and Permila Lindberg are all in the hunt 4 shots at 3-under. Joining Lydia Ko at 2-under par are former amateur stalwarts Jennifer Song & Danielle Kang. Hee Young Park is the most notable name struggling on the wrong side of the leaderboard and we’ll need to go under par to make the cut after opening with a 76. 

Lang Leads By 1

In 2005, Brittany Lang was a 20 year old rising junior at Duke playing in her first U.S. Women’s Open Championship. There Lang (along with fellow amateur Morgran Pressel) took the LPGA by storm nearly winning the event, before finishing T2 two strokes behind Birdie Kim. After the finish Lang quickly turned pro.

5 years later Lang returns to the top of the U.S. Women’s Open after being the only player to break 70 at Oakmont Country Club. 5 birdies and 3 bogeys led to her opening round 69, pretty good numbers considering she was only averaging 229 yards off the tee, only hit 8 fairways and 11 greens. Since her magical finish in 2005, Lang has gone 2 for 4 in made cuts at the U.S. Women’s Open with her best finish being a T31 in 2008.

Looking to do one better then Lang’s open debut is amateur Kelli Shean who turned in an impressive 1-under 70 to share second place with Amy Yang, M.J. Hur, and Inbee Park. Shean is a rising senior at the University of Arkansas. Shean impressed in her LPGA debut last year at the P&G Beauty NW Arkansas Championship where she finished T27 as a sponsor’s exemption.

Inbee Park looks to be finally shaking off the U.S. Open curse that afflicted her since her win in 2008. Park has had a phenomenal start to her JLPGA career (winning once in 2010), and has had 6 top 10s in 2010, and has made nearly $500,000, which is almost double what she made in all of 2009.

Amy Yang had an impressive career in Australia and the LET, and has been one of the best players on the tour in 2010. Yang is 13th on the money list and has had two top-10 finishes thus far.

2nd year member M.J. Hur has had a pretty good season in 2010 as well, coming off the heels of her successful rookie campaign that saw become a Rolex First Time Winner. Hur is in the top 20 on the money list and has two top 10s as well.

Of the 14 players at 1-over and T-8 only two of them have wins on the LPGA in 2010. #1 player in the world Cristie Kerr and KLPGA member Hee Kyung Seo.

The scoring at Oakmont was nothing drastically worse like expected. The big story at the bottom of the leaderboard is Michelle Wie’s opening round of 82, which had 3 double bogeyes, and no birdies. 

Meg Mallon Retires

Golfweek’s Beth Ann Baldry reports that Meg Mallon played her last event last week at the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic.

Mallon won 18 times on the LPGA, and four of those were majors. She won the U.S. Open in 1991 and 2004. Her last win came at the 2004 edition of the Jamie Farr.

Mallon was great champion and will surely be missed, but I’m sure we’ll be seeing her around the Solheim Cup at least for a years to come.

is there a cliff’s notes version?

The tough test of Oakmont Country Club awaits the best and brightest of the LPGA this week as the ladies compete for the 65th U.S. Women’s Open Championship. Expect to see some tough scoring this week, as the course features the longest par-3 in U.S. Open history, the 8th could play 252-yards throughout the week.

Don’t expect the course this week to only be about the length. The USGA has the option to make a couple of the 4s reachable. It’s going to be a diabolical week, and with the few birdie opportunities that will be abound, I think the winner will be the player who takes the few chances that are given to them this week. Or to put it simply, who can sink those putts when it matters.

Don’t expect anything close to the Cristie Kerr blowout that we saw a few weeks ago at the LPGA Championship.

I would be shocked to not see Cristie Kerr in the thick of things come Sunday. It’s almost as traditional as apple pie to see Kerr somewhere near the top at the most coveted championship on the LPGA. In the past 9 years Cristie has had 6 top-15 finishes, including her victory in 2007. The question really isn’t whether she’ll be a factor (that’s a given), but whether or not she’ll succumb to the pressure on championship Sunday.

2010 has been a coming out party for Japanese sensation Ai Miyazato, and I don’t expect the Japanese star to look to end the festivities anytime soon. The list of career milestones Ai has achieved thus far in her 4-win season is superlative. In 2010 she’s had her first multi-win season, captured her first win on American soil, and ascended to #1 in the world. The one thing she’s missing both in 2010 and in her career is an LPGA major. A win this week would be a huge exclamation point as she attempts to end the year #1 in the world and on the LPGA.

Let’s not forget Jiyai Shin either, Shin was the first player to jump to #1 in the world when Lorena Ochoa retired, but Shin has been seemingly lapped in 2010. After posting 3 victories in both 2008 (as a non LPGA member) and 2009 (as a rookie), Miss Shin hasn’t been able to get into the winner’s circle in 2010. That isn’t to say Jiyai has been having a bad 2010 by any means. In her 8 starts this season she has finished top-10 6 times, and hasn’t finished outside the top 30 yet. It was a big question mark as to how Shin would play after her emergency appendectomy, and I think her back to back top 5 finishes answers that loud and clear.

Song-Hee Kim had the Jamie Farr Owens Classic in her hands on Sunday, and was unable to sink a putt on the 73rd hole to capture her first title. It’ll be interesting to see how she bounces back from that. In 11 events in 2010 Kim had finished in the top 10, ten times. That’s impressive stuff.

With her length and determination Suzann Pettersen may finally capture her first victory of 2010. Pettersen has 6 top 10s in 9 starts, and sits at #4 on the money list right behind Miyazato, Kerr, and Kim.

Na Yeon Choi will be looking to win back to back for the first time in her career. She finished T9 last year at Saucon Valley. In-Kyung Kim was in the hunt all day on Sunday last year at the open. She’s finished T3 the past two years at the U.S. Open and will be looking to get her first victory of 2010 also. 

hate being an outtie

Last year, fans and media alike were reeling when two of the LPGA’s most popular ladies Michelle Wie & Natalie Gulbis failed to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open Championship. This year there is no public outrage, but there are a few notable names who won’t be teeing it up at Oakmont.

Laura Davies

Davies will be missing the U.S. Open for the first time in 24 years. Yes, I said 24 years! After receiving a special exemption in the U.S. Open last year and finishing a solid T17, she didn’t do enough on the LPGA to get herself automatically in. She also chose not to attend qualifying, and will be a familiar face missing from the field. At least we will be saved from having to hear on Davies is 2 points shy from making the LPGA Hall of Fame this week.

Lori Kane

Watching (well reading) Song-Hee Kim struggle to close out her first victory this past week at the Jamie Farr conjured up memories of Lori Kane’s struggle to get into the winner circle. From 1996-1999 Kane had an astonishing 34 top 10s and 8 runner-up finishes. Finally she broke through in 2000, and the wins kept coming. Her 3-win season was one of the best she’s had on tour. Kane hasn’t seen a top 10 since 2007, and is trying to end a 2-year slide of finishing outside the top-130 on the money list. Kane was the old dog at the qualifying site at the Plantation Bay Country Club, where tweens Alexis Thompson and Yueer Feng qualified. She is an alternate into the field after losing out on a spot in a playoff. Kane hasn’t played a U.S. Open since 2007.

Mi Hyun Kim

Peanut had a shortened 2009 season after having her first child, and is trying to adjust and round back up into form. Kim’s last win came in 2007, which is also the last year she finished in the top 5 of the money list. She hasn’t done much in 2010 and may have the rest of July off as I don’t see her getting into the Evian or the British Open. Hopefully when the LPGA resumes domestically the 8 time winner will get back on track. Kim hasn’t played an open since 2008. In a stacked field at Hawke Pointe G.C., Kim failed to qualify by 4 shots. Jimin Kang & Soo Yun Kang were also in the field, and failed to qualify.

Grace Park

Grace’s 2004 Kraft Nabisco Win is a 7 year distant memory for the player who has struggled mightily over the years with back and other injuries. 2004, where she finished #2 on the moneylist was the peak for a player that looked poised to threaten for #1. Park is attempting to resume a full schedule in 2010, and after a promising finish at the Kraft this year, she’s been unable to find the top 10. Park hasn’t bettered her T6 at the open that she got 10 years ago (in her first year as an LPGA professional), and hasn’t been in the field since 2008. Grace attempted to qualify at Pinnacle Peak C.C. and missed out by three strokes.

Other notables missing are Permilla Lindberg, Paola Moreno, Haeji Kang, Angela Oh, Mariajo Uribe, Jane Park, Il Hee Lee, Young-A Yang, Karin Sjodin, Misun Cho, Whitney Wade, Leta Lindley, Allison Hanna,  and Diana D’Alessio.