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."

 

Take a Big Bite

In a dramatic finish, Na Yeon Choi captured her first wire-to-wire victory outlasting Christina Kim, In-Kyung Kim, & Song-Hee Kim in a 2 hole playoff to capture the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic presented by Kroger. Choi was the only player to get a birdie during the playoff doing so on the par-5 17th hole. “The Big Apple” gets her first victory of 2010, but it certainly wasn’t easy.

World #3 Jiyai Shin’s recovery from an emergency appendectomy seem to be going well, she posted a scoring  7-under 64 to post 13-under. When Shin finished she was two behind NYC who held the lead at 15-under. Song-Hee Kim was a stroke behind that at 14-under, while Christina Kim was struggling a bit and was back at 12-under.

In the closing 5-holes it appeared none of the ladies wanted to take home the title. Choi, who was in control at this point, would bogey the 14th and 15th holes to drop back to Shin’s number at 13-under. Her near collapse at last year’s Samsung World Championship (which I talked about yesterday, and last fall) showed us that while wilting, she’d still be there to walk through the door if it was left open, and boy did these ladies leave it open.

In-Kyung Kim birdied her final hole to leapfrog Jiyai Shin and become the new clubhouse leader at 14-under.

Song-Hee Kim was at 14-under also before she herself bogeyed the the 16th hole. She would bounce back with a birdie on the 17th to also post at 14-under.

Christina Kim was still recovering a rough double bogey she suffered on the 10th hole, despite immediately following that double with three consecutive birdies. She parred 14-16 to be tied with Na Yeon Choi at 13-under. She took advantage of the par 5 17th, and got herself up with Inky and Song-Hee at 14-under going into Christina & NYC’s final hole.

Going into the par 5 8th Kim & NYC both needed birdies. Christina’s would give her the outright victory. Choi’s would get her into the playoff. It was up to Christina to shut the door on Na Yeon, but she was unable to do it. She chipped to 10 feet, and had that left to claim her first victory in 5 years. She didn’t get it. NYC did sink her birdie putt, and we were set for a four way playoff.

In a great display of golf, all four ladies were on the green in 3 on the 1st playoff hole (they replayed the par 5 18th). Not only were they on the green, but they were all within 12 feet.

Choi’s 12 footer was 1st, but she missed.
Inky had a 10 footer, but she failed to convert.
Christina Kim had just 7 feet, but again was unable to hole her birdie.

The tournament was now in Song-Hee Kim’s hands. She was 5 feet away from the maiden LPGA victory we were all expecting from her. With 15 top 10s in her last 18 events, it certainly felt like this was her time. I wholeheartedly believed that the next tweet from LPGA would be one saying that S-H finally got her first victory.

She missed.

It seemed to deflate Song-Hee who found the bunker with her 3rd shot on the par-5 17th on the 2nd playoff hole, and wasn’t down after 5 shots.

Choi chipped to 3-feet, and had a near gimme for her birdie on the 2nd playoff hole. There were two players left who could shut the proverbial door.

Christina Kim had two makeable chances in a row the past two holes, and again was unable to birdie. Her 20-footer failed to connect.

In-Kyung Kim was the only person left in the Big Apple’s way. 12 feet away to put pressure on her compatriot. She couldn’t do it.

NYC sunk her 3-footer and finally put an end to it. She walked back through the door she opened to the field.

What a disappointment for Christina Kim & Song-Hee Kim. This was Christina’s first top 10 of the season, and she had a chance to win it in regulation. Hopefully she’ll remember all the good things that got her to the playoff and not the putt she missed.

Song-Hee Kim gets another top 10 finish, and is still the best player on tour without a win. This was the first time she truly had the tournament in her hands, and her failure could do very bad things mentally. It’ll be interesting to see how she bounces back next week at Oakmont.

In-Kyung’s brilliant 64 should hopefully bring her season back into the positive after a mediocre start. She played amazing to get into the playoff, but never had the upper hand in the day’s proceedings.

Na Yeon Choi again showed that she’s not quite comfortable with the lead, but miraculously again she found a way to take the title anyway.

It’s a shame that such an exciting finish was not televised. Thankfully the LPGA had constant updates to get us through this exciting finish.

Nordqvist Notches 2nd Win, Lorena Player of the Year

When Anna Nordqvist calmly shot a 68 during the final round of the McDonald’s LPGA Championship to capture her first title (and obviously first major), they were a slew of questions that opened up. The biggest of all being, who is this unknown Swede, is she the next Annika, or is this a fluke?

On another important final round Nordqvist shined brightest shooting a 7-under par round of 65 to capture her 2nd title in her rookie season. To capture two titles in a year and to have them be the McDonald’s LPGA Championship & the LPGA Tour Championship is pretty impressive for anyone, especially an unheralded rookie! Anna utilized 8 birdies and a lone bogey to win two strokes up on World #1 Lorena Ochoa.

By finishing runner up today, and having points leader Jiyai Shin finish T8 Ochoa was able to capture her 4th Rolex Player of the Year title & Vare Trophy. In heartbreaking fashion Shin bogeyed the 17th hole to lose to Lorena by a mere point in the final point tally. Thus Jiyai couldn’t join Nancy Lopez as the only players to capture all four major titles in their rookie season, but being the Money List leader & Rookie of the Year is nothing to be scoffed at.

Na Yeon Choi took third place after shooting the round of the day, an 8-under 68 that left her 3 back of Anna. An eagle, 7 birdies (4 of them in the first four holes!) and a lone bogey should keep NYC’s spirits up going into 2010. With Choi’s clearly added confidence from gaining her first win, she could be someone to watch in the Player of the Year race for 2010.

Heather Bowie Young & Reilley Rankin were both unable to jump into the top 80 after Monday’s round. Bowie Young did herself proud with a season best T12, but it left her two spots outside of the top 80 at 82. Rankin struggled mightily on Monday dropping to T42 after she lead for some of the 2nd round. Rankin maintained her spot at #100 giving her some status for 2010, but certainly not what she was looking for when she started her rounds on Monday.

The cruel fate of #81 fell upon Moira Dunn who finished just under 2K behind #80 Irene Cho. While former tour winner Joo Mi Kim will be officially returning to Q-School as she finished at #101 a little under 5K behind Reilley Rankin.

Former Big Breakers Jeannie Cho-Hunicke & Kim Welch get the dubious distinction of finishing in the bottom of the money list in 2009 at 159 & 160, making $2,647 & $2,171 respectively.

2009 LPGA Tour Championship Update, NYC Making a Play

In 2008 Na Yeon Choi went winless, but still put up a valiant fight in the Rookie of the Year eventually won by LPGA Championship winner Yani Tseng. Yani, would go on to struggle to win her second event not doing so until earlier this year when Soo Yun Kang choked on the 18th hole at the LPGA Corning Classic. In a sharp contrast Na Yeon Choi finally broke through at the star studded Samsung World Championship this fall (despite a three bogey in a row stretch). The wait for NYC’s second win was not as long awaited as Miss Tseng, Choi broke through a few tournaments in Korea.

Now, at the conclusion of the season Choi has an opportunity to join Jiyai Shin & Lorena Ochoa as the only three time winners in 2009. She is currently 7-under on her day and 9-under overall, tied for the lead with American Kristy McPherson. Kristy, a Big Break Alum, is seeking to join Na Yeon Choi as a Rolex First Time Winner in 2009. Choi has an eagle, 6 birdies, and one bogey through her first 13 holes, while Kristy McPherson has only managed one birdie and eight pars through her first 9.

Jiyai Shin who is currently coming up lame in the final round (+1, through 9) is three back of Choi and McPherson. You’ve gotta believe that if Shin can keep her spot in the top 10 she’ll be rooting for Choi or McPherson to claim victory this week to secure her first Player of the Year title. Her only rival, World #1 Lorena Ochoa is one stroke behind the leaders at -8 through 9 holes.

Needless to say, I wish I wasn’t at work so I could bask in the excitement of this final round. This is looking to be an exciting finish!

Jiyai Shin Answers Ochoa’s Call

@Kstupples, 2-time LPGA Winner Karen Stupples, tweeted on Wednesday: “i tee off at 12:50 and its dark here at 5:30, my chances of finishing? slim at best." Little did she or any of us know the type of foreshadowing it would spell for the LPGA Tour Championship presented by Rolex.

Instead of finding an outcome of the Rolex Player of the Year or Vare Trophy races, or seeing if Michelle Wie would continue her strong form from winning in last week, we are instead still looking to finish the second round. It’s quite an underwhelming and anticlimatic finish after the great buzz that was built up this week.

54 holes or not, we are still in for an exciting finish at the Tour Championship. American Kristy McPherson managed to finish her round on Sunday, and currently sits atop the leaderboard after a bogey free 67, and sits at 8-under. Lurking right behind the player looking for her 1st win on tour, is the 2009 Rolex Rookie of the Year, 6-time LPGA tour winner, and Player of the Year race winner, Jiyai Shin. Shin is still on the course, with two holes to play, but is 5-under on her round herself, and just a stroke behind. Shin’s strong round has allowed her to move past POY #2 Lorena Ochoa whose 3 birdie, 3 bogey effort through 17 holes has stalled her at -6. She is tied with rookie Anna Nordqvist, and Heather Bowie Young.

The other player in the thick of things for Player of the Year Cristie Kerr is 5 strokes behind Kristy at -3 after a 69. Kerr needed to win this week, and Lorena and Jiyai to not finish in the top 10 to secure her first Player of the Year title, and unless Shin and Ochoa blow up on Sunday, it appears she’ll need to wait another year.

Aside from that, the LPGA Tour Championship has the perfect scenario to finish off this 2009 season. The tour’s #1 and #2 are 2 and T3 heading into the final round. Not too shabby considering the poor weather and circumstances the LPGA had to endure this week. The other race to watch out for is the race for the top 80 and top 100 on the tour’s money list. Getting into the top 80 gives players full status for next season, while 81-100 get interspersed with Q-School qualifiers for status.Considering the sparse schedule for 2010, it’s more important then ever for players to get their category #1 status.

Reilley Rankin sits at #100 on the money list, a little more then $50,000 less then #80 Katie Futcher. Despite a pair of bogeys on 8 and 9, Rankin is still in the top 10 three strokes behind McPherson. She’ll want to look for a top 10 finish in order to retail Categoy 1 status for 2010. Rankin has 5 holes left to play in the second round.

Heather Bowie Young is a stroke better then Rankin at -6, and will want to make up the 21K deficit she has behind Futcher. Katie Futcher is -1 at T30 keeping herself in the race for the category 1 spot.

In-Kyung Kim & Christina Kim headline the players likely to miss the cut at the conclusion of tomorrow’s morning round.

For the record, Kaen Stupples has played two solid rounds and find herself at -4 currently T-9.

Lorena Ochoa is Making Moves for the Player of the Year

World #1 Lorena Ochoa has put herself in prime position after the opening round of the inaugural ADT-less LPGA Tour Championship after a 6-under 66. Ochoa who can clinch her 4th Rolex Player of the Year with a win this week. Ochoa’s current 3-win season is mediocre for her standards (she hasn’t won less then 6 times since 2005), but despite this she along with Jiyai Shin have had the most victories in 2009 on the LPGA tour.

Ochoa has had bouts of lackluster play this summer, and was a non-factor at the history making, Wie’s first win, Lorena Ochoa Invitational last week. Lorena’s opening round had 8 birdies and two bogeys and leads Reilley Rankin by one stroke. Rankin is looking for a strong finish this week as she is sitting in a precarious 100th spot on the LPGA Money list for 2009.

Although Jiyai Shin was unable to live up to her ‘Final Round Queen’ nickname last week, I wouldn’t conclude that her 4 stroke deficit to Ochoa is too much to handle. Let us not forget that Jiayi was able to hold up to the pressure on the KLPGA in 2008, and swept all three major championships under intense pressure and scrutiny.

With 23 players at T9 or better including 2009 winners, Ochoa, Shin, Yani Tseng, Pat Hurst, Anna Nordqvist, Ji Young Oh, Na Yeon Choi, Brittany Linicome, Sophie and Gustafson the LPGA Tour Championship presented by Rolex should be an exciting affair.

Michelle Wie withdrew after an even par-72 citing her sprained ankle as a cause. Due to her withdrawal the LPGA will have gone through 2009 without a back-to-back winner, which is a testament to the depth of the tour.

Other 2009 tour winners Eunjung Yi & Catriona Matthew were not able to rise to the occasion shooting 77s putting them outside the top 100 in the season ending event. Tour winners and two of my favorites Christina Kim & Seon Hwa Lee are two strokes away from DFL after posting disappointing 79s, which all but ruin their chances to gain their first and only win of 2009.

CVS/pharmacy LPGA Challenge

In-Kyung Kim returns to Danville, CA to defend her maiden title at the CVS/pharmacy LPGA Challenge. Although suffering from a disappointing week last week Inky still finds herself in the top 5 on the LPGA Official Money List. Despite that she is still a whopping $500K behind Jiyai Shin who sits atop the money list. Shin has gone W-3rd in her last two events, and if history has proven us anything (winning her three events in such a short span last year) she can win in bunches, and if she continues to strike the ball well, she’ll be very difficult to beat.

Angela Stanford came into the 2008 final round just one stroke behind In-Kyung Kim, many thought she’d utilize her experience (and the phenomenal run she was having last Fall) and catch In-Kyung. Inky certainly opened the door for Angela, as she only managed a +1, 73 in the final round. Stanford struggled worse with her own overpar +3, 75. Angela has overcome a lot this season to be back in the thick of things, and if she’s in contention expect the Golf Channel to be all over it.

With the hottest player on the LPGA Ai Miyazato is back in Japan prepping for the biggest tournament on the JLPGA schedule, last week’s winner Na Yeon Choi has taken a week off to collect herself, and Cristie Kerr taking her first week off since Solheim, it’s certainly missing some marquee names, but it’s never looking to bad when you have Lorena Ochoa, Yani Tseng, Suzann Pettersen and many others of the LPGAs best joining Shin & Kim in the event.

A bit of pressure on the picks this week after the relatively easy 12 out of 20 Samsung, but here are my thoughts:

  1. Jiyai Shin
  2. Suzann Pettersen
  3. Sun Young Yoo
  4. Lorena Ochoa
  5. Kristy McPhereson
  6. Angela Stanford
  7. Christina Kim
  8. Shanshan Feng
  9. Yani Tseng
  10. Lindsey Wright
  11. Karrie Webb
  12. Teresa Lu

Angela Park, who’s had many struggles in the latter half of this season, is taking another week off, after failing to make a cut in her first two events back since her European layoff.

Amanda Blumenhurst, fresh off medalist honors at the first sectional LPGA Qualifying tournament has been awarded a sponsors exemption along with former Big Break contestant Kim Welch.

Kristy McPhereson, currently #14 on the money list, had to Monday qualify for this event last year (shooting a blazing 65), and finished T5 after doing so. This year Kristy qualified for the Solheim Cup, and just participated in the ultra exclusive Samsung World Championship. Sophia Sheridan and 13 year-old amateur Casie Cathrea have earned qualifying honors for this year. Casie made it to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links this summer before running into the buzzsaw that was Jennifer Song. To learn a bit more about Casie, check out this link from the WAPL Website.

Shin Leads (duh!) Rookie of the Year

If you added Anna Nordqvist + Michelle Wie’s points together, they would still not have enough to overtake Jiyai Shin for Rookie of the Year. What a season.

Also, do you think the rookies ranked 4-6, Mika Miyazato, Vicky Hurst, or Stacy Lewis might switch seasons with 7th ranked M.J. Hur who earned a victory at the Safeway Classic?

Should a win mean more in this ranking?

Samsung Rd. 1 Wrap, Kim & Shin Lead

Eleven players went under par after the first round of the Samsung World Championship at Torrey Pines and two familiar faces from last week are tied atop of the leaderboard. Last week’s winner Jiyai Shin & Song-Hee Kim (right) both fired 6-under 66s which featured 7 birdies and one bogey during Thursday’s play. Just a stroke behind are Sophie Gustafson & World #1 Lorena Ochoa.

Song-Hee notched her 8th top 10 of the 2009 season last week, but has not been able to take the next step into the winner’s circle in her third year on the LPGA. Song-Hee joined the LPGA after a record breaking 5-win season on the 2006 Duramed Futures Tour. She has taken a slow ascent to the top of the LPGA. Her rookie season was completely underwhelming, only making 10 of 19 cuts and never breaking into the top 20. 2008 was a beautiful bounce back for Song-Hee finishing 14th on the money list, and posting 7 top-10s. Now it’s the time for Song-Hee to take the final leap into the winner’s circle. She has been playing quite well the past couple weeks, and clearly has the tools to win on tour. Whether she can carry this form into the next three rounds will be very interesting. A couple weeks ago at the Canadian Women’s Open Kim shot a second round 62 to jump to the top of the leaderboard, but faltered with a 77 in the third round, dropping out of contention. Last week she lead by two going into the final round in Arkansas, could not find a birdie on Sunday and finished T-4. If she can finally break through and get her first win against this elite field, Kim may run off many in a short period.

With that said her opening round co-leader is the final round queen (as she is fondly known in Korea). A final round 64 last week put her into a playoff with Angela Stanford & Sun Young Yoo, and she only birdied the first two playoff holes to secure her third victory of the year. Jiyai is the vision of consistency, hitting many fairways and greens. If she can her putts to fall, she is a danger every week. She opened with her only bogey of the day on the first hole, but came home with 7 birdies to find herself in a familiar position, in the lead.

Lorena Ochoa also bogeyed her opening hole on Thursday, but came back with 6 birdies of her own to be only a stroke behind. For as much as being said about her lackluster season, Lorena is only surpassed by Jiyai in number of victories in 2009. She halted a outside top 25 4-week skid a couple weeks ago in Canada where she finished T10, and seems to be getting back into a groove. A win this week would push her over the million dollar in 2009 earnings and add even more intrigue into the bunched money list race, currently lead by Jiyai.

Sophie Gustafson finished T10 with Lorena at the CN Canadian Women’s Open a couple weeks ago, which ended a two week worse the top 25 stretch of her own, which came after her playoff defeat to Ai Miyazato at the Evian Masters.

Half of Miyazato’s 11 top 10 finishes in 2009 have come the past 6 weeks in a row, and with a field of 20, it’s very likely that Ai will continue her streak to 7 weeks in a row. She is two strokes back at -4 after her 68, tying her with Hall of Famer and sponsor exemption Juli Inkster. It’s wonderful to see Juli playing well once again, and showing that she clearly deserved this exemption into the Samsung.

Defending champion Paula Creamer is alone in 7th, shaking off the myriad of health issues she’s had to face this year. U.S. Women’s Open Champion Eun-Hee Ji will need a big round tomorrow to get back into contention after shooting the worst round by three strokes today, a +6 78.

At the 2009 California Sectional qualifier, JLPGA standout Tamie Durdin of Australia leads after the opening day of play with a six-under 66 playing the Palmer course at Mission Hills. Right behind her is Big Break alum Chrisitna Lecuyer who is at -5. Jane Chin, Yuko Mitsuka, Esther Choe, Briana Vega, amatuer Ayaka Kaneko, Amanda Blumenhurst, and Azahara Munoz also find themselves in the top 10 after day 1.

Struggling after day 1 were Maria Jo Uribe, Aimee Cho, Sae Hee Son, Tiffany Joh, and Stephanie Na, who all find themselves right near the cut line in the first stage of LPGA Q-School.

Jill McGill is GIGANTIC! Jill McGill towers over world #2 Jiyai Shin at the Fortune Magazine Clinic at the LPGA Samsung World Championship. (Photo By Donald Miralle/Getty Images for the LPGA)

Jill McGill is GIGANTIC! Jill McGill towers over world #2 Jiyai Shin at the Fortune Magazine Clinic at the LPGA Samsung World Championship. (Photo By Donald Miralle/Getty Images for the LPGA)

Shin Ruins Sob Story, Makes POY Even MORE Interesting

The not much of a rookie, rookie and possibly best lady golfer in the world Jiyai Shin broke the hearts of the Arkansas crowd and the entire Golf Channel production team by birding the last three holes to upend Angela Stanford & Sun Young Yoo on the second playoff hole to capture her third title of 2009 at the P&G Beauty NW Arkansas Championship on Sunday. In sinking the clutch putt on the par-3 15th (second playoff hole) Shin effectively ruined the story of the day (if not weekend) of Angela Stanford making a full circle bounce back from having to deal with the diagnosis of cancer that her mother unfortunately received not too long ago. Much was made of Stanford’s mom making the drive to watch Angela play singles at the Solheim Cup on Sunday, and the same fanfare was given again on this Sunday as her mother was in attendance in Arkansas. Had Stanford been able to close it out it would’ve been a amazingly triumphant come back, from extraordinary personal struggles, and would’ve been the first time she had won an LPGA tournament with her parents in attendance.

Early on it certainly looked to be Stanford’s day, after stumbling out the blocks with a bogey on the 1st, she pitched in for eagle at the par 5 second which brought her to -8 for the tournament just a stroke behind the 36 hole leader Song-Hee Kim. If she could’ve continued a bit of a run after this eagle Angela could’ve easily run away with this championship, but was only able to birdie the par 5 14th (while bogeying two other holes) going into the final hole in regulation.

Jane Park had a much worse descent after hitting the -9 mark. She birdied four of her five holes to get there, but then gave nearly all of it back when she bogeyed three of the next four holes. She birdied 11 to get back to -7 which kept her very much in contention, but followed it up with what may have been the biggest meltdown of her career as she went double-bogey-double on holes 13-15 which at the end of the day dropped her out of the top 21 (T21, -2).

As exciting as the three player playoff was, it easily could’ve featured two additional players, or potentially ended in regulation. 36 hole leader Song-Hee Kim showed just how nervous she was attempting to win her first LPGA event, being unable to secure a birdie the entire round. This was perhaps exemplified best on the birdieable par 5 14th. After driving herself into trouble off the tee, Song-Hee attempted to pitch out to a comfortable distance for her 3rd shot. Not entirely sure what happened, but Kim’s pitch-out went a distance, and inexplicably rolled into the water hazard. Kim then had to scramble to save par on a hole that all the leaders found birdie throughout the week. Kim did infact get up an down for par, and gave herself a fighting chance to win this event. She would go to the 18th with Stanford needing a birdie to get into a playoff with Shin and Yoo.

Yoo joined Shin atop the leaderboard after she birdied the 14th hole for the third time this week, but then dropped back to 2nd after she bogeyed the 16th hole for the third time this week. She needed to birdie the 18th to guarantee a playoff with Jiyai. A few groups ahead, Shi Hyun Ahn was in the same predicament, but had to settle for par. After a picture perfect drive, Yoo hit her approach to the front of the green leaving a lengthy 30-40 footer for eagle, and the lead outright. Yoo’s putting speed had looked great all week, and this was no different, she lagged close, tapped in for birdie and made the playoff official.

When the last group arrived at the 18th, Shin had been done her round for a couple hours, and Yoo had just finished. Song-Hee once again drove herself into the rough, but her layup was executed much better this time, and had a decent up-and-down birdie opportunity. Stanford hit an aggressive driver down the fairway, and gave her a shot to reach the green in two, she hit an amazing approach to 25 feet, giving her a chance to tie Shin & Yoo. Kim hit her pitch to the pin, and after a bigish bounce and some backspin found herself a difficult 12-15 downhill sliding putt to get into the playoff.

Stanford was first to putt, and she sunk it, igniting the hopes of the Golf Channel production team, and showing an even bigger sign that this tournament was her destiny. Her celebration was almost as if she had won the tournament, or better yet sunk the clinching putt at the Solheim. Arms stretched, she jumped into the arms of her caddy, it was a touching moment for a player who has had to battle so much in the middle of the best season of her career.

Utilizing Na Yeon Choi’s near identical line just before her, Song-Hee was unable to do what Yoo and Stanford did before her. She hit an aggressive putt, but it slid 3 feet past, and Kim along with NYC will have to wait for their 1st LPGA win. Choi & Kim have the talent to be winning on tour, but they have not been able to keep it together while in contention, something that their countrywomen M.J. Hur & Eunjung Yi were able to do when they won earlier in 2009. Until they can calm these nerves and thoughts, I think it will be more likely to see them win an event like Shin did this week, from behind the pack shooting an amazingly low number.

So there we were, Shin, Yoo, and Stanford in the sudden death playoff. Yoo drew first and smoked her drive down the fairway, setting up a great second shot. Shin hit her tee shot second and missed hers to the left, and was in trouble in the rough. She would be blocked out by trees and a hazard, and would not have a chance to get there in two. Stanford was next and her tee shot was falling off quickly to the right toward the right rough, she was fortunate to get a good kick and was just a few yards behind Yoo’s ball in the middle of the fairway.

Shin pitched to the middle of the fairway. Stanford’s attempt to reach ended up in a very similar position to Yoo’s in regulation, on the front edge of the green. Yoo’s looked great rolling up toward the back middle pin position, but hers was just a little bit too hot, and ended up rolling into the right greenside bunker.

You really needed to see these three next shots in order to really understand how good they were, but it was some of the best golf I’ve seen in a long time. Shin was first and pitched hers to tap-in range for her (3-5 feet). Stanford was next, and nearly holed hers, but again was a tap-in for birdie. Yoo’s bunker shot rolled to inches. All three ladies tapped their birdies in (no relapse of Michele Redman from two weeks ago!) and went to the par 3 15th.

Yoo again was first and was short and right, which was incidentally the same position she was in regulation. She flirted dangerously with the hazard, but hit it far enough to land short of the green. Stanford hit hers about 20 feet short of the pin, which was just outside of Shin’s 12 footer left, and on a very similar line.

Yoo chipped hers from just off the green to three feet, nearly a tap-in for her on this day. Stanford was first, and she piped the left to right putt about five feet past (outside of Yoo’s ball), which set the stage for Shin to putt tow in. Trusting Stanford’s line Jiyai hit a perfect 12 footer, and claimed her third victory of the season.

Shin has a chance to match HOFer Nancy Lopez in winning both the Rookie of the Year & Player of the Year in the same season. She has essentially clinched ROY, but POY is certainly up for grabs.

Stanford should be very happy with her week, and is seemingly back in peak condition like she was earlier this season. I picked Yoo to win this week, so you’ve gotta be sure I was rooting hard for her down the stretch on Sunday. Hopefully Yoo will take a lot of positives in coming this close, and I expect an LPGA win in this player’s near future.