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.
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.
Lorena Ochoa’s tepid play allowed Sophie Gustafson to coast to victory at the CVS/pharmacy Challenge. Gustafson shot a final round 68 or 69, to best her 3rd round co-leader Ochoa by three or four strokes. A duo of South Koreans Sun Young Yoo & rookie Amy Yang finished solidly for third place.
The shootout between Sophie & Lorena never came to fruition on Sunday. Gustafson started very quickly going 4-under through her first 5 holes on the day, including an eagle on the par-5 5th hole. The 5th was the site of Lorena’s first birdie of the day, to cut Sophie’s lead to 3 going into the 6th hole. Gustafson, perhaps letting the thought of running away with it get to her, would bogey holes 6 and 8 to open the door for Lorena. Lorena however would not seize any of her opportunities on this Sunday, as she parred through until bogeying the 8th. After sharing birdies on 9th hole Sophie continued to lead the tournament, now by two shots.
A couple groups ahead 2009 rookie Amy Yang was having a birdie bonanza. Birdies at holes 1 and 3 were followed by four in a row in holes 5 through 8 to finish a front nine 31. She continued her run on the back by birding the 10th, to jump to -15 for the tournament, 7-under for the day.
So, as the final group made the turn, you have Sophie Gustafson, possibly battling nerves to capture her first victory in 6 years. Would she falter feeling the pressure? Would the #1 ranked player in the world find that winning form that we’ve seen from her? Could Ochoa string off some birdies to put some pressure on her playing partner to steal victory away, and shine the LPGA spotlight back to her? Or would the unknown South Korean, who has found much more success on the LET and in Australia be able to keep the birdies coming, and completely steal the show? Sounds like a pretty exciting back nine, right?
Well, it wasn’t. I really expected Ochoa to start finding her game, and take this out of Sophie’s hand. Unfortunately Ochoa did nothing on holes 10-14, parring them, and then finally did something on the 15th. Unfortunately for her that something was bogey. Gustafson herself wasn’t running away with it, but wasn’t letting anything go either. She birdied the 13th, as the only mark on her scorecard in that stretch. Amy Yang wasn’t able to find another birdie for the rest of her round after her 10th, and ended up bogeying the 15th hole leading to a final round 7-under 65, Yang’s first top 10 finish of the year.
Ochoa’s birdie on the 16th got her to -17, but it was too little too late. Her bogey on the 18th hole really punctuated a frustrating day for the #1 player, as you never want to shoot a tepid 72 on Sunday. Gustafson may or may not have bogeyed the 18th hole, but it was irrelevant, she claimed a 3 or 4 shot victory.
The only player to light it up on the back nine was Sun Young Yoo. She was even par on her day through 10 holes, but birdied the 11th, and holes 15-17, to finish with a 68, good to tie Amy Yang for third at -14. This is Yoo’s second straight top 10 finish after losing in a playoff in Arkansas two weeks ago.
Lorena Ochoa must be kicking herself for really not being able to put any pressure on Sophie on the back nine. This is very similar to her result from last week, when coming into the weekend T3, she shot 72-71, and was unable to contend. This week she did better on Saturday, but really didn’t do anything remotely Lorena-like on this back nine. Something must be going on in that head of hers, and it’s looking all the more likely that Lorena will be departing from the #1 rank in the Rolex Rankings very soon.