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.

Can Christina Do It?

When Cristie Kerr became the new #1 ranked golfer in the world last week, the common theme amongst the media was the potential resurgence of American Ladies Golf. Kerr has been a consistent top 5/10 player, and it was no real shock that the she is leading the charge of Americans this year.

When journalists and bloggers alike delved deeper into the American talent they began to throw out names of other Americans who could potentially make an impact for the good of the LPGA.

Paula Creamer immediately came to mind, along with fellow top American pros Morgan Pressel and Angela Stanford. Again, no shock here as these players are some of the highest ranked and most popular girls on tour.

Missing from the conversation was former major champion Brittany Linicome. If the big hitting blonde was going to be missing from the chatter, then it’s certainly no surprise that there was no mention to the spunky Californian Christina Kim. Well CK is looking to get her name back in the mix in a big way this week.

She is only one back of Na Yeon Choi playing her best golf of 2010 by far. Kim has struggled in a big way in 2010, her best finish is a T24 way back in March at the Kia Classic presented by J Golf. Kim’s 3 rounds in the 60s so far this week matches the number of rounds in the 60s she’s had so far in 2010.

Kim hasn’t won on the LPGA in 5 years. If she can do it this week it could really capitalize on the momentum of American golf going into the biggest event of the year next week, the U.S. Women’s Open.

With the LPGA in a big transition period, many casual fans are not warming up to a leaderboard crowded with talented Koreans and other foreign born players. A win by Kim or one of the other Americans in the hunt (Kristy McPhereson is 4 back, and Stacy Prammanasudh is 6 back) could continue the momentum that Kerr gave us last week, which would be just in time as we head into the biggest event on the LPGA next week, the U.S. Women’s Open.

That would be a sweet 4th of July for the LPGA. Although having television coverage of this event would certainly make this sweeter.

NYC bouncing back.

Last week I scanned the leadearboard of the LPGA Championship presented by Wegmans and did a double take when I didn’t see Na Yeon Choi’s name among the top 20. Using my trusty command + f, tool I typed her name to find her below the cut line for the first time in her career. 

I have a lot of faith in Na Yeon Choi’s game, so much so that I picked her to finish #1 on this year’s money list. Choi has been solid in 2010 (as always) sitting at #10 on the money list with over $341,000 in earnings over the year, but that’s a far cry from the top of the list (#1 & #2 Ai Miyazato and Cristie Kerr have nearly tripled her earnings), but she’s looking to close the gap this week at the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic presented by Kroger.

Choi enters the final round with a one shot lead over Christina Kim, and is looking to post her first ever wire-to-wire victory. A victory this week could prove momentous for NYC. Choi captured her first victory last year at the super exclusive Samsung World Championship, but it wasn’t easy. Choi held a whopping 7-stroke lead with 12 strokes to play, before seeing it deflate completely by the time she arrived on the last whole. A two shot swing (a birdie for Choi, with Ai Miyazato’s earlier bogey) on the 18th hole gave her first title, but it was certainly more of a barely hung on moment, then a cruise to the title victory we thought she was getting.

She showed a lot of gutso in her 2nd victory on tour, matching Yani Tseng’s birdie on the final hole to capture victory by one stroke and avoiding a three way playoff with Maria Hjorth. So, she’s certainly brushed off the nerves that almost saw her blow her maiden victory. Let’s see if she continue to hold her nerve tomorrow.