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.
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.
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!
@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.
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.