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.

tumblr analytics

"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.

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.

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!

NYC Nearly Chokes Away 1st Victory

It was supposed to be so easy, and about half a round ago it was. Na Yeon Choi was cruising through the Samsung World Championship, eagling the par-5 6th giving her a whopping 7 stroke lead with only 12 holes to play. You knew Miss Choi was nervous, but there was no way she could blow this lead could she?

She was supposed to steal the show. The Japanese star Ai Miyazato, who was seemingly transformed to a bonafide week-in and week-out contender. Riding a 6 week top 10 streak, she got hot as Choi choked. As Choi found four bogeys over the next 11 holes, the pint sized Japanese player struck gold with four birdies. As she ascended to the top of the leaderboard miraculously changing a 7 stroke deficit to a 1 stroke lead. Miyazato, now a certified winner on tour, couldn’t bogey the 18th hole could she?

There was supposed to be a playoff. Sure the par-5 18th was reachable, but when you’re attempting to win for the first time on tour, knowing in your mind that you’ve just blown a 7-shot lead is not an easy thing to overcome. So, when you’re putt from off the green for eagle landed 5 feet short, no one expected you to make it. No way, no how. You’ve missed putts with no pressure from that length today, could you really sink this putt now?

The playoff would’ve been an interesting story line, Miyazato who won her first title at the 2009 Evian vs. Choi who lost her first playoff at the 2008 Evian…

…but Choi did the unthinkable. She shook off the demons, the doubt, the fear, the nervousness, and sunk her putt for birdie at the 18th to do what her countrywoman Song-Hee Kim could not do last week, win her maiden LPGA title. It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t pretty, but Choi did it, and I think I am more relieved for her then she is! I can’t imagine how damaging losing a lead like this can be on a player’s psyche. 7 shots.

Miyazato’s decision to go for the green in 2 on the 18th is the real head scratcher. Miyazato may have only won once so far in the states, but we all know she’s a proven winner. That play seemed to be more of a shot choice from a youngster trying to force their first win, rather then a vet playing it cool under pressure. Many say that when you’re in the lead you should keep playing your own game, which is all well and good at the start of the round. With one hole to play, and the possible danger, and an opponent is faltering, going big in this instance seemed insane.

Of course that’s how we all felt when we saw the ball trickle into the hazard. Had Miyazato cleared it, and perhaps landed with ease, we all would be praising her for sticking to her guns, being aggressive and slamming the door shut. Still, she got her 7th straight top-10, and does not look to be slowing down anytime soon. Jiyai Shin, who never got anything going on Sunday, now only holds a slim lead over Miyazato, which is a testament to Ai’s consistency this season, considering Shin leads the win tally 3-1.

More alarming then Ai’s bogey on the 18th, or Choi’s bogeys down the stretch was the fact that World #1 Lorena Ochoa was unable to find any sort of groove on the weekend. After she finished Friday’s round tied for 2nd, it appeared that Ochoa might be able to shut everyone up and join Shin as the only 3-time winner of the season. Unfortunately Lorena came up lame on the weekend shooting a 1-under 72-71 combo. Her T4 was her best finish since her win in April at the Corona. Despite this finish, she was not a factor in this weekend’s proceedings. Defending champion Paula Creamer joined Ochoa at T4 7 strokes back at -9.

Despite the 20 player field, Eun-Hee Ji was unable to best her best finish since winning the U.S. Women’s Open (a T17 at the Safeway) as she finished dead last. 19th placed In-Kyung Kim bested her by 4 shots, finishing at +6 during a week where she was unable to break 70.