Saturday, March 16, 2013


      An old picture of the 13 founder members of the LPGA Tour in the late 1940s. Pity they
                  couldn't get them all to look at the camera at the same time!

It’s been nearly eight years since Jee Young Lee last won on the LPGA Tour but the 27-year-old South Korean is leading after two rounds of the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup at Phoenix.
Lee fired an 8-under 64 on Friday at the Wildfire Golf Club and leads by one over Rolex Rankings No. 9 Ai Miyazato. Trailing four shots behind Lee is 2012 Rolex Player of the Year Stacy Lewis, who shot a 7-under 65 in the second round to jump from a T11 into solo third place.
Jee Young Lee has had her fair share of ups-and-downs the past two seasons on the LPGA Tour. In 2011, the South Korean missed 10 cuts in 15 starts and in 2012; she missed five cuts in 13 starts. 
Part of Lee’s struggles could be attributed to a wrist injury which required surgery in 2010 in October following the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia.  
“Actually, in 2010 after Malaysia, Malaysian Open, I had surgery, right wrist surgery,” said Lee, “so I'm going to, you know, like rehab and then I'm going to lose a little confidence after that.”
If the first two days of the RR Donnelley LPGA Classic are any indication, it looks like Lee’s confidence is just fine as she currently holds a one-stroke lead. After surgery, Lee took two months off from golf and now feels as if her wrist is healthy.
“Much better this year,” said Lee. “I didn't golf like two months, so it's going to be better, better for wrist.”
Ai Miyazato’s poise and charisma on the golf course is something most people idolise. With her smooth, fluid swing, the nine-time LPGA Tour winner never gets flustered, no matter the execution of any golf shot.
Despite Miyazato’s calm demeanour on the course, it hasn’t always been an easy thing to accomplish for the Okinawa, Japan native. One thing that has seemed to help Miyazato this week is her love for the RR Donnelley LPGA Classic.
“Well, it's not easy to be calm all day, but I just worked hard on just trying to control myself really well out there,” said Miyazato. “Like I said, I'm just happy to be here and playing in the tournament again and just very thankful for all that.  So that's why I think I felt really calm out there.  Of course I'm playing good, too, but I enjoy playing golf right now, so just make it simple.
Statistically speaking, the numbers speak volumes for the type of player Miyazato is with top-15 rankings in putting average and rounds under par. Her impressive play hasn’t gone unnoticed amongst her players including 2012 Rolex Player of the Year Stacy Lewis who boasted about Miyazato’s game in her post-round press conference.
“Ai's going to be hard to chase,” said Lewis. “She's a good frontrunner.  She hits a lot of fairways, a lot of greens, hits it really straight.  When she gets her putter going, she's one of the best putters in the world.  I was surprised that she went pretty low today considering what she did yesterday.  It's usually hard to follow a number like that.  So she'll definitely be hard to catch.” 
Yani Tseng currently holds the coveted number one spot in the Rolex Ranking but for the first time in 109 weeks, it is up for grabs at this week’s LPGA Founders Cup. 
If Stacy Lewis  wins this week and Tseng finishes third or worse, the American will take over as the number one player in the Rolex Rankings.
Lewis currently sits four-strokes off the lead heading into the third round and the six-time LPGA Tour winner admits the thought of taking over as Rolex Rankings No. 1 has crept into her mind several times this week.
“It's definitely on my mind, you kind of look at what Na Yeon and Yani are doing and kind of pay attention to it,” said Lewis. “But then you've got Ai going crazy the last two days, so there's so much out of your control that you can't control that I've just got to take care of myself.” 
Ironically, Lewis and Tseng were paired together during the first two days of the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup but the discussion of the race for No 1 never came up in conversation. According to Lewis, the duo stuck strictly to discussing activities pertaining to outside the ropes.
“We've not talked about Number 1 at all, not at all,” said Lewis. “I don't know, we just talked about ‑‑ I don't know what we talked about.  We talked about where we went to dinner last night and what we were going to do the rest of the day.  I don't know.  We just kind of talked about random things, but we don't really talk about golf and the rankings and things like that.” 
Coming off one of her best seasons in years on the LPGA Tour, England-born Australian Lindsey Wright didn’t want anything to hamper her preparation this past offseason.
Unfortunately for Wright, a freak injury while attending a friend’s bachelorette party in early January left her with a broken foot. So Wright wound up taking much more time off from golf than she anticipated.
“I actually was walking and I had a slight heel on and my foot kind slipped and I braced and it just popped,” said Wright, who had to withdraw from the first three LPGA events of the year due to the injury.
 “I actually think it was a stress kind of fracture. I'd been working really hard on my pivot in my golf swing and so there's been a lot of stress on that left side anyway.  I just think it made it worse.”
The 33-year-old hadn’t played golf since the CME Group Titleholders in November and only began practising a week and a half ago in preparation for her first tournament of the year this week at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup. 
But it didn’t appear that the lengthy layoff did anything to hamper her game as Wright followed up an opening round 68 with a 5-under 67 in Friday’s second round.
“Coming into this season, to be honest, I have had no expectations,” said Wright, who finished 49th on the Money List last year with two top-10 finishes. 
“I was nervous playing this tournament this week because it's the first time I hadn't prepared myself by playing three or four tournaments.  But in saying that, I kept it really simple in my practice and just kept going back to basics.  I mean, I made a few mental mistakes, which it's obvious that I haven't played, get ahead of yourself and that's where I made mistakes today, but all in all I'm pretty confident, I feel pretty good.  I did a lot of swimming in the time I couldn't walk, so that actually kept my quite flexible and stronger in my shoulders.  I'm actually hitting the ball really well.”
A total of 74 players made the cut which fell at 2-under-par 142
This week’s RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup is all about honouring the women who helped make the LPGA what it is today. Of Note… Kim Welch had a hole-in-on on the 163 yard 14th with a 6-iron…Cristie Kerr made one of the biggest moves of the day, shooting a 7-under 65 to move from a T59 into a T9 at 8-under-par ..
Those who missed the cut with aggregates above 144 included big names such as Michelle Wie (United States), Suzann Pettersen (Norway) and Laura Davies (England). See below.

Par 144 (2x72)
129 Jee Young Lee (South Korea) 65 65
130 Ai Miyazato (Japan) 63 67
133 Stacy Lewis (US) 68 65
135 Danielle Kang (US) 68 67, Lindsey Wright (Australia) 68 67, Amy Yang 68 67, Candie Kung (Taipei) 66 69, Gerina Piller (US) 66 69.

140 Karen Stupples (England) 70 70 (T39)
142 Jodi Ewart Shadoff (England) 71 71 (T60)

MISSED THE CUT (142 and better qualified)
144 Felicity Johnson (England) 69 75, Becky Morgan (Wales) 75 69, Suzann Pettersen (Norway) 73 71
146 Michelle Wie (United States) 74 72
147 Laura Davies (England) 73 74
150 Carlota Ciganda (Spain) 74 76