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Friday, March 28, 2008

 

Safeway International 2008 - Thursday


Mr Science Reports:

I dreamed I was a walking scorer at the LPGA tournament with the biggest attendance and the best field (75 of the top 75 in the world rankings) on tour, and the group I was assigned to had the past two defending champions in it -- one the best in the world, and the other a member of the LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame.

But it wasn't a dream. I spent the afternoon with Juli Inkster, Lorena Ochoa, and Ai Miyazato.

Lorena was the star. She shot 65 with two totally unnecessary bogeys: gap wedge from 100 yards into the back bunker, and a 3-jack from 15 feet, uphill. She was making putts from everywhere, including one from off the green for birdie on the first hole. 9 birdies in all, two of them missed eagle putts. She's in 2nd place, 3 behind Angela Stanford, who shot a career-best and course record 62.

Post-round interview:

Q. Do you have a 62 in you?LORENA OCHOA: Yes, yes.

Lorena has the oddest swing move I've ever seen. I never noticed it on TV, but it was startlingly obvious from 10 feet away in person. At the start of the downswing, a violent twisting and turning of her head, chin going out and toward the target. Don't try it, you could get seriously hurt. I asked her about it after the round, and she said "it's just something I do". "Unconscious?" "Yes".

So, if she shoots 81 tomorrow and misses the cut, it will be my fault.

Juli had a tough day, missing putts an inch or two outside the hole every time, with good speed. She had 74. Ai shot even par 72, 34 on the back 9 with a birdie on 18. (Say that out loud, and see if anyone believes you.)

Juli spoke to me twice: "Nice to meet you" and "Thanks for coming out with us". Didn't give me a ball.

The Golfing Queen, whom I have taken to calling "Lorena", has won 5 tournaments this year and dropped her handicap from 45 to 38. She was 11 under par, leading the Club Championship on the 18th tee yesterday (the GPS system in the golf carts also includes scoring capability, and for a tournament, a leader board.) She hit two into the arroyo and took a 10, finishing in 3rd place. I told her about Lorena Ochoa's experience at the 2005 Safeway tournament, where she had a 4-shot lead with 3 to play, and lost to Annika in a playoff. She was still inconsolable until I gave her the Lorena Ochoa autographed golf ball, which sits now in a place of honor on her desk.

The group in front of us was Laura Davies, Annika, and a rookie from Japan named Momoko Ueda. How would you like to be a rookie playing in that group? She shot 75.

Annika and Paula are T11 at -3, Natalie and Laura are T33 at -1.

The field includes sisters Danielle (80) and Dina (72) Ammaccapane.

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