Watch out Lorena…She’s baaa_aaak!!!

What a great finish to the SBS Open at Turtle Bay to see Annika back in fine form and beat the field by 2 strokes, capturing her 70th career win. Yes, it’s true that Lorena Ochoa wasn’t there, but almost everyone else was, so this was no cake-walk.

At the 16th tee with a 3-way tie for the lead, I was pretty nervous for Annika. You could see the worry lines above her sun glasses and I feared that she might blow it.
But shame on me for doubting… Annika proved once again that she can win when she’s fit and healthy and focused. I guess those were focus lines – not worry lines on her face.
She birdied 16 and 17 and snatched back the lead from Jane Park and rookie, Momoko Udea (who was playing beautifully up until the 17th hole where she blew her 2nd shot and ended up with a bogey).

It’s funny what you notice about golfers when you watch them play. Did you see Momok’s finger nails? They were most likely false, which is fine, but what made them so noticeable was that they were long and painted beautifully in black and white with glittery stones on them. I wish I could have found a picture of them for you, but this one here shows her nails during the Mizuno championship last fall. I don’t know how she plays with them that long – they are gorgeous, but they would split the fingers of my golf glove on the first hole.

And of course the good news story was Russy Gulyanamitta who shot a 68 for a tie for 2nd place. You know she is a true “Cinderella story” by Googling her for images. The only shot I could find was her official LPGA picture. Hey, I have more pics on the web than she does!

She was so cute on the 18th green when she made that 30+ foot putt for birdie. I haven’t seen someone that excited in a long time. In her post-round interview with Mike Ritz, she shared that she only decided to play pro golf after she graduated university in Bangkok with an Industrial Engineering degree in 1998. Wow…smart cookie!

And again, another strange thing I noticed..she still wears regular glasses. Don’t you find that strange in an athlete? I guess with this win, she can now afford Lasik surgery.

Now the sad story of the day. Poor Angela Park! She was was assessed a two-stroke penalty for slow play on the par-4 10th that cost her about $60,000 and moved her into a tie for 5th overall, instead 2nd on her own.

The officials said she violated the LPGA pace of play rule on her 2nd, 3rd and 4th shots on the 10th hole. I was shocked to hear this because I’ve watched tons of PGA events where players were “put on the clock”, but rarely ever penalized for slow play – especially if they were in contention. I’m not sure how much warning Park got, but I agree with her – it seems a bit unfair (and I’m the first to complain about slow play – I just hate it).

But, Park said she wasn’t holding up anyone behind her and I believe her. I can only imagine how upset she was. But boy…did she perform after that! Park birdied three of the next four holes to get back within a stroke of the lead. How she did that, I can’t imagine. “I was so mad out there,” she said. “I was flying through the course on the back nine. I was so frustrated.”

I’m really impressed with Angela – she really held her composure on camera, although I hear she was in tears after the round. I would have been in tears on the 11th hole!

Anyway, an exciting first event of the year! I can’t wait to watch the Fields Open in Hawaii next week. We’ll miss Lorena, but the field is still extremely strong and I am sure Annika (and the rest) will put on a great show for us addicts once again.


Thailand’s Russamee stuns LPGA with her second place
Bangkok Post
19 Feb 2008

Hawaii — Thailand’s Russamee Gulyanamitta stunned the world’s leading women’s golf tour by emerging from almost total obscurity to challenge the legendary Annika Sorenstam for the LPGA’s SBS open title on Sunday, before settling for a share of second… read more…

Tech Tags: Bangkok Post newspaper Sports
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  1. I guess you are waiting on me to tell you what the deal is on the Slow Play penalty Angela Park was gigged for.

    Bottomline: Money

    The LPGA and PGA are losing sponsors for the TV coverage…why? TV Viewers and spectators are turning off TV’s because they see the game to be WAY TOO slow. They had to do something to show force to the sponsors so they chose to address it on air and Angela was the unfortunate one who got tagged.

    Since Angela was in second place they knew she would be on TV so to make a statement…BANG, 2 stroke penalty! I can just hear the tournament officials sitting in the title sponsors hospitality tent…”That’ll show the sponsors and fans we are thinking about them.”

  2. The slow play rules stand by themselves – they do not allow slow play UNLESS you’re not holding anybody up. The rules are also specific on how warnings and subsequent penalties are handed out. There was no surprise.

    While it’s a shame that Park ignored the first warnings – the real questions are, why is it that only the LPGA has the cojones to uphold their slow play rules ? Why doesn’t the PGA Tour do the same ? They have rules in place and because they don’t, they had to come up with this MDF rule in order to finish a round in under 5 hours.

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