Mar 17

Drama at the Founders Cup

The LPGA RR Donnelley Founders Cup – and a Caddie “Oops”

Phoenix brought her best stuff today for the final round of the LPGA RR Donnelley Founders Cup. The weather for today runs from 73 to 86. It’s warm, it’s dry, it’s perfect – golf heaven.

There’s no shortage of drama this year, and it begins with Ai Miyazato, who goes into the fourth round at 19 under after recapturing the lead in round 3. To see her play with such comfort is gratifying, considering that she was one of the players hurt in an automobile accident on the way to Singapore (with Paula Creamer and Suzann Pettersen), and bowed out after a brief and painful twenty minutes at the driving range.

phoenix 2Whiplash doesn’t seem to be an ongoing concern anymore, as Miyazato hit her first seventeen greens in regulation, and even in a little trouble on 18, she sank a 12 footer to go home happy. She has developed into one of the most week-in and week-out efficient golfers on tour, and that alone makes her interesting to watch. After seizing the first round lead with a 64, she never looked back, following up with 67s over the next two days. Perhaps she should have, though, for there came Stacy “no quit” Lewis and Jee Young Lee. All was well, though, and Miyazato recaptured the lead going into the final round, unfortunately with a little help from Stacy Lewis’ caddie, Travis Wilson.

Wilson is, by all accounts, one of the best caddies out there, and the importance of a caddie’s knowledge and personal chemistry cannot be overestimated. Lewis thinks he’s a great one, too, and intends to go right on with the partnership.

Regardless, Lewis was assessed a two-stroke penalty, because Wilson allegedly “tested” the sand before one of her bunker shots. She didn’t see him do anything while they were playing, so looked at the video later and, very importantly, looked at it before they turned her card in, which would have otherwise resulted in disqualification.

In her words, Wilson “kind of pushes, he kind of bounces his knees a little bit, and his foot turns.” Apparently, the first two gestures could be ascribed to other conditions, leaning or flexing – but the turning of the foot was, it seems, the offense, especially with the sound of crunching sand added to the evidence.

phoenix 1I’ll leave that to the officials monitoring the tournament, but Lewis still ended up with a 68 and a chance to take the trophy tomorrow. Wilson, who feels awful about the incident, will be out there again, more than making up for it with his usual talent.
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Beside the immediate leaders, I was thrilled to see that Lizette Salas came in at 13 under. It’s no secret that I’ve been rooting for this young woman from the very beginning, for the same reason I root for Stacy Lewis – they are the “overcomers” in my book. I am fascinated by their stories, I love the way they’ve taken destiny by the horns, and I love the way they play golf…so there.

Only one mystery remains for me. I have asked someone to come forward and explain why Yani Tseng is still #1 in the world, and why Stacy Lewis would have to win this tournament to overtake her, despite winning a recent event on tour. Added to that, Tseng would have to finish worse than third, which she is doing, sitting in a tie for 63rd. I guess that the rankings evolve at a glacial pace, but it seems ludicrous to dub Tseng number one in the world at the present time. So, here’s a shout-out to anyone who knows – explain this thing to me.

Meanwhile, enjoy the fourth round. With the cast of characters and the perfect weather, it couldn’t disappoint.

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