Second Day of Texas Shootout – Newcomers In Chase
I thought that the leaderboard was one of the more interesting first round configurations this year in terms of new faces, but the second day caught my attention even more. It’s evidence that even the super-kids of a few years ago aren’t guaranteed their time in the spotlight, as they become seasoned and begin to threaten the powers that be. No, coming up behind them is a new group of talents, and the Thursday leaderboard is showing us a few of them.
First of all, some old friends have made an appearance. Natalie Gulbis has been all over the media and the golf promotion world, but today she’s reminding us that she also plays the game very well, having won over four and a half million since turning pro in ’02. Kristie Kerr and newcomer Dori Carter, for the record, have not faded from the upper group. Suzann Pettersen’s condition is unknown, but she still managed an under-par round today, and will enter Saturday in the mix. In a signal that all’s right with the world, Stacy Lewis came out looking a lot like Stacy Lewis today, and I suspect she won’t be a no-show in her home tournament.
Here are some names we might not have expected to challenge, but challenging they are. Moira Dunn has been on the tour for a while, winning two and a half million since her rookie year of ’95. She often places high, but has only won the Giant Eagle Championship in ’04. Keep an eye on her. Kim Kaufman, coming out of Texas Tech and the Symetra Tour, is within striking distance. She was a two-time All-American before joining the tour, and if you think that doesn’t matter, everything in golf matters. Try coming onto the LPGA’s full tour without a record of accomplishments or a belief that you belong there. Pretty soon, you won’t.
And who is Megan McChrystal? If I were going to write the ultimate novel about a heroin vanquishing the powers of darkness, I can’t think of a better name for her than Megan McChrystal. It’s filled with musicality. With an excellent amateur and collegiate record (All-American, SEC three or four times and twenty top ten finishes in amateur competition), she’s won twice on the Symetra Tour, at the Natural Charity Classic in Florida, and at the Symetra Tour Championship.
Emerging from stardom as a teen, players get their tour-legs and start challenging yesterday’s young stars, but they’d better get their best golf going before too long, because the next wave is coming in, and pretty soon, even Lexi and her colleagues will be looking both forward and backward at super strength fields.
Heading into Saturday, it will be interesting to see how many of these mid-tournament leaders will stay around. Everyone’s work is cut out for them – as if it hadn’t been hard enough, Michelle Wie is hanging around, too.